[dropcap]W[/dropcap]ithout doubt, the Freeride World Tour (FWT) is one of the most electrifying snow sport competitions of the 21st century. The 2012 edition of the FWT was no exception and produced some of the most amazing extreme snowboard and ski freeriding to date.
[box_light]About the FWTour 2012[/box_light]
The Freeride World Tour (FWT) tour is a ski and snowboard competition where only the worlds best-of-the-best extreme snowboarders and skiers face-off against each other to score the highest marks on their descent down the worlds most difficult (extreme) rock and snow filled mountains.
The competition judging was developed jointly by the tour organizers, judges, and competing athletes. The objective for each athlete is to decend the face and maximize their points based on the judging criteria. The run scoring takes into account the athlete’s line down the face of the mountain, fludity, control, crashes and jumps. This split criteria is key in determining the overall score of the run. With the continually shifting winds, changing ambient temperatures, and sun/shade combinations, the conditions of the snow changes minute-by-minute throughout the day. The judges continually monitor these factors of the runs to account for what could be a very difficult or safe line down the face of the mountain.
This years competition was made up of six world-class freeride locations from around the world. The sixth and final event was again held in Verbier, Switzerland.
- 1st tour location: Revelstoke, Canada (6-11th January 2012)
- 2nd tour location: Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, France (21-27th January 2012)
- 3rd tour location: Courmayeur, Italy (24-29th January 2012)
- 4th tour location: Roldal, Norway (25th February – 2 March 2012)
- 5th tour location: Fieberbrunn, Austria (8-11th March 2012)
[box_light]The Final – Verbier, Switzerland[/box_light]
The 6th and final tour location: Verbier, Switzerland (22-25th March 2012) was held in perfect weather conditions.
Official FWT 2012 video highlights – Verbier, Switzerland
Verbier is located in south-western part of Switzerland close to the Swiss-Italian boarder. It is one of the largest holiday resort and ski areas in the Swiss Alps and is recognized as one of the premier “off-piste” locations in the world. Many top skiers have settled in the Verbier area in order to take advantage of the steep slopes. The village is extremely popular in the ski season and sees a swell in the number of residents from 3,000 to 35,000 in the winter months. Big mountain snowboard and ski competition is at its best on the intimidating mountain face of the Bec-de-Rosses.
Bec-des-Rosses is a mountain the Pennine Alps adjacent to Verbier and is the home to extreme skiing/snowboarding. Most routes down the face are between 55 and 60 degrees and it is a frighteningly jagged 500 meter rock and snow face, and for this reason the Bec-des-Rosses is renowned as one of the toughest mountains to ski in the Alps.
The weather in Verbier was impeccable for the final competition. The crowd of nearly 10,000 spectators was graced by the presence of Sir Richard Branson who was sighted by many.
The winner of the men’s overall FWT 2012 tour was Reine Barkered (SWE) pictured below. Despite several crashes during the day-long competition, there were no serious injuries.
[box_light]FWT Final 2012 rankings[/box_light]
1. Reine Barkered (SWE) – 2012 World Champion
2. Drew Tabke (USA)
3. Aurelien Ducroz (FRA)
1. Jonathan Charlet (FRA) – 2012 World Champion
2. Ralph Backstrom (USA)
3. Flo Orley (AUT)
1. Christine Hargin (SWE) – 2012 World Champion
2. Angel Collinson (USA)
2. Eva Walkner (AUT)
1. Maria DeBari (USA) – 2012 World Champion
2. Margot Rozies (FRA)
3. Shannan Yates (USA)
The unsung heros of the final competition in Verbier includes the team from the Swiss helicopter company Air-Glaciers which worked diligently to provide both special transport as well as rescue and recovery services through-out the entire days event.
For more information and inspirational videos from all of the Freeride World Tour locations – check out the FWT Official Website: http://www.freerideworldtour.com/