Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Roger Moore's Tribute

"My father believed in toughness, honesty, politeness and being on time.
All very important lessons", Roger Moore

Roger Moore – who played the iconic spy in seven films from 1973 to 1985, making his Bond bow in Live and Let Die – passed away on Tuesday, May 23th, in Crans-Montana (Switzerland) after a "short but brave battle with cancer". He was 89.
Roger Moore was born on 14 October 1927 in Stockwell, London. He was the only child of George Alfred Moore, a policeman, and Lillian "Lily" Pope.
In the 1960s, between filming, he started visiting the Swiss Alpine resort Gstaad in the canton of Bern. By 1978 he had decided to move there to offer his children a calmer life. According to Tribune de Genève, Moore liked to joke that "the residents are more interested in my car than me". Years later, he told Swiss broadcaster RTS that he had moved to Gstaad after his kids, who learned to ski there, pressured him into it.
From Gstaad Moore moved to Crans-Montana in Valais on the other side of the Alps in 1996 where he spent his last days. Moore described Crans-Montana as more relaxed.
While in Switzerland he was involved in charity work. From 1991 he was a travelling ambassador for UNICEF, after being introduced to the charity by Audrey Hepburn.
On 9 March 1999, Moore was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE), and promoted to Knight Commander of the same Order (KBE) on 14 June 2003. The citation on the knighthood was for Moore's charity work, which dominated his public life for more than a decade. Moore said that the citation "meant far more to me than if I had got it for acting... I was proud because I received it on behalf of UNICEF as a whole and for all it has achieved over the years".

James Bond 007 is a fictional British agent created in 1952 by Ian Fleming. Some of the most iconic scenes in Bond history have taken place on the mountain slopes. In "The Spy Who Loved Me".movie, Bond escapes an ambush by Soviet agents, killing one of them in a downhill ski chase that concludes when he skis off a cliff and falls only to open a Union Flag parachute.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

NSAA Announces Top Ski Area Marketing Programs for 2016-17

The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) has given seven ski areas top honors for their 2016-17 marketing programs. NSAA announced the winners today at its National Convention and Tradeshow being held this week in Scottsdale, Ariz. The awards are sponsored by Inntopia, a strategic marketing, commerce, and business intelligence firm based in Stowe, Vt.

NSAA presents the awards to member resorts with successful marketing programs that ultimately help grow the sports of skiing and snowboarding. Here are the 2016-17 winners::

Best Use of Mobile Technology
Boreal Mountain Resort, California

Best Social Media Campaign
Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows, California

Best Direct Marketing Program
Bristol Mountain Resort, NY

Best Use of Video Marketing
Tamarack Resort, Idaho

Best Family Campaign
Sunlight Mountain Resort, Colorado

Best “Bring a Friend” Campaign
Pico Mountain, Vermont

Best Overall Marketing Campaign
Killington Resort, Vermont.

Judges for the awards were Mike Bisner, vice president of business development for MWRC Internet Sales; Kristen Lummis, a snowsports and travel writer and two-time winner of NASJA’s Harold S. Hirsch Award for her popular Brave Ski Mom blog; and Mike Lewis, director of brand activations and digital strategy at ZEAL Optics.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Red Bull X-Alps 2017 Route

