A Globally Unified Swatch Freeride World Tour by The North Face Debuts in January

Posted By: The Ski Channel on October 15, 2012 2:41 pm

This coming January prepare for the world of competitive freeskiing to be taken to new heights with the Swatch Freeride World Tour by The North Face. The revamped tour will be making its international debut with a new unified format, along with a roster of athletes that lead the world of skiing and snowboarding. 2013 marks the first year that the FWT becomes a globally unified series, combining last season’s Swatch Freeride World Tour, Subaru Freeskiing World Tour and The North Face Masters of Snowboarding. Look for a number of last year’s top talents to be joined by a host of fresh faces looking to take the FWT crown.

“I’ve competed in the sport for nearly a decade and 2013 looks to be the most exciting year yet”, exclaimed skier Drew Tabke, who came in 2nd at the Freeride World Tour in 2012. ”I am so stoked the merger between the two tours is finally going down because it means we’ll finally see the best skiers from around the world at the same events. I expect the level of riding at the Freeride World Tour this year to be at the highest it’s ever been because of the incredible athlete roster. I can’t wait to see what countries and riders are dominant this year. I personally have my money on Team America.”

 

The tour’s opener is scheduled to go down in the Canadian backcountry of Revelstoke, on January 7th, 2013. It then moves on to Europe’s Courmayeur-Mont-Blanc and Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, heads back to North America with events at Kirkwood in Lake Tahoe and then Austria’s Fieberbrunn PillerseeTal. The series finale will pit qualified riders against one another in the Swiss Alps at Verbier.

freeride world tour - mountain

To further compliment the revised format and calendar, FWT has teamed up with gear manufacturer ABS. The company will serve as the tour’s Official Air Bag System Supplier. With 2011/2012 being a huge season for avalanches and avalanche-related fatalities — awareness among backcountry skiers and snowboarders for the necessity of safety gear has never been higher. For anyone that may still be unfamiliar with the ABS backpack system; when a rider becomes engulfed in a snow flow, they are able to pull a ripcord that will rapidly inflate air bags integrated within their pack. The ABS system allows the individual to essentially “float” within the avalanche, and is designed to keep their head above the snow to prevent suffocation.

We got a chance to see one of Dakine’s new ABS packs in action at this year’s SIA Snow Show. Take a peek:

 

“Security is key for FWT so it’s essential to partner with the leading manufacturer in that field”, said Nicolas Hale-Woods, Freeride World Tour General Manager Europe. 

Skiers on the men’s side who made it into the top 12 during last season’s Freeride World Tour and Freeskiing World Tour are automatically qualified. Female athletes who earned the top five spots from last season’s Freeride World Tour and Freeskiing World Tour are invited to compete as well. There are also several tour spots that have been reserved for what FWT refers to as “wild cards”. Of the skiers and snowboarders residing in this category, there are two types: those who are committed to following the tour in its entirety, and local athletes that have signed on to a single event.

For the snowboarding divisions, the top six men from last season’s Freeride World Tour and top four boarders from the Masters of Snowboarding will already be qualified for this year’s FWT. On the women’s side, the top three riders from last season’s Freeride World Tour and Masters of Snowboarding will be automatically qualified. 

freeride world tour - snowboarder

There are also several athletes in each category that will be qualified through their performances during last season’s Freeride World Qualifiers. 

Check out the full line-up of athletes:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

And here is the full calendar:

 

1. Swatch Freeride World Tour Revelstoke 2013 by The North Face

 

Dates: January, 7; Location: Revelstoke (CAN) 
freeride world tour - peak

Disciplines: Men’s and Women’s Ski and Snowboard

 

2. Swatch Freeride World Tour Courmayeur-Mont-Blanc 2013 by The North Face

Dates: January, 19; Location: Courmayeur-Mont-Blanc (ITA)

Disciplines: Men’s Ski and Snowboard

 

3. Swatch Freeride World Tour Chamonix-Mont-Blanc 2013 by The North Face

Dates: January, 26; Location: Chamonix-Mont-Blanc (FRA)

Disciplines: Men’s and Women’s Ski and Snowboard 

 

4. Swatch Freeride World Tour Kirkwood 2013 by The North Face

Dates: February, 27; Location: Kirkwood (USA)

Disciplines: Men’s and Women’s Ski and Snowboard

 

5. Swatch Freeride World Tour Fieberbrunn Pillerseetal 2013 by The North Face

Dates: March, 9; Location: Fieberbrunn Pillerseetal (AUT)

Disciplines: Men’s and Women’s Ski and Snowboard

 

6. Swatch Verbier Xtreme 2013 by The North Face

Dates: March, 23; Location: Verbier (SUI)

Disciplines: Men’s and Women’s Ski and Snowboard

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