THIS IS FREERIDE
Freeride is the purest form of ski and snowboard. An unaltered, natural mountainside with no set course and no clock. An international field of elite athletes all have a chance, and the best top-to-bottom run wins. It is the ultimate expression of freedom and personal style on snow-covered mountains, and the Freeride World Tour is the arena where the world’s top riders come together to determine who among them is the best.
On the mountain, there's no filter.
5 criteria and “the overall impression” are taken into account to determine the riders’ final score:
DIFFICULTY & CHOICE OF THE LINE: But let’s look at each category a little closer. Difficulty of line is pretty straightforward: it’s all about the path a competitor chooses to take down the mountain. What’s the danger factor like on his line? How does the rider link up the tricky passages along the way? How unique, imaginative, is her route compared to other riders? Is it a cool line? Does it tickle people’s imagination? That’s what the judges have to determine here.
CONTROL: Control is key in big-mountain riding. Possess it and your golden. Lose it and you can die. That’s why the judges can be ruthless with those who don’t show enough of it during their competition run. Did the athlete fall? Did he run the ragged edge of recovery all the way down? Or did he ride like he knew exactly what he was doing from start to finish? Often times, this is the category where neophytes struggle.
FLUIDITY: Nobody likes watching stop-and-go action. And the Fluidity mark is all about rewarding those athletes who can ride from start to finish with no hesitation, no stoppage and no confusion. Did the rider have to embark on a long traverse to hit his landmark cliff? Did he get lost on the way down and have to climb to regain his line? Did she hesitate before dropping the big cliff? This is what the judges are looking for in this sector. Again – flow is what it’s all about.
JUMPS & TRICKS: For many in the sport, the next category, Jumps, is what makes freeride competitions so exciting. Why? Because nothing is man-made – what you see is what you get. But like any other aerial sport, style and aggression play huge. How big was the jump? How did the rider enter the jump? What happened in the air? How well did he stick his landing? Was she like a cat thrown out a speeding car’s window? Or did she know exactly where she was at all times? This is what the judges need to assess before assigning their overall mark.
TECHNIQUE: Technique is a criteria which will be looked at closely in the Junior or amateur competitions. For Pros, judges will ask themselves if a control issue occured because of a lack of technique but otherwise, if a rider is in control, he can have his own technique and won’t be penalized. One can lose points however when side slipping down a section where other fellow competitiors were carving turns. This would fall under the Technique criteria.
During the Freeride World Tour, a cut is made after the 4th event. The best 3 out of 4 results will count for this selection. Athletes passing this cut will be qualified for the finals in Verbier and automatically qualified for the Freeride World Tour 2021.
- Selection in ski women category: the Top 6 out of 11 athletes
- Selection in ski men category: the Top 13 out of 23 athletes
- Selection in snowboard men category: the Top 6 out of 9 athletes
- Selection in snowboard women category: the Top 4 out of 6 athletes
2020: THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE VERBIER XTREME
A retrospective of the Verbier Xtreme through the years: from snowboarders to skiers, from a male event to a women inclusive competition, from one event to a Tour.
Legends of the Xtreme Verbier: Steve Klassen, Cyril Neri, Eva Sandelgard, Axel Pauporté, Ruth Leisibach, Géraldine Fasnacht, Jean-Yves Michellod, Seb Michaud, Jeremy Jones, Aurélien Ducroz, Xavier de le Rue, Kaj Zackrisson, Elyse Saugstad, Anne Enderud, Reine Barkered, Douds Charlet, Ralph Backstrom, Sammy Luebke, Marion Haerty, Jérémie Heitz...
BEHIND THE SCENES
What do you know about the Freeride World Tour?
- Creation, History & Legends of the Freeride World Tour
- The 25th anniversary of the Verbier Xtreme.
- From Juniors to Qualifiers, the journey to the Freeride World Tour.
Point of view of an insider:
- The complexity of the FWT’s organisation in the most remote places in the world.
- The local organization and the local freeride culture.
- The decision making to kick-off the competition depending meteorological conditions.
- The safety requirements.
