Freeride World Tour gets to the business end of the season in AK & Verbier

snow action team 11.03.2015

Haines, Alaska – March 10, 2015 – The FWT has moved across the Atlantic to Haines, Alaska for the fourth tour stop of 2015. The field has been reduced in all categories leaving only the top 60% for this first-ever FWT event, in what is known as the mecca of freeride. 2015 will surely not only be remembered for the 20th anniversary of the Xtreme Verbier but also for the historic stop in Haines that is about to kick off. Shout out to Sam Smoothy, currently leading the ski standings following his awesome win at FWT14 – check vids of that here

Also check out here the Haines, Alaska teaser

FWT15 – Haines, Alaska Teaser by FreerideWorldTourTV

FWT in Haines a reality
It has long been a dream, for organizers and athletes alike, to have an FWT stop in the grandiose terrain around Haines, Alaska. It is now a reality and the battle in the Alaskan mountains will be decisive for the athletes who wish to compete at the 20th edition of the prestigious Xtreme Verbier – the paragon, classical final event of the SWATCH FREERIDE WORLD TOUR BY THE NORTH FACE®. Only the top 16 ski men, top 8 snowboard men, top 8 ski women and top 5 snowboard women based on the first three stops of the FWT 2015 have qualified for this exclusive stage in Haines, and their results in Alaska will determine the field the Verbier.

“The community is very excited to welcome the Freeride World Tour to Haines,” says Leslie Ross (USA), Haines Tourism Director. “The Freeride World Tour features the best skiers and snowboarders in the world and this will be a historic occasion for the town and surrounding region. We can’t wait to introduce them to our world class skiing and riding and our Alaskan hospitality.”

This contest not only provides the athletes with a chance to ride the amazing terrain around Haines, which many athletes have already qualified as one of the highlights of the season. It also gives one more result to base the qualification for the Xtreme Verbier on.

The historic event in Haines will be broadcast live just as the other FWT stops on www.freerideworldtour.com. It has been very important to the FWT organizers to provide fans with the opportunity to follow the action real-time, although it is both costly and demanding to set up for live coverage in this extreme and remote location. As always, weather plays an important role and since it can be particularly tricky on this latitude, a nine-day ‘weather window’ has been assigned with the expected competition date being March 14. Staying up to date on any changes in schedule has never been easier though, with a brand new FWT app with push notifications now being available in the different app stores.

As for the snow conditions it looks promising. Freeride World Tour Americas Manager Tom Winter (USA) reports that: “According to the Haines Avalanche Information Center, we are returning to an onshore flow and snow and colder weather is expected into next week. This will help prime the venue for the athletes and I can’t wait to see them turned loose in Alaska.”

FWT Courmayeur  © J Bernard www.freerideworldtour.com

FWT Courmayeur © J Bernard www.freerideworldtour.com

Xtreme Verbier 20th anniversary
There is no doubt that the SWATCH XTREME VERBIER 2015 BY THE NORTH FACE® will be the freeride event of the decade. Freeride VIPs, legends and faithful fans will be on the spectator friendly venue at the Gentianes to watch and celebrate as the qualified top FWT riders and special 20th anniversary wildcards will be leaving their tracks on the Bec des Rosses.
For FWT riders to qualify for the Xtreme Verbier the criteria is: top 12 for ski men, top 6 for snowboard men and ski women and top 4 for snowboard women, counting 3 of 4 results on the FWT 2015, allowing for one throw-away.

Among the wildcards is Swedish alpine slalom racer, Mattias Hargin (SWE) who has a special relationship to Xtreme Verbier as both of his sisters, Janette Hargin (SWE) (winner 2011) and Christine Hargin (SWE) (winner 2012) as well as his girlfriend Matilda Rapaport (SWE) (winner 2013) have mastered the descent of the Bec des Rosses. Mattias compares the renowned competition face with the mythical downhill run in Kitzbühel: “Bec De Rosses is freeriding’s equivalent to the Hahnenkamm and hence is a contest venue out of the ordinary. I’ve never raced the Hahnenkamm but will now take on Bec de Rosses, which is one of my biggest challenges so far as I have to push boundaries for myself as a skier. It is far beyond my comfort zone but I very much look forward to the challenge!”

The most decorated downhiller in the history of US skiing, Daron Rahlves (USA) will also be taking the start on the Bec. His talents go way beyond alpine racing and he counts titles in both jet ski and ski cross before and after his ski racing career. He is also no stranger to big mountain skiing as he has received the Powder Video Award for the “Best Line” in 2010.

As for the Bec legends, Steve Klassen (USA), Aurelien Ducroz (FRA) and Xavier de Le Rue (FRA) have all accepted to make a special FWT comeback for this anniversary edition. For FWT General Manager, Nicolas Hale-Woods (SUI) celebrating the history is important – also for the future: “Steve Klassen, Gilles Voirol and Jérôme Ruby were the pioneers on Bec des Rosses. Their legacy is honored by today’s Champions. But most important is the next generation, with hundreds of Juniors making their way to ultimately, one day, stand in the starting gate facing Gentianes. The magic of Xtreme Verbier lies in the excitement, which is equally strong, every year.”

Stay tuned to www.freerideworldtour.com to stay up on the latest news.