[Freeride World Tour] Full FWT 2021 Rundown

[Freeride World Tour] Full FWT 2021 Rundown

Just like that—in a flash of cold smoke—it was over. With the completion of Xtreme Verbier, the 2021 Freeride World Tour has come to a close. There were cheers, gasps, hugs, tears… and what other way would you want it? But all in all, every stop left us with jaws on the floor. If you’re looking to catch up on the stops or just relive the unbelievable action, we’re pleased to inform that you have found yourself in the right corner of the internet. Let’s take a look at each stop and how the winners got to stand atop that prestigious Freeride World Tour podium.

Photography by Dom Daher & Jeremy Bernard

While the tour was under obvious restraints this year, the entire crew deserves a thunderous round of applause for their efforts in pulling off a top dollar venue. The Andorran Pyrenees Mountains, the Pillerseetal Valley of Austria, and Switzerlands Valais Canton all were gracious hosts to one of skiings greatest competitions. Below you’ll find finalized tour rankings and awards, stop recaps and hot takes, highlight tapes, the whole nine yards. Let’s get this baddie rolling!

Stop One – Ordino Arcalís

Starting with the double header in Ordino Arcalís, Andorra, variable snow conditions gave the fully stacked slew of 28 riders plenty of sketchy fun to dive into. At Stop One, with the coverage looking rather thin, it was up to the riders to weigh how hard they should charge. Secure an early stack of points, and possibly a victory, but risk biting it on all the exposure, or play it safe and not get too dicey? I think it’s obvious by the level or riding we saw which one the riders chose.

Both Hedvig Wessel and Ross Tester, the Womens and Mens champion of the day, laced up atmospheric level backflips in their fast paced, clean turning runs. Ross’s hammer drop of a run, which also included a deeeep 360 at the top of the course, was truly outlandish when you consider that this dude is a ROOKIE on the Tour this year. Everyone knew going into it that he was a strong skier, but this absolutely set the tone for his later performances.

Women’s Ski Podium:

  1. Hedvig Wessel (NOR)
  2. Juliette Willmann (FRA)
  3. Maude Besse (SUI)

Men’s Ski Podium:

  1. Ross Tester (USA)
  2. Maël Ollivier (FRA)
  3. Blake Marshall (NZL)

Full Stop One replay on the FWT home page can be found here.

Stop Two – Ordino Arcalís

Due to COVID travel restrictions, as well as the FWT’s own initiative, both of the first two Stops were held at Ordino Arcalís in order to mitigate the danger that travel could present in a trip across the pond into the Hakuba Valley or Japan. With knowledge of the face under their belts and fresh snow on the mountain, the riders took to the start gate with an evident sense of eagerness to earn the hot seat position.

While the snow was face was better covered than previously, the fresh snow was coated with a layer of crust that made sticking some tricks and judging speed very difficult. We saw the fall, literally, or both previous Stop One champions, as both Ross and Wedvig went for daring lines and were rewarded with a dinner plate full of snow. This gave way for tour veteran Elisabeth Gerritzen and Ross Tester’s fellow American, Andrew Pollard, to capitalize on the day. Each pulled out beautifully executed 360s, with Elisabeth launched off a popular cliff, and Andrew lofting one off the high windlip into a pinner of a chute and following it up by stomping a high speed take off straight to flat landing. The Sweeds crushed the mens podium as well, with Kristofer Trudell and Reine Barkered taking second and third respectively. This was a very difficult course, from features to conditions, but it certainly made us aware that these skiers will put the peddle to the medal no matter what.

Men’s Ski Podium

  1. Andrew Pollard (USA)
  2. Kistofer Trudell (SWE)
  3. Reine Barkered (SWE)

Women’s Ski Podium

  1. Elisabeth Gerritzen (SUI)
  2. Juliette Willmann (FRA)
  3. Tracy Chubb (USA)

Full Stop Two replay on the FWT can be found here.

Stop Three – Fieberbrunn

In Fieberbrunn, we saw the return of the first time phenom Ross Tester to the kings chair. Combining a freestyle mindset and tricks with a racers technique is clearly a winning method, as Ross has proven that while he lacks the experience on the Tour that some of his old competitors may have, he can absolutely hang with the big dogs. On the Women’s side, Fieberbrunn was proof that the talent in this pool is as deep as it gets. The rankings were shuffled up again as Zuzanna Witych ousted former winners Elisabeth Gerritzen and Wedvig Wessel for first place.