The new route will be the longest and hardest in the event’s 14-year history. Racing a straight-line distance of 1,138km from Salzburg to Monaco, 32 world class athletes from 21 countries will hike and fly via 7 turnpoints in 7 different countries - including Austria, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, France and for the first time; Slovenia. This exciting new development will make the world's toughest adventure more challenging and more unpredictable than ever before.
As if that wasn’t enough, the new Slovenian turnpoint will lead the participants to race along Europe’s largest mountain range and traverse it four times between the northern and southern fringes. The race will also feature 3 turnpoints fewer than in 2015.
Race director Christoph Weber says; "The distances between the turnpoints will be longer than in the last seven editions. Such a wide variety of potential routes comes with a whole new world of strategic possibilities that will push rookies and veterans alike to their very limits; both mentally and physically".
The race starts at the historic Mozartplatz in Salzburg, Austria. From there, the athletes will run through the city and up the Gaisberg to Turnpoint 1. The scenic view above the Salzburger Land region will attract thousands of fans from far and wide, all of whom will be there to support the competitors as they set up their paragliders and embark on their first flight of the contest.
A grueling 157km straight-line journey south through Austria will take them to Turnpoint 2, the Mangart paragliding launch pad on the edge of Triglav National Park in Slovenia. Triglav is the first Slovenian turnpoint to appear in the race and is the country’s highest mountain at 2,864m above sea level.
Ulrich Grill, organizer of Red Bull X-Alps explains; "The new terrain around the Triglav Turnpoint will require some innovative new strategies that could make all the difference in the early stages of the race".
Traveling northwest from Slovenia, the competitors will traverse the Austrian Alps for a second time to reach Turnpoint 3; Aschau-Chiemsee in Germany. Located at the foot of the Kampenwand in the picturesque municipality of Aschau im Chiemgau, the athletes will decide whether to continue west on foot, or climb upwards and take to the air.
Turnpoint 4 is the second Austrian turnpoint in the race and can be found in the village of Lermoos. Situated in the shadow of the Zugspitze, the almost 3000m mountain connects Austria to Germany and offers the athletes huge flying potential. The right thermals at the right time could give them a serious boost onto the next leg of their exhausting journey.
Pushing back south through the Alps to Italy, the athletes will find themselves at Turnpoint 5, nestled closely to Lake Garda by Monte Baldo. At this point, the competitors will have successfully passed the halfway mark; but with tired feet, aching muscles and 499km still to go, anything could happen. Who will hike around the lake and who will be brave enough to fly across it?
Turnpoint 6 lies 251km west at the Matterhorn in southern Switzerland, making it the longest stretch between two consecutive turnpoints in the race. If getting there isn’t hard enough, navigating around one of the highest summits in Europe certainly will be. The region is also a key strategic point in the race, as the athletes set off on the last quarter of their journey.
In a final push, the hungry competitors will battle it out over the remaining 246km to reach Turnpoint 7 in Peille, southeast France. Finally, the timer will stop, leaving the athletes to make the 2km victory flight over Monaco to the warm, blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Here, they will touch down in style on a landing float to celebrate the accomplishment and relief of completing the world’s toughest adventure race.
The new route for Red Bull X-Alps 2017 will be the most demanding in the race’s 14-year history. From now, the athletes have just three months to prepare for the enormous journey that lies ahead. Studying the geography of the route will go a long way, but to emerge victorious will take a whole new caliber of endurance and determination. There’s no telling who will take the title, but with some of the greatest athletes in the world, it will certainly be an adventure to remember.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Red Bull X-Alps 2017

Red Bull X-Alps 2017 will start on July 2nd and will be the eighth edition of the world’s toughest adventure race. The combination of trekking and paragliding is one of the most exciting hybrids to emerge from the ongoing convergence of mountain sports.
Starting in Salzburg, 32 Athletes of 21 nationalities will race across the Alps to Monaco via 7 turnpoints in 7 different countries.
Athletes must journey non-stop for more than 1,000km across the Alps by foot or paraglider via set turnpoints. This demands a high level of endurance because when the weather isn’t friendly for flying, athletes must keep trekking until the clouds clear and they can take off again. It’s not uncommon for athletes to hike up to 100km in a day.
Being selected to compete in the world’s toughest and most prestigious adventure race is an achievement in itself. The race committee selects only the best athletes from around the world, based on solid mountaineering and trekking experience, endurance fitness, mental strength and flying ability. Only the most skilled and adventure-tested athletes will be considered.
In the race’s first editions, only one or two athletes had what it takes to make it from Salzburg to the finish line in Monaco. Ever since, the level of competition has intensified and in the last race two-thirds of the athletes made the goal.
The 2015 edition saw 19 athletes of the 32 that competed make the goal – a record number since the first race in 2003. Incredibly, 12 rookies crossed the finish line, including athletes from the US, Korea, New Zealand and elsewhere for the first time in history.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Washington’s Mission Ridge Ski & Snowboard Resort Wins NSAA 2017 Conversion Cup Award

