The sixth and final stage of the Swatch Freeride World Tour 2012 will be held on freeriding’s most prestigious face, the north face of the Bec des Rosses in Verbier, Switzerland, Saturday, 24 March (weather permitting). The event will be more thrilling than ever with four world champions to be crowned and several potential winners in each of the disciplines men ski, women ski, men snowboard, and women snowboard.
Verbier and the fabled "Bec des Rosses" is considered the pinnacle of freeride competitions. With its extreme nature only the best 12 men skiers, 6 men snowboarders, 5 women skiers and 3 women snowboarders qualify. We will also see a few wild cards, like the three times snowboard world champion Xavier de le Rue (FRA). The Freeride World Champion titles will be awarded taking the four best results of the FWT12 season, including Verbier.
The Xtreme Verbier is also a major public festivity; in 2011 the event hosted more than 10,000 live spectators. The "Bec" never disappoints, with riders pushing the limits in the sport of freeriding. In its 17th consecutive edition the stake is higher than ever with the world’s best riders battling out to score a high place on the ranking and for some, grab the world champion title and a prize purse of 45 000 USD.
Potential World Champions
In both the ski men and women’s discipline it is a nail-biter, with not less than five international athletes having the potential to be world champion! The five men athletes are, in the current ranking order: Sam Smoothy (NZL), Drew Tabke (USA), Reine Barkered (SWE), Aurélien Ducroz (FRA) and newcomer Oakley White-Allen (USA). Drew Tabke, currently second on the overall ranking reveals the pressure: "Going to Verbier in this position is really quite heavy mentally and emotionally. It is always an intimidating place to ride and there is a ton of pressure with the world title in reach. But when it comes down to competition day I will approach it just like any other run, which is to say I will ski to the very best of my abilities and enjoy the entire run".
For the women skiers, all five riders qualified for Verbier have a chance to grab the world champion title! American Angel Collinson is leading the troop coming in to Verbier but Eva Walkner (AUT), Jaclyn Paaso (USA), Christine Hargin (SWE) and Janina Kuzma (NZL) are all close behind. On Saturday we will witness these female skiers setting the bar at its highest level. In the men’s snowboard discipline there are two potential champions. Will French Jonathan Charlet bring it home or will we see American Ralph Backstrom on top of the snowboarders’ podium? Both riders have been riding solidly and consistent all season and it could be anyone’s game.
In women’s snowboarding, newcomer Maria DeBari (USA) and rookie Margot Rozies (FRA) will both tackle the Bec des Rosses for the first time in the quest for the title. 3rd ranked Shannan Yates (USA) has been on the podium on all four previous competitions but still hasn’t reached the top step.
Live feed on FreerideWorldTour.com in partnership with Dailymotion starting at 09:00 am on contest day (contest starts at 09:30) with 10 live cameras, including stabilised air shots from heli (wescam) and two expert commentators: Enak Gavaggio for French and Jack Shaw for English.