Freeriding’s roots stem from extreme skiing, a term coined in the 1970’s to describe "skiing steep slopes in wild terrain". The first freeriding competition was the "World Extreme Skiing Championships" in Alaska in 1991. This event led snowboarders to organise their own competition in Alaska the following year which in due course led to the creation of the legendary "King of the Hill". These events inspired a number of freeride competitions around the world, most notably, the Xtreme Verbier which celebrates its 15th anniversary this year and is now considered within the freeriding community as the most prestigious of all. Until the creation of the Freeride World Tour in 2007, the joint participation of skiers and snowboarders already existed at some events but their co-habitation in a professional tour was new. The concept very quickly gained traction and after just two full seasons the Freeride World Tour (FWT) is already recognized by riders, the ski industry and the media as the pinnacle of the sport. The four-stop Freeride World Tour (Sochi, Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, Squaw Valley and Verbier) is supported by 18 Freeride World Qualifier events around the world.
Nicolas Hale-Woods, Founder and Organiser of the "Xtreme" in Verbier and the Freeride World Tour: "The sport has evolved way beyond what we imagined back in 1996 and we feel that performances will continue to progress. Even though the riders compete to win the underlying freeride spirit remains with riders sharing ideas and spending considerable time together. Our goal is to preserve that unique spirit and simultaneously grow the Freeride World Tour together with riders and the involved ski resorts. In this respect, we are working on the expansion of the tour in 2011 so that more young riders can enter the qualifier events in North America, Europe and the Southern Hemisphere. Our goal for 2011 is also to add two more events at the FWT level. With freeriding now a leading trend in the snow industry, in many respects we feel like we've just begun - the best is yet to come".
Jean-Pierre Diernaz, General Manager of Nissan’s Marketing Communications in Europe: "As co-founder of the Freeride World Tour, Nissan has been involved in this adventure from the beginning, and we are proud to have seen it grow into a world class sporting event. As part of Nissan’s goal to create ‘fantastic’ content to nourish the brand’s Nissan Sports Adventure platform, the tour and our partnership with Eurosport – to create the ‘Freeride Spirit’ show - has provided key consumer touch points. The 2010 season has been extremely intense, with spectacular performances by freeriding legends as well as new athletes who have been discovered at each of the contests. We are happy to celebrate with the new Tour champions crowned today at the 15th anniversary of the Nissan Xtreme by Swatch". Nissan’s Sports Adventure (NSA) programme was created three years ago with the aim to support and promote adventure sports and an active outdoor lifestyle. The 2010 programme includes the Freeride World Tour, the Freeride World Qualifiers, the Nissan Outdoor Games festival as well as the European team of Nissan athletes.
Peter Mager, Vice President Communication Swatch International: "Since its foundation in 1983, Swatch has always been involved in action sports. There have certainly been a lot of historical moments, but the show today, with an amazing end of the Freeride World Tour 2010, is one of the biggest highlights ever. On behalf of Swatch management, we are really happy to be a partner of the event and the Tour".