Mission Ridge Ski & Snowboard Resort in Washington is the winner of the 2017 National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) Conversion Cup Challenge, sponsored by HEAD Wintersports. This annual award recognizes resorts across the country that have developed outstanding programs to convert new skiers and snowboarders into lifelong enthusiasts.
Mission Ridge was selected among a strong field of ski areas from across the US. The other three finalists were Boreal Mountain Resort, California, Copper Mountain Resort, Colorado, and Whistler Blackcomb, BC, Canada.
NSAA launched the initiative in 2010 as a way to pique competition among member ski areas and recognize those who make significant strides to boost conversion rates. The winner is chosen based upon proven results, creative ideas, consistent execution, and long-term commitment to the conversion effort. Several key metrics are used in the judging process, including beginner lesson volumes; quantifiable success of beginner lesson packages; season-to-date sales and repeat sales data collection; and marketing ingenuity and use of new media.
Mission Ridge won the honor largely based on the success of its Freedom Pass program, which is designed to provide a specific roadmap for beginners to become (at least) intermediate skiers. The Freedom Pass is an evolution from the successful Learn to Ski in 3 program that Mission Ridge had in place for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons.
The Freedom Pass addresses some of the most common hurdles for beginners, including the cost of the lesson, the feeling of intimidation, the lack of a clear progression to the next level, and the hassles related to equipment. The $159 Freedom Pass includes unlimited beginner group lessons, access to the beginner lift, and equipment rental.
"The Freedom Pass allows beginners the freedom to learn at their own pace and feel comfortable, confident, and inspired to explore new terrain because they aren’t worried about a limited number of lessons", noted the awards application from Mission Ridge. Not only do beginners get to take as many lessons as they want, once they feel comfortable moving up to more challenging terrain, Mission Ridge has the next stepping stone ready: a discounted three-pack of all-mountain lift tickets, a discount on an intermediate lesson, and a discount on a season pass for the subsequent season. This additional package of upgrades encourages new skiers and snowboarders to continue with the sport by exploring intermediate terrain and committing to a season pass the following winter. More than 20 percent of Freedom Pass holders from the 2015-16 winter became season pass holders this past season.
Mission Ridge improved e-mail communication with Freedom Pass customers this season, with customized e-mails triggered upon sign-up, after the third lesson, and at other key milestones in the program. Tracking the progress of beginners through the life cycle of the program was a critical element. Mission Ridge tracked the number of lessons as well as non-lesson visits for each participant in the Freedom Pass, and has monitored these figures year-over-year.

