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Great news for fans of big mountain skiing: The Freeride World Tour is on for 2022, and this year’s competitions are shaping up to be bangerang.
Last season, the freeskiing competition that traditionally has the best freeride skiers and snowboarders traveling the world to compete in big mountain skiing hit multiple major roadblocks caused by the pandemic. The first two scheduled stops of the 2021 Tour in Hakuba, Japan and Kicking Horse, B.C. had to be cancelled, as those countries were still shuttered to international athletes; then crazy weather like a Saharan sandstorm and unseasonably warm temps caused multiple schedule changes for the two remaining competitions.
While the FWT was, miraculously, able to pull off the 2021 Verbier Championship competition, FWT fans can agree that last year’s Tour left us wanting for more.
And this year, we’re bound to get it (unless, of course, Covid gets in the way again). The FWT has a few exciting changes in store for us in 2022, including a new European venue and updated competition format. But the biggest headline might be the announcement that American pro skier Lexi DuPont will be joining this year’s Tour as a Wildcard athlete.
Here’s everything you need to know about the 2022 Freeride World Tour.
FWT Athlete Roster
Due to the pandemic and long-term injuries, we didn’t get to see some of our favorite skiers compete on the Tour last season, but we’re happy to announce that the 2022 roster highlights a stacked field of talent. That includes defending champions Kristofer Turdell from Sweden and Switzerland’s Elisabeth Gerritzen, who stole the show last season with crazy cliff drops, ridiculous backflips, and just all-around consistent and aspirational skiing.
Turdell, who now has two FWT Champion titles to his name, may have a leg up on the rest of the men’s ski field, but he’s also got a target on his back, and this season’s rookie and Wildcard athletes are sure to give him a run for his money.
On the rookie side, 13 new skiers and riders join the Tour after qualifying for the honors last season. That includes Americans Grifen Moller, Jack Nichols, Lily Bradley, and Michael Mawn. As for the Wildcard selections—that may be the biggest news. Fance’s Léo Slemett and Kiwi Craig Murray, two of the biggest names in freeriding, return to the men’s competition, while Americans Lexi DuPont and Jacqueline Pollard join New Zealand’s Jess Hotter and three-time FWT Champ Ariana Tricomi from Italy on the women’s side.
DuPont, who first made a name for herself by competing on the FWT nearly a decade ago, has gone on to become one of the biggest names in big mountain skiing. The K2 and Eddie Bauer athlete has been a staple in ski movies ever since, including in Warren Miller films.
“When I received the invitation to be the ‘Wildcard’ for the Freeride World Tour 2022, my heart jumped into my throat,” says DuPont. “I was humbled, honored, and a little nauseous all at the same time. I guess you could call me a Wildcard Rookie because it has been so long since I have been in the starting gate.”
That may be, but we have no doubt that DuPont will bring the same level of skill and energy that she brings to skiing for the camera to the 2022 FWT competitions.
New Tour Stop and Updated Format
The FWT traditionally hosts five competitions throughout the Tour, with stops in Japan, Canada, and Europe culminating in a finale at the Verbier XTremes in Switzerland. But with Japan still on lockdown due to the pandemic, the FWT will replace that opening competition with a new stop in Baqueira Beret, Spain.
Located in the Val d’Aran in the Spanish Pyrenees, Baqueira Beret is a world-class resort with extensive expert terrain. It’s also home to veteran FWT competitor Aymar Navarro.
“If you had told me 10 years ago it was possible for a skier from Spain to podium at the Xtreme Verbier, I would have said you were crazy,” Navarro says. “And now there’s going to be a FWT competition at my home mountain, Baqueira Beret!”
From Baqueira Beret, the Tour will move on to a second stop in the Pyrenees at Ordino Arcalis, Andorra, before skipping across the Atlantic for the traditional stop in Kicking Horse, B.C. If all goes according to plan, athletes will then return to Europe for the traditional stop in Fieberbrunn, Austria before throwing down in Verbier, Switzerland.
But for the 2022 Tour, only a handful of competitors will be allowed to move on from Kicking Horse to Fieberbrunn, as the FWT has decided to move its qualifying cut from the fourth stop of the tour to the third competition.
In this new format, only 26 of the best riders (12 men and 5 women from the ski event, and 5 men and 4 women from the snowboard event) will qualify for the final two stops of the tour. Fieberbrunn and Verbier will now both serve as Finals events, where the top riders will receive increased points toward their overall Tour ranking—a total of 12,500 points for the winner, instead of the 10,000 points awarded to the top rider at the previous three competitions.
2022 Freeride World Tour Schedule
The pandemic isn’t over, and while the situation seems to have stabilized in parts of the world, it’s safe to say this schedule is subject to change depending on ongoing health concerns and travel restrictions. And of course, there’s always weather and snow conditions to contend with. But if all goes according to plan, we’ll be watching the top skiers and riders in the world duke it out on some amazing faces this winter.
- Jan. 22-28: Baqueira Beret, Spain
- Jan. 30-Feb. 5: Ordino Arcalis, Andorra
- Feb. 12-17: Kicking Horse, B.C., Canada (Finals Qualification Cut)
- March 15-20: Saalbach Fieberbrunn, Austria (Finals Event)
- March 26-Apr. 3: Verbier, Switzerland (Finals Event)