Anticipation is high for another winter season, including all the fun events that come with it. The Freeride World Tour, a multi-stage event that focuses on the highest level of freeride skiing and snowboarding, is back for FWT20, and is set to return to the same venues of 2019. Complete with rookies, wild cards, and a returning champ, the coming season is poised to be one of the best ever.
2020 Freeride World Tour Official Teaser
The Athletes of FWT20
Reigning world champion Markus Eder, of Italy, has decided to retire from competitive skiing, meaning the overall world title is up for grabs on the men's side. The favorite is certainly Kristofer Turdell, of Sweden, who was the overall world champion in 2018 and finished the FWT19 season behind Eder in second place overall.
The Swede won’t have a clear path to the championship, however, as former World Champions and freeride skiing veterans Leo Slemett (FRA, FWT17 Champion), Reine Barkered (SWE, FWT12 Champion) and Drew Tabke (USA, FWT13 Champion) are also set to return to the Freeride World Tour for 2020.
Other threats for the top spot include rookies Carl Renvall (SUI), Blake Marshall (NZL), Tao Kreibich (AUT), Jack and Kevin Nichols (USA), and Isaac Freeland (USA). The dark horse is certainly Craig Murray (NZL) who won Kicking Horse last season before a crash in Fieberbrunn took him out of the rest of FWT19. And when Tanner Hall (USA) is in the lineup, anything can happen.
Watch more: Best of the FWT19
The Wild Cards for the men’s ski side are also worthy of attention, both for viewers and the other competitors. Yu Sasaki (JPN) will return for FWT20, as well as Sam Lee, of New Zealand, who is one of the most capable freeride skiers on the planet. Ivan Malakhov (RUS), Yann Rausis (SUI), Konstantin Ottner (GER), and Hank Bilous (NZL) round out the other injury wild cards on the men’s side for FWT20.
Italian Arianna Tricomi is back for FWT20 and gunning for the three-peat. Her stylish 360s and confident, consistent cliff drops certainly make her the favorite, and the fact that she has already earned the title of overall world champion in 2018 and 2019 means she’s definitely the girl to beat this season.
The biggest threats for the two-time Italian champ are Norwegian Hedvig Wessel and American Jacqueline Pollard. Wessel proved last season she has a number of tricks up her sleeve, including massive backflips. Pollard demonstrated strong, confident freeskiing throughout the season, which judges loved. Both are coming off rookie seasons and, with the knowledge that comes from experience, are solid bets for storming to the top in 2020.
Other ladies out for Tricomi’s title include Jessica Hotter (NZL) and Emma Patterson (USA), who qualified after strong FWQ seasons in 2019. Wildcards Juliette Willman (FRA) and Evelina Nilsson (SWE) are also ready to challenge Tricomi. Injury Wild Cards include Maude Besse (SUI) and Rachel Croft (USA), who both showed promise last season before getting injured.
The Freeride World Tour 2020 Schedule
The FWT20 Schedule looks a lot like last season’s, with every comp taking place just a little later compared to last season. The Andorra and Austria stops have also been swapped in order compared to FWT19. Last year, the Andorra stop was delayed slightly due to spring conditions, so hopefully moving it to earlier in the year will help it go off with a bang.
If there are two stops you don’t want to miss, it's Kicking Horse and Verbier. The snow and venue at Kicking Horse, B.C. are as good as it gets, and last year the skiers put on a high-flying show. The infamous Bec des Rosses face in Verbier is the final stop for a reason: Nothing compares in the sport of freeride skiing. Wadek Gorak took it to a new level last season with his gigantic backflip, and we’re excited to see what goes down on that face in 2020.
Read more: Two Skiers Before the Bec
1) Hakuba, Japan - The Winter Begins
- January 18-25, 2020 (FWQ 13-16)
2) Kicking Horse Golden BC, Canada - Time to Get Rowdy
- February 6-12, 2020
3) Ordino-Arcalis, Andorra - Hold the Line
- February 28 - March 4, 2020
4) Fieberbrunn, Austria - Crunch Time
- March 7-13, 2020
5) Verbier, Switzerland - The Grand Finale
- March 28 - April 5, 2020
SKI Magazine is an Official Media Partner for the Freeride World Tour. For more freeride action, catch up on the FWT19 season on SKI’s FWT Page.