SKI Magazine Announces Golden Eagle Awards

SKI Magazine has honored three ski areas—Berkshire East Mountain Resort, Mass., Taos Ski Valley, NM, and Squaw Valley I Alpine Meadows, Calif.—with the 2017 Golden Eagle Awards for Environmental Excellence. In addition, SKI named Onno Wieringa of Alta Ski Area in Utah as the “Hero of Sustainability” honoree for 2017.
The Golden Eagle Awards, overseenin a partnership between SKI and the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA), are the ski industry’s most prestigious honor for recognizing resort environmental programs and projects.
"When SKI founded this program in 1993, our goal was to recognize resorts that were actively addressing environmental issues, raising the bar, and encouraging other resorts to follow suit by serving as models for similar projects across the industry", said Andy Hawk, managing director of Active Interest Media’s Mountain Group. "It’s amazing how far the ski industry has come in 24 years, particularly with today’s focus on addressing climate change".
The resort awards are divided into three categories: small (fewer than 200,000 annual skier/boarder visits), medium (200,000 to 500,000 visits) and large (more than 500,000 visits). The Hero of Sustainability Award is designed to honor an individual making a difference in resort environmental performance.
Berkshire East Mountain Resort in Massachusetts won the Golden Eagle Award in the small ski area category. Berkshire East produces more electricity than it uses on an annual net basis. In 2012, the ski area was the first in the world to power 100 percent of its operation with a 900 kWh wind turbine and a 500 kWh solar field. In the past year, it launched an energy efficiency program, including installation of 500 LED lights and snowmaking and pumping upgrades, totaling $3 million in investment. These renewable energy and energy efficiency measures result in about 2.6 million pounds of CO2 reduced annually. In addition, the resort installed a wood burning system that uses wood cut from the resort’s forest management and glading work, and a sawmill to produce finished lumber from blow-down timber for construction or replacement of buildings. The resort opened a Renewable Energy Classroom in 2016 to host students, groups, and organizations so they could learn about the basics of wind energy generation, solar fields and energy efficiency measures, storage, and the electric grid.
Taos Ski Valley in New Mexico took the top environmental honors in the medium-sized ski area category for its comprehensive and groundbreaking “Taos Verde” sustainability program. This year Taos was the first ski resort in the world to become a certified B Corporation. Certified B Corps are required to meet the highest standards of verified economic, social, and environmental performance, and public transparency. Taos earned this recognition because the Taos Verde mission is not only to pursue environmental business practices but also to promote a more resilient and robust community. Taos has taken drastic actions over the past two years to reduce its overall energy consumption by 10.9 percent. The resort is a participant in the Climate Challenge, and has committed to a 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2020. Taos has discontinued the sale of disposable plastic bottles at all facilities—offering reusable bottles as an alternative—expecting to remove 10,000 plastic bottles from its waste stream annually. Additional watershed protection measures, waste reduction efforts, and engagement with conservation non-profits make Taos a standout and deserving recipient of the Golden Eagle Award.
Squaw Valley I Alpine Meadows in California won the Golden Eagle Award in the large resort category for its multifacted approach to sustainability and leveraging its influence in support of climate change solutions. Squaw has reduced its own carbon footprint as an early adopter of sustainable technologies and a participant in the Climate Challenge. The resort supports a broad array of regional transit and parking initiatives, including free POW Parking for HOVs, free electric car charging, free skier shuttle services between lodging and the mountain, and between Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows, eliminating roughly 85 tons of CO2 in emissions annually. Squaw also partners with POW through hosting the Rider’s Alliance & Athlete Summits, the branding of its funitel cabin with POW to educate guests on the “POW Seven” Pledge, and even a POW branded phone booth in the Village during the World Cup, featuring facts on climate, scripts, and state representatives’ contact information to encourage guests to engage in advocacy. In collaboration with FIS, Squaw accomplished a Carbon Neutral 2017 World Cup by offsetting the event’s carbon footprint (including all mountain operations—snowmaking, lifts, grooming—and travel emissions of athletes, coaches, and World Cup staff to and during the event, their accommodations, and meals) through purchase of certified carbon credits and an on-site solar installation. This effort will serve as a model for future carbon neutral FIS events. Squaw has used its influence to effect change beyond the resort as well, by joining a Regional Clean Power Coalition to encourage power provider Liberty Utilities to replace coal with renewable energy sources, and joining Switch, Tesla, Patagonia, and others in support of a successful Nevada ballot measure, Question 3, to require lawmakers to create an open, competitive, well-regulated energy market.
Onno Wieringa is a Hero of Sustainability for his environmental leadership at the helm of Alta Ski Area. He has been a leading voice for Alta’s triple bottom line performance since before the phrase was popular. Wieringa published one of the industry’s first environmental reports and commissioned one of the first ski area greenhouse gas inventories in the country, years before NSAA launched the Climate Challenge, long before we had POW or Paris. In 2008, he founded the Alta Environmental Center (AEC) to pursue sustainability internally for the ski area, act as a resource to the community, and foster environmental education. The AEC has received much deserved recognition for its many contributions to sustainability. Wieringa has shared his sustainability experience widely in his leadership roles across the industry, including years of service on the NSAA Environmental Committee and Ski Utah. Through the Mountain Collective, he encouraged peer resorts to find common ground in sustainability and helped boost participation in the Climate Challenge. Wieringa has always approached sustainability from a common sense perspective of hard work and doing right by people and the places we love. For that, he is a Hero of Sustainability. He is retiring this year after 44 years of service to Alta Ski Area. He has left a lasting and positive legacy of valuing environmental stewardship that will serve the ski area, its employees and community, Utah, and the ski industry for decades to come.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Skier Visits Up to 54.7 Million in 2016-17

