Big Mountain Skiers

Freeride World Tour Announces More Wild Cards for 2019

Americans Drew Tabke and Jackie Paaso get the green light to join Tanner Hall and others on this season's tour.

Jackie Paaso atop the podium at the 2016 Freeride World Tour Verbier Xtreme.
American Jackie Paaso atop the podium at the 2016 Freeride World Tour Verbier Xtreme.Photo courtesy of the Freeride World Tour

The Freeride World Tour announced last week that six ski wild card roster additions for the 2019 season have been added to their athlete roster, including Americans Drew Tabke and Jackie Paaso. Other roster additions include Swede Carl Regnér, Spaniard Aymar Navarro, Swiss athlete Maude Besse, and Austrian Fabio Studer. The men will be competing against freeskiing legend Tanner Hall, who was granted a wild card last month.

Drew Tabke dominated the Freeskiing World Tour for years before jumping to the more exclusive and lucrative Freeride World Tour. He’s well known for fast, smooth, and creative lines, and, perhaps more importantly, going much bigger off jumps and airs than anyone else. This was best exemplified last year at the FWT17 Vallnord-Arcalís event in Andorra, where he stomped a massive backflip that went well beyond everyone else’s landing, only to lose a ski later in his run.

On the women’s side, Jacki Paaso is one of the most decorated skiers on the Freeride World Tour, including a win at the notorious Verbier Xtreme in 2016. She suffered a knee injury at the same venue one year later, and was granted an injury wild card for the coming season to jump back into the competition. We’re excited to see her ski on the Bec des Rosses face again in 2019.

The other wild cards are also extremely strong additions to an already stacked roster of athletes for 2019. Aymar Navarro of Spain is a joy to watch ski in all conditions, and Fabio Studer of Austria brings a unique level of freestyle capabilities only matched by Markus Eder, who was second overall last year. Both will be pushed by the presence of Tanner Hall this year, who is a major influence on both skiers’ styles.

On the women’s side, Paaso joins an already stacked field of ladies, including last year’s overall champion Arianna Tricomi, of Italy, and the Austrians Eva Walkner and Lorraine Huber, who each had wins at events last year at Kicking Horse, B.C., and Fieberbrunn, Austria, respectively.

Needless to say, this season is shaping up to be a strong one for the Freeride World Tour, and we’ll be bringing you event coverage and updates all season long on our Competitions Channel.