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.

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