The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) announced that U.S. ski areas tallied an estimated 54.7 million skier and snowboarder visits during the 2016-17 season, up 3.7 percent from last season’s 52.8 million total. The annual skier visit count, an important industry metric, was released today at the NSAA Convention and Tradeshow being held this week in Scottsdale, Ariz.
This past season, ski areas in the Northeast region experienced an impressive rebound, as skier visits grew by 27 percent in this region to 11.8 million visits. In addition, the Pacific Northwest region is estimated to have had its best season on record (4.4 million visits) and the Rocky Mountain region its second-best winter in terms of skier visits (21.7 million). Visits were up from last winter in the Southeast region, but down slightly in the Midwest region and the Pacific Southwest region.
The traditional ski holiday periods of Christmas and Spring Break were busy at resorts across the country, contributing to the overall positive season. Skier visits were up 30 percent in December and up 4 percent in March, relative to the 2015-16 season.
Across the country, it was a season of contradictions”, said Michael Berry, president of NSAA. "We had more snow this season in the California Sierra Mountains than the previous four seasons combined. And yet Chicago recorded its first-ever snowless January and February in more than 146 years.” One thing always remains true, Berry continued. “Even after one or two winters of less than great snow, skiers come back in droves when Mother Nature cooperates, and we consistently see that season after season".
Encouragingly, the number of open and operating U.S. ski areas rose to 479 in the 2016-17 season, up from 464 last season. The Northeast region has witnessed a rebirth of several formerly defunct ski areas in the past few seasons—a positive sign for skiers and snowboarders seeking out new places to visit and for local populations who want to learn to slide on snow.
The number of lessons taught at U.S. ski areas increased this season, indicative of the growing appetite to learn to ski and snowboard. These activities provide terrific opportunities to get outside in the winter and spend time with family and friends.
Average resort snowfall increased by 36 percent nationally, which contributed to ski areas being open an extra week, on average, compared to the 2015-16 season. The increased length of the operating season was most pronounced in the Southeast (23 days longer) and Northeast (15 days longer) regions.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Freeride World Tour. Judging System

The Swatch Freeride World Tour (FWT) is the premier big mountain freeskiing and snowboarding tour in the world, featuring the sport’s top athletes competing in the world’s best mountain resorts. Created in 2008, the FWT became even more global in 2012 following the union of North American-based Freeskiing World Tour, The North Face Masters of Snowboarding, and the European-based Swatch Freeride World Tour. Besides the successful implementation of this truly global FWT, the increase of Freeride World Qualifier (FWQ) and Junior Freeride Tour events in recent years shows that the base of the sport is growing exponentially.
The FWT represents top-level big mountain riding, the most progressive and pure discipline of skiing and snowboarding. Riders use the entire mountain as their canvas, from cliffs, cornices and chutes to powder fields and trees. FWT events have invitation-only athlete rosters but the full FWQ series allows athletes to compete in 1 to 4-star level events and qualify for the FWT the following season. All FWT competition venues are handpicked for their terrain, as well as their steepness, and offer a wide range of options to those competing.

It is human nature to compete and at some point in the early 90’s the world’s most talented freeriders wanted to know who was the best. Freeride Competitions are compelling viewing because they harness energy, spontaneity, creativity and courage. But the biggest challenge facing these contests was building a format that could decide a winner without crushing those core attributes.Riders compete individually, and receive an overall score based on line difficulty, control, air and style, fluidity, and technique. A winning run will feature difficult line choices, such as riding over cliffs, through narrow chutes, or off natural features created by rocks and fallen trees. Throughout their run, riders are expected to stay moving and angled down the slope, while staying in control at all times and displaying proper technique, including stance and body position. Style consists of adding flair to a run, which could include tricks such as grabs, spins and flips.
In 2012, the Pro Freeriders Board (PFB) and a panel of head judges created a unique judging system to be used at all events of the unified Freeride World Tour (FWT)
It guarantees fair results, helps to form new judges all around the world and can be used for Junior, FWQ and FWT events.
At each of the events, there is a judging panel consisting of six judges who are trained and certified by the PFB and under the control of the head judges.
Only one unique score, "overall impression" determines a riders’ final score. To evaluate the run, judges use a point system of a hundred increments from 1.0 to 10.0. They have to consider five criteria; the first is the line, then control, followed by air and style, fluidity and finally technique.
Judges will have the following 5 criteria in mind while judging:
  • Line: Where in the face does the contestant ride, difficulty, originality, skipped features,    number & size of jumps, use of terrain, steep parts and narrow chutes taken.
  • Control: Control while riding, in the air and landing.
  • Air and Style:   Number & size of jumps, tricks and style. A loss of control in the air will be penalized under air    and seen as a lack of style.
  • Fluidity: Relative speed (how fast compared to how exposed, steep, narrow), stops, hesitations,    unnecessary traversing and hiking.
  • Technique: Bad turns, power turns, back seat riding, counter rotation, good or bad sluff management, and did the   rider manage to link turns in steep and narrow places, or did he or she slide it. 
The goal of this rider-approved system is to have a judging system that allows every style of riding the possibility to win. 

