February 17, 2021 Update: The first event in Andorra is confirmed to take place on Friday, February 19 at 9:45 a.m. CET (3:45 a.m. EST; 1:45 a.m. MST). The event will be live-streamed on the Freeride World Tour’s Website, YouTube, and Facebook channels.
Andorra Event 1 Start List:
- Ski Women
- Ski Men
- Snowboard Women
- Snowboard Men
Running a global freeskiing tour during COVID is no small task. And after canceling events in Hakuba, Japan and Kicking Horse, B.C., the Freeride World Tour (FWT) has finally figured out a plan for the rest of the 2021 season with stops in Andorra, Austria, and Switzerland.
According to FWT CEO Nicholas Hale-Woods, the Tour has agreements in place with all three venues—Ordino Arcalìs, Fieberbrunn, and Verbier—to host tour stops this season. There will be no spectators allowed at any of the venues, and athletes will only be allowed to compete with a negative COVID test result.
Additionally, the FWT will operate with three separate “bubbles” to reduce the risk of COVID transmission: One for the athletes, one for the staff, and one for traveling media and partners of the tour. There will be regular testing at each venue, including daily testing in Andorra and testing every three days in Fieberbrunn.
“The current situation will give the 2021 season a special twist,” said Hale-Woods in a press release. “However, the riders are keen to get back on snow and our destination and industry partners are fully supporting us. We will, no doubt, once again be inspired by the continued progression of the athletes.”
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With these safety measures in place, as well as the two cancellations already this season, there will be changes to the way the tour will function:
- If the tour is able to have five successful events, there will be a cut in the number of athletes before Fieberbrunn based on points.
- If this is the case, then there will be two runs per rider in Austria, and the score from the best run will be the only one that counts.
- If the tour has four events, then the cut will happen after the third event and every rider on the FWT will get one run in Fieberbrunn.
- If there are only three events, the cut will happen before Verbier and all riders will only get one run in Fieberbrunn.
After the cut in athletes, there will be a 1.5 multiplier on points awarded. This means that results in Verbier will definitely have a 1.5 multiplier, and if there are five successful stops, Fieberbrunn will be worth more to the athletes as well.
“This should go as smoothly as possible when we’re there,” said FWT20 overall champion Isaac Freeland during a video call. He followed up by noting that he’s definitely feeling more pressure this season, but trying to brush it off and just qualify for FWT22.
The first stop of FWT21 is scheduled to take place at Andorra’s Ordino Arcalìs resort with a weather window between February 20 and February 26. The event will be live-streamed on the Freeride World Tour’s website, and SKI will post recaps after each event.