It’s hard to believe that we’re already finished with the fourth stop of the 2022 Freeride World Tour, and yet here we are. After a 30 day break, these skiers put on an unbelievable performance on one of the FWT’s most iconic faces. This stop was a little different from the normal, with riders being given two runs to put down their best line. The format was a largely welcomed change, encouraging the athletes to put their best foot forward knowing that they had two chances to claim the throne. We saw FWT rookie Jessica Hotter taking yet another podium top spot finish on the women’s side, and 19 year old young gun Max Hitzig sitting in first place on the men’s side. But with plenty of action from start to finish, let’s dive in to the highlights.
Because there are only 11 men and 6 women remaining on the tour, the men’s and women’s rosters were both given two runs, and alternated with the snowboarders. It was ski women’s who got to kick the day off, and they set the bar high. While there were stellar performances all around, one clear stud was left standing at the end of the day, and it was none other than the wonder from down under, Jessica Hotter. After a tough crash on the first stop of the year, Jessica has had her foot firmly planted on the gas peddle, and is showing no signs of slowing down. In Fieberbrunn, she once again proved that she’s one of the stronger skiers out there. Her line, which included two larger airs and a hearty amount of speed, took her over to some questionable snow that had seen quite a bit of sun. However, she powered through and came hauling to the finish line. Hedvig Wessel and Elisabeth Gerritzen, two FWT veterans, both made strong claims for themselves, as they finished second and third respectively. Hedvig’s line included a substantial 15 foot drop which she stomped with ease! Hopefully we’ll see more of that as this talented group of women prepare themselves for the final showdown in Verbier.
The ski men’s field was filled with surprises, as the arguable rookie of the year Maxime Chabloz had a run that was not quite up to the standard that he had set, and found himself near the back of the pack. While one could argue if his score was a little lower than deserved, there’s no debate that he has shown the world more. But it was Max Hitzig who stole the show today, as the former FWQ wildcard turned FWT ripper lined up several airs, including two right 3s and an absolute textbook perfect backflip right to his feet. Max made it look as though he had been on the Tour for years as he painted his way down the Wildseeloder. Since he’s secured his spot on the 2023 FWT already, there’s no doubt we’ll be seeing more out of this young gun. We had two familiar faces in second and third place on the day. Mayor of stomp town Carl Regnér Eriksson took home the silver, and the flying frenchmen (not Candide, the other one), Léo Slemett took home bronze. While both of these riders have not been in the spotlight too much this year, it was great reminder of just how deep the talent pool goes.
With the fourth stop wrapped up, we patiently await the final stop of the year; Verbier. The competition has been locked in for Saturday, March 26th, so prepare yourself for one of skiing ultimate events.
For the full broadcast of all the Fieberbrunn madness, complete with scores and rider selection, look no further. The Tour’s website has you covered. Click right here.
Ski Women’s Podium
- Jessica Hotter (NZL)
- Hedvig Wessel (NOR)
- Elisabeth Gerritzen (SWE)
Ski Men’s Podium
- Max Hitzig (AUT)
- Carl Regnér Eriksson (SWE)
- Léo Slemett (FRA)
Images courtesy of the Freeride World Tour