The Freeride World Tour (FWT) is a real-deal big mountain, off-piste competition. That's exactly why competitors and staff are required to wear backcountry security equipment during competitions, as well as train with the equipment year-round should something go wrong at any time. Naturally, whether the venue is in Japan or Switzerland, the equipment needs to work perfectly under harsh conditions, which is exactly why the FWT has partnered with Black Diamond, Pieps, Vibram, RECCO and the International Snow Training Academy (ISTA) for the 2019 season.
"Security is and will always remain the number one priority of the Freeride World Tour," said Julien Hess, General Manager of the FWT in a press release. "Thanks to our partnerships with Black Diamond, Pieps, Vibram, RECCO and ISTA, we are able to reinforce promotion of three main pillars which are: wearing full and adequate rescue equipment, efficient research devices, and quality training to avoid accidents and having the skills to react."
Black Diamond, Pieps and Vibram are new partners for the FWT, and have signed a three-year agreement to be the official supplier and safety partner of the tour. The brands will provide athletes with airbags, beacons, probes, shovels, and safety workshops during each event.
“Snow safety and avalanche response has always driven Black Diamond and Pieps to innovate new tools to help people travel safely in the backcountry,” said Jan-Willem Driessen, global vice-president of marketing for Black Diamond Equipment. “Partnering with the Freeride World Tour allows us to speak to a growing demographic of younger backcountry skiers and snowboarders whose passion regularly takes them outside the boundaries."
RECCO and ISTA will continue their partnerships with the FWT for the season, providing RECCO reflectors to all athletes on the World Tour, the qualifier, and the junior levels worldwide. ISTA, founded by freeskier Dominique Perret, has had a very long-standing partnership with FWT, and will continue working with athletes going into 2019.
“It’s incredible to follow the evolution of the sport," said Perret. "Even if security is managed at 100% in FWT contests, there are still uncontrollable risks remaining. It’s obviously essential to be fully equipped with adequate safety equipment, but most importantly to have the knowledge to minimize the risks in the first place. This is why avalanche safety training is so important. We are proud to be the official snow training academy for the athletes of the FWT!"
The first event of FWT19 is scheduled to take place January 19-26 in Hakuba, Japan. Check out the full 2019 World Tour event schedule.