Friday, May 5, 2017

Ischgl Closes Winter Season with Zucchero and 18,200 Fans

On 30 April 2017, dolce vita met rock in Ischgl in the form of the exceptional musician Zucchero. 18.200 winter sports fans celebrated the sunny finale of a successful and snowy winter season in the Silvretta Arena at 2,320m altitude.
Magnificent sunshine and Italian rock to mark the season finale in Ischgl. Superstar Zucchero took spectators on a journey to his homeland of Italy at the legendary Top of the Mountain Closing Concert and impressed winter sports fans with his powerful voice. The ‘father of the Italian blues’ and his band of 13, including star musicians such as Hammond virtuoso Brian Auger, guitarist Kat Dyson, drummer Queen Cora Dunham and bass player and musical director Polo Jones, rocked out for more than two hours due to the fantastic atmosphere and the amazing reception on the Idalp stage at 2,320m altitude. The repertoire included: expressive songs from Zucchero’s current album ‘Black Cat’ and his global hits such as ‘Baila Morena’, ‘Senza una Donna’ and ‘Miserere’. The concert in Ischgl marked the start of Zucchero’s new ‘Black Cat’ world tour of 2017.
"With the Top of the Mountain Closing Concert, we are able to look back on a successful and snowy winter season, thanks to the altitude of the Silvretta Arena. We are proud to have impressed our guests from the very first to the very last day this season", says Andreas Steibl, Managing Director of the tourist board Paznaun-Ischgl.

Zucchero follows in the footsteps of a galaxy of superstars who have entertained skiers and boarders in the Austrian resort's traditional Top of the Mountain gig. Long time ago, Ischgl decided to put its entire advertising and marketing budget into staging two massive concerts a year to open and close the winter season. Elton John was the first star to feature in the Tirolean resort's now famous season closing concerts, back in 1995. Since then the resort has hosted Rod Stewart, Bob Dylan, Sting, Tina Turner, Diana Ross, Bon Jovi, Enrique Iglesias, Atomic Kitten, Peter Gabriel, The Corrs, Alanis Morissette, Lionel Richie, Pink, the Scissor Sisters, the Pussycat Dolls, Rihanna, Elton John again, Gabriella Cilmi, Leona Lewis, Kylie Minogue, Katy Perry, Alicia Keys, Gossip, The Killers,Roxette, Mariah Carey, The Scorpions, Deep Purple, Nickelback, Robbie Williams, James Blunt, Thirty Seconds to Mars, The Beach Boys and PUR.

Ischgl (1377m) is a truly Ski Paradise in Tirol (Austria) with 238 km of prepared pistes, 43 lifts and lots of interesting new features in the ski resort. The modern lifts managed by the Silvretta Seilbahn AG Company offer a high level of comfort and countless extras, such as heated seats in the Fimbabahn cable car built for the 2007/08 season. A variety of slopes and ski routes offer a opportunity for everyone, from beginners to experts looking for challenging pistes. Eleven is the name of the longest piste with approximately 11 kilometres from the top of the ski resort in Greitspitz (2,872 metres) to Ischgl village (1,400 metres).From Ischgl you can access to the Silvretta Arena Ski Paradise, thanks to an alliance between two Companies (Silvretta Seilbahn AG and Bergbahnen Sammaun AG) and two ski resorts (Ischgl-Sammaun) from two different countries (Switzerland-Austria).

Thursday, May 4, 2017

That's a Wrap. Best of the Swatch Freeride World Tour 2017

2017 marks the tenth edition of the Freeride World Tour. For the past ten years the event has assembled the greatest ski and snowboard freeriders on the planet for a five-stop world tour.
The Swatch Freeride World Tour 2017 kicked off in Vallnord Arcalis on February 9th.
After careful assessment, event organizers have determined that due to safety concerns, the fifty-two competitors scheduled to open the season in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc should go straight to Vallnord-Arcalís, Andorra.
The 2017 edition was the third time the Swatch Freeride World Tour made its appearance in Andorra.
Freeride fans were finally treated to a phenomenal show on the explosive first stop of the 2017 Swatch Freeride World Tour. Competitors gave it their all as the fifty-two riders made their way to the Pyrenean freeride capital for an action-packed competition on the feature-dense Serra de Balma venue.
Technical riding defined the event on the competition face situated at 2450m – known by riders as “Smoothy’s Garden” in honor of Sam Smoothy’s 2015 groundbreaking run – and located within the Vallnord-Arcalís resort.