- The choice of the competition Mountain Face for Hakuba and Ordino Arcalís.
- The love of the mountains.
The work of the FWT’s staff pre event, during the event and post event:
- The work of the guides
- The work of photographers/camera operators
- The work of the mountain operations team
- The work of the production/communication team
The Freerider Mindset:
- The power of observation and the connection with nature in choosing the line.
- Has the athlete always been doing this kind of riding? Traditional freeriders VS the freestyler freeriders.
- What is your worst crash and how to come back from it?
- How to become one of the world’s best Freeriders?
The Pro Freerider preparation:
- Training: the impact on the body and physical preparation.
- Mental: how to fight the fear of the void, how to charge in steep conditions, what encourages the athlete to push their limits.
- Nutrition: how to fight the cold, to have enough ressources for riding.
3,2,1 Drop In:
- Go with the athlete to the start gate.
- Follow an Athlete during their preparation phase.
- What is in the athlete's mind before they drop?
- How to chose a line?
The beginning of a freerider’s career:
- What made them start freeriding? Are they from a freeriding background? What are the reactions from their family and friends?
- How to compete in the Freeride World Tour?
Rookie on the Tour:
- How hard was their journey to the Freeride World Tour ? What is it like being a rookie?
- What are the rookies expectations on their first year of the Tour?
Freeride tips by Pros:
- The athlete strategy to win the tour and maintain focus under pressure.
- Tips to make X trick.
- Tips to improve your freeriding level.
FWT MINDSET: CONNECTION WITH MOUNTAIN, NATURE AND WIDE-OPEN SPACES
The search of snow:
- How an athlete always seeks the best snow conditions.
- The connection with the mountains and wide-open spaces.
- How the Freeride World Tour is always seeking new venues.
The Freeride World Tour venues:
- Why Freeride World Tour is set in Japan, Canada, Andorra, Austria and Switzerland?
- The mythic faces of the Freeride World Tour: "Ozone" in Kicking Horse Golden BC (Canada), "Wildseeloder" in Fieberbrunn (Austria), "Bec des Rosses" in Verbier (Switzerland).
- The different rules of Freeride depending on location and the adaptation of the Freeride World Tour organisation.
Freeride World Tour advocates the return to nature:
- An expedition day with a FWT athlete.
- Photography in Big Mountain: interviews with FWT’s photographers Jeremy Bernard & Dominique Daher.
- Freeride – Style of riding that takes place off piste, on natural, ungroomed terrain in the backcountry or sidecountry.
- ≠ Freestyle – Riding discipline in Winter Olympics that includes moguls, aerials, half-pipe, and slopestyle.
- Backcountry — Backcountry skiing is skiing in a sparsely inhabited rural region over ungroomed and unmarked slopes or pistes. More importantly, the land and the snow pack are not monitored, patrolled, or maintained.
- Slackcountry/sidecountry — Refer to backcountry that’s easily accessed from a resort.
- Bumps – Synonym for moguls, the mounds of snow formed by repeated turns of skiers/snowboarders (or built artificially).
- Dropping in – Beginning a run in a terrain park or launching off a cliff or cornice to enter new terrain.
- Freshies – Fresh, untracked powder.
- Gnarly - Difficult conditions or terrain.
- Shred the gnar – To ride with exceptional speed, ability, or enthusiasm, especially in difficult terrain and conditions.
- Sketchy - When you land a trick but it doesn’t look good.
- Bombing – Travelling fast and straight down a slope, somewhat recklessly.
- Bulletproof – Hard, compacted snow and ice that requires serious edging and is often caused by thaw-freeze cycle or rain falling on slopes.
- Death cookies – Small frozen chunks on a piste, usually caused by snowmaking and grooming operations.
- Dust on crust – When a very shallow layer of fresh snow covers the hardpack underneath.
- Jerry – Someone who is clueless about skiing or snowboarding (e.g., wearing jeans on the slopes). Also see joey and gaper.
- Huck – To launch off a cliff, cornice, or other precipice.
- Tomahawk – To fall end over end down a mountain without any control. See also rag doll.