The Austrian weather gods were shinning down and supplying, giving a feast of fresh snow in the days before the competition. Tough skiing by all was rewarded in full, either in the form of podium finishes or wienerschnitzel and beer. Well, not officially, but it’s Austria, so that’s not a brazen assumption. The course was littered with dicey features, the canyon gap being one of the more treacherous. We saw several riders attempt the leap of faith, with some having more “Hot Rod” style than others. Stop Three was indeed chaos, so be sure to check out all the extended highlights.

Men’s Ski Podium

  1. Ross Tester (USA)
  2. Reine Barkered (SWE)
  3. Kristofer Trudel (SWE), Regnér Eriksson (SWE)

Women’s Ski Podium

  1. Zuzanna Witych (POL)
  2. Hedvig Wessel (NOR)
  3. Tracy Chubb (USA)

Full Stop Three replay on the FWT page can be found here.

Stop FourVerbier

As one of the most storied and rightfully legendary competitions in skiing, and the world of sports in general, the 25th edition of the Xtreme Verbier had some large shoes to fill. But with this crew, was there any chance of that coming up short? That would be a negative, ghost-rider. But while the crew had spent weeks, even months, planning their Verbier line, nature demanded a change of course. Much like in Fieberbrunn, heavy snows battered the Switzerland Apls in the preceding days. These storms came with a twist however, and whipped winds well over 100 km/h down through the crags of the Bec des Rosses. With the underlying hard crust that was previously buried now being exposed, the call was made the day before the competition to move the venue to le Petit Bec, located on the lookers right of the main face. It’s sheltered position allowed the fresh snow to hold much better and stay softer through the harsh conditions. While the length of the face is about 200 meters shorter than the OG, it is jam packed with technical features and lines; a true FWT rippers dream.

Sometimes the pressure will get to a competitors head, and who could blame them? With 15,000 points up for grabs compared to the usual 10,000, it’s easy to see how this would happen to some of these studs. But as we saw time and time again, these are NO MERE MORTALS! Verbier brought out the highest level of skiing we were able to witness through the entire tour, and that’s no exaggeration. Elizabeth Gerritzen edged out former three time consecutive champion Ariana Tricomi for the Verbier title, and squeezed by the running favorite Wedvig Wessel by only 20 POINTS to snag the tour championship. While both Navarro and Gorak put unbelievable lines to their feet, it was the tried and true Sweedish work horse, Kristofer Turdell, that pulled out the Verbier top spot and claimed his second FWT overall first place finish. This incredible conclusion was the perfect capstone to a mind melting tour, solidifying this years line up as some of the best to ever do it.

Women’s Ski Podium

  1. Elisabeth Gerritzen (SUI)
  2. Arianna Tricomi (ITA)
  3. Hedvig Wessel (NOR)

Men’s Ski Podium

  1. Kristofer Turdell (SWE)
  2. Wadeck Gorak (FRA)
  3. Aymar Navarro (SPA)

Full Stop Four replay on the FWT page can be found here.

Final FWT 21 Rankings

Rankings are determined by the points that the athlete has earned throughout the season, based on their run scores and finishes. The top 10 men and top 5 women all automatically qualify for next years Freeride World Tour. A full list of the final 2021 rankings and scores can be found here.

Men’s 2021 Final Standings

  1. Kristofer Turdel (SWE) – 31,720 pts.
  2. Ross Tester (USA) – 30,800 pts.
  3. Carl Regnér Eriksson (SWE) – 24,320 pts.

Women’s 2021 Final Standings

  1. Elisabeth Gerritzen (SUI) – 27,620 pts.
  2. Wedvig Wessel (NOR) – 27,600 pts.
  3. Zuzanna Witych (POL) – 22,800 pts.

2021 FWT Rookie’s of the Year

Ross Tester – Men’s Ski

Katie Anderson – Women’s Snowboard

While the tour is finito, there is still Qualifier and Junior competition action, so check out the Freeride World Tour home page for more information. If you’re still itchin’ for some crafty coverage to relive the action, Stop One, Two, Three, and Four all received individual coverage, so give em a look if you haven’t!

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