As predicted at the tale end of the Stop Three, Fieberbrunn recap, (and by literally anyone, anywhere), the Xtreme Verbier GOT THE PEOPLE ON THEIR FEET!
Proceeding 100 km/h winds? Doesn’t matter. Venue changes? Never sweat it. Despite the challenges, the performances by the creme de la creme of freeriding in that little place called Verbier were… MENTAL. In the final leg of the 2021 Freeride World Tour, the well-traveled band of athletes stuffed up the bags and headed off for the face that some would call the Big Kahuna, the Mac Daddy, the Sultan of Swat, the infamous Bec des Rosses. It is no secret that Verbier, Switzerland, is home to some of the most renowned freeride and big mountain terrain in the world, and staring at the gargantuan competition venue, even through a screen, will send shivers down the spine of any ordinary man, women, child or gladiator around. But these riders are no ordinary people. They are some of the bravest and most passionate athletes in the sport of skiing, which is clearly emulated in their riding.
The progression seen in freeriding over the past decades has been nothing short of staggering. The clips shown towards the beginning of the live broadcast will really illustrate this in full. 20 years ago, riding the Bec on skis seemed like lunacy—and, on March 23rd, we watched 18 riders do a damn good job at attempting to make the ruthless face appear tame-able. And with young guns like 22-year-old FWT Rookie of the Year Ross Tester riding neck-at-neck with the world’s best, the pace seems exponential. But the future is NOW, and the madness in Switzerland that was produced is visual proof. If you watch only watch one stop of this years Freeride World Tour, make it Verbier. The MASSIVE airs, speed and composure of the riders that coasted through the finish gate is something you would have to see to believe.
If you’re looking to dissect each competitors line individually, as always the FWT page is here to help break down the live stream. We saw tumbles, we saw stomps, we saw nothing but passion out there. In the Women’s Ski field, the unlikely became reality after Elisabeth Gerritzen took home the win of the day with a beautifully controlled run, and secured the World Champion position by a mere 20 points after being in 5th place to start the day. Raw emotion poured out of the Swiss native when the news was announced, and it was a reminder of how much excitement this silly sport can bring. Unfortunately, Julliette Willmann took a wild spill after going for a gigantic air at mach 10. She made it down to the start gate however, and the word is that she’s doing well. The boys also game to play today, with rider after rider putting lines to their feet and coasting away. We saw a head spinning bio cork 7 from New Zealands Blake Marshall, and while there was some backslap, who could fault the guy for tapping his rear after a huck like that. Wadeck Gorak, Ross Tester, and uncle Drew Tabke all laced up preposterously minty backflips in their fluid lines. Not to be missed, both Aymar Navaro and Reine Barkered boosted to the moon and beyond, each lacing up the largest double stack that the face had to offer and nuking the turbo straight line out with speed that would make Lightning McQueen envious. While Navarro paved the way hitting it first, Barkered may have had the smoother line had it not been for a slight blunder on a lofty backflip off the “extra credit windlip”, as the kids call it. While all the above and more were extremely impressive, it was the young veteran Swede, who else but Kristofer Turdell that took the top seat of the day and the overall Tour with a dialed and creative line that showcased impeccable control, in the air and on the ground.
Women’s Ski Podium
- Elisabeth Gerritzen (SWE)
- Arianna Tricomi (ITA)
- Hedvig Wessel (NOR)
Men’s Ski Podium
- Kristofer Turdell (SWE)
- Wadeck Gorak (FRA)
- Aymar Navarro (SPA)
With the completion of Stop Four, the 2021 Freeride World Tour has officially come to a close. With everything these athletes and event staff had to manage, they went above and beyond in pulling off one hell of a competition. Click here for a full rundown of this year’s competition season.
Photography by Dom Daher & Jeremy Bernard
You know the drill. For a full look of all of the finale madness, check out the Freeride World Tour Xtreme Verbier page right here. Complete with a start to finish live broadcast, videos, photos and more. LONG LIVE THE TOUR!