After rescheduling the season opener for the 2017 Swatch Freeride World Tour in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc due to snow safety concerns caused by high winds in the French Alps, fifty riders were able to participate in Vallnord ArcalisAndorra on February 15th. It was their second event in two weeks at the same ski area in the Pyrenees.
Conditions were challenging for both riders and organizers. Snowfall brought fresh accumulations to the face and changeable weather resulted in a slight crust forming on the snow surface, making turning conditions variable in some parts of the venue. Despite these challenges and with the aide of the sun which softened the snow during the day, the athletes demonstrated their finest freeriding skills on the Baser Negre venue, situated at 2700m in the Andorran ski resort of Vallnord-Arcalís.

After several days of heavy snowfall at the Tyrolean ski resort of Fieberbrunn (Austria), the skies finally cleared to allow the competition to take place on the renowned Wildseeloder face (2118m) on March 8th. Competitors were treated to good visibility and somewhat variable snow conditions on the 600 vertical meter face due to snow safety control work conducted during the previous days.

After several competition delays, riders were finally treated to epic powder on the stunning terrain of the most coveted freeride peaks on the planet in Haines (Alaska). The remaining qualified twenty-seven athletes of the Swatch Freeride World Tour competed on March 25th on the so-called “dream stop” and last competition before the season finale in Verbier, Switzerland.
Unsettled weather marked the days preceding the event but that morning the skies cleared and revealed nearly perfect snow conditions on the 760m vertical meter (2493ft) Alaskan face. Riders and spectators were treated to one of the most spectacular competitions in FWT history.

The final contest of the international freeride ski and snowboard tour crowned four new world champions on April 3th at the Xtreme Verbier 2017. It was the 22nd time the best freeriders competed on the swiss ski resort of Verbier.
The Grande Finale of the 2017 Freeride World Tour marks ten years that the legendary 600m face, considered by most competitors to be the most technical and intimidating face on the Tour, poses its final challenge to riders on their path to becoming world champions.
After several days of unsettled weather, the twenty-eight qualified athletes for the final event of the five-stop FWT were delighted by excellent snow conditions on the renowned and technical 600 vertical meter north face of the Bec des Rosses (3223m) in Verbier.

2017 Freeride World Tour. Final Results:

Ski Men
  1. Léo Slemett (FRA)
  2. Reine Barkered (SWE)
  3. Kristofer Turdell (SWE)
Ski Women
  1. Lorraine Huber (AUT)
  2. Eva Walkner (AUT)
  3. Arianna Tricomi (ITA)
Snowboard Men
  1. Sammy Luebke (USA)
  2. Jonathan Penfield (USA)
  3. Davey Baird (USA)
Snowboard Women
  1. Marion Haerty (FRA)
  2. Anne-Flore Marxer (SUI)
  3. Shannan Yates (USA)
The Swatch Freeride World Tour (FWT) is the premier big mountain freeskiing and snowboarding tour in the world, featuring the sport’s top athletes competing in the world’s best mountain resorts. Created in 2008, the FWT became even more global in 2012 following the union of North American-based Freeskiing World Tour, The North Face Masters of Snowboarding, and the European-based Swatch Freeride World Tour. Besides the successful implementation of this truly global FWT, the increase of Freeride World Qualifier (FWQ) and Junior Freeride Tour events in recent years shows that the base of the sport is growing exponentially.
The FWT represents top-level big mountain riding, the most progressive and pure discipline of skiing and snowboarding. Riders use the entire mountain as their canvas, from cliffs, cornices and chutes to powder fields and trees. FWT events have invitation-only athlete rosters but the full FWQ series allows athletes to compete in 1 to 4-star level events and qualify for the FWT the following season. All FWT competition venues are handpicked for their terrain, as well as their steepness, and offer a wide range of options to those competing.