The Swatch Freeride World Tour by The North Face (FWT) has revealed the qualified athletes who will be competing for big-mountain glory in 2013/14. The qualified athletes include returning FWT veterans, newly qualified skiers, and elite wild cards (local riders who are ensured a chance to shine when the FWT comes to their mountain). The tour kicks off early this year on December 18, 2013 from Revelstoke, British Columbia, where riders will take on the Mac Daddy Face.
“I’m super excited for 2014,” said 2013 men’s ski world champion Drew Tabke (USA). “In the last year alone the support from our sponsors, the quality of event coverage, and the level of riding have all gone through the roof. And, it looks like this year that trend is going to continue. It’s a really exciting time to be involved in freeride.”
Qualified skiers include Tabke (USA), Fabio Studer (AUT), Wille Lindberg (SWE), Markus Eder (ITA), Silas and Lars Chickering-Ayers (USA), Griffin Post (USA), Oakley White-Allen (USA), Josh Daiek (USA), Jackie Paaso (USA), Ashley Maxfield (USA), and Crystal Wright (USA) among others.
Press Release, Lausanne, Switzerland, September 26, 2013:
After last year’s stellar winter and a long hot summer, the athletes of the SWATCH FREERIDE WORLD TOUR BY THE NORTH FACE® (FWT) are ready to drop into another season on the world’s premier freeride tour. All of the qualified athletes, including returning veterans, newly arrived Freeride World Qualifier (FWQ) riders, and elite wild cards, have confirmed their spots and will now face off at six events. Top-notch live broadcasting at every event means fans of freeride don’t have to miss a single run of FWT 2014.
The SWATCH FREERIDE WORLD TOUR BY THE NORTH FACE® 2014 begins one month earlier than in 2013, at Revelstoke, British Columbia, Canada, during the week before Christmas. This kick-off event on December 18, 2013, represents the first competition of the fully realized FWT. While the successful 2013 tour included top riders from the three previously independent circuits (the Freeskiing and the Freeride World Tours and The North Face® Masters of Snowboarding), the 2014 tour features the elite riders who were able to advance from this initial group, holding on to their coveted spot through their results from last year.
Added to the mix is fresh talent from the Freeride World Qualifier. Of the more than 1,300 riders registered under the FWQ global ranking system, only eight ski men, six ski women, six snowboard men, and two snowboard women were rewarded a spot on FWT 2014. In addition, a handful of wild cards ensure the best local riders, such as Kirkwood resident Josh Daiek (USA) and Austria’s Eva Walkner, who was injured in FWT 13, have their chance to shine when the FWT comes to town.
“The FWT 2014 line-up of athletes has never been so strong, with a mix of super experienced FWT riders and hungry newcomers who battled through the FWQ last winter to earn their spot in the elite,” said FWT General Manager Europe, Nicolas Hale-Woods. “The progression of the sport continues to evolve with riders like Markus Eder (ITA) and Drew Tabke (USA) incorporating freestyle into untouched terrain. Plus, skyrocketing live webcast figures show how exciting the sport is to the eyes of the fans, media, resorts and partners.”
Thanks to the growth of the sport in the hands of FWT, there is more support than ever from title sponsor SWATCH, presenting partner The North Face®, and the partner resorts. “I’m super excited for 2014,” said 2013 men’s ski world champion Drew Tabke (USA). “In the last year alone the support from our sponsors, the quality of event coverage, and the level of riding have all gone through the roof. And, it looks like this year that trend is going to continue. It’s a really exciting time to be involved in freeride.”
FWT 2014 visits the same six resorts as last year, though on an updated schedule. Based on the consistent, reliable snowfall in Revelstoke, the tour begins on December 18, 2013, the earliest date ever. Three events in Europe – Courmayeur Mont Blanc, Italy; Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, France; and Fieberbrunn Kitzbüheler Alpen, Austria – follow quickly thereafter. This means that four of the season’s six events will be completed by early February 2014, allowing for a three-week break during the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The tour roars back to life on March 1, 2014, in Kirkwood, USA, before returning once again to the hallowed slopes of Verbier, Switzerland, for the world finals at the Swatch Verbier Xtreme 2014 by The North Face®.