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Freeride fans, the Freeride World Tour just announced its schedule for the upcoming season, with the first event kicking off in January next year. Last season on the Tour, we witnessed the evolution of freeride live with a group of trick-oriented young guns throwing down, a new event format, and more than one mind-blowing wild card run. These developments indicate that we could be in for another outstanding season.
First and foremost, let’s talk about the next generation of freeriding. For years, a crowd of freeride OGs who prioritized technical, fast, and precise skiing dominated the Tour. To see any of these riders bobble or select the wrong line was an upset. However, aside from the occasional backflip or 360, they kept it simple in the freestyle arena—think Reine Barkered or Arianna Tricomi.
Watch: FWT23 Teaser
But nothing in skiing stays the same for long. Last season, a new approach to FWT competitions involving risk-taking and freestyle firmly took root. Take 19-year-old Max Palm from Sweden, recipient of a wild card slot for last season’s first stop. Palm, a previous junior freeride champion, clinched first place in a field of stacked talented veterans by laying down the Tour’s first double backflip. Going upside down twice in a no-fall-zone is hardly cautious—insane might be more apt.
Watch: Max Palm lands first FWT double backflip
Palm is one of many younger riders turning the Tour’s technical venues into terrain parks. Switzerland’s Maxime Chabloz, who won the title last season as a rookie, crammed multiple tricks into one run at Kicking Horse, including a cork 720. And, due to a crowd of fresh faces set to join the Tour, the likes of Chabloz will have plenty of competition.
On the women’s side, France’s Manon Loschi is a notable stand-out who qualified for the 2023 FWT after a string of impressive finishes in qualifying events last season. Loschi has the skills to bring a jibby style to the Tour with dialed 360s, backflips, and flat spins. Expect her to challenge Hedvig Wessel’s jaw-dropping backflips with some tricks of her own.
On the men’s side, we’re excited about Max Hitzig from Austria who also qualified for the Tour this season. Like Palm, Hitzig received a wild card slot last season, an opportunity he used to swing a first-place run involving huge airs and a massive backflip in Fieberbrunn.
Don’t miss: The best lines and crashes from last year’s FWT
Then, there’s the two-run format, a carryover from last season. In sticking with brief tradition, this new format will just apply to the first finals stop, Fieberbrunn. Historically, FWT riders only had one chance to carve up a competition face, making errors potentially fatal score-wise. With two runs, the field has more room for experimentation and risk-taking. Anticipate impressive season highlights from Fieberbrunn 2023 as riders take advantage of their second chance.
What does all this mean for next season’s FWT? It’s simple: even better riding and more high-octane stunts. The level of competition on the Tour has never been higher, a fact that we viewers stand to take advantage of once the snow starts flying.
The upcoming FWT will be broadcast for free on the FWT’s website and Youtube. Here’s when to tune in.
2023 Freeride World Tour Competition Schedule
- January 13-18: Stop #1, Kicking Horse, B.C.
- January 28-Feb. 2: Stop #2, Baqueira Beret, Spain
- February 4-9: Stop #3, Ordino Arcalís, Andorra (only top athletes advance to Finals after this stop)
- March 11-17: Finals #1, Fieberbrunn, Austria
- March 25-April 2: Finals #2, Xtreme Verbier, Switzerland