Snow is stacking up by the metre in the world’s powder mecca and the first stop of the 2020 Freeride World Tour (FWT) is just a few days away in Hakuba, Japan.

As the world’s best freeriders begin to arrive at Happo One Resort in the Hakuba Valley, the question on everyone’s mind is: who will earn a place on the podium and begin their world title campaign with crucial points from the first event of the season? The incredible terrain of the Japanese Alps is full of possibilities and there are three options for the competition face.

The line-up of riders is incredibly stacked including former FWT champions, insanely talented rookies, and recently confirmed tour wildcards including Tim Durtschi (USA) and Núria Castan (SPA) and the latest additional wildcard for the event: Elias Elhardt (GER).

Photo by Jeremy Berard / Freeride World Tour

Perfecting his craft in Kleinwalsertal, Austria, Elhardt has built a reputation for his creative and artistic approach to riding. A seasoned competitor, Elhardt has mastered almost all aspects of snowboarding—from big air to big mountain. In 2018, Elhardt competed at the FWT stops at Fieberbrunn, Austria and the Xtreme Verbier, where he walked away with an impressive second place finish in both events. With an event wildcard, Elhardt will be eligible to compete for the first time in Hakuba, Japan.

Photo by Jeremy Berard / Freeride World Tour

And in addition to the main elite event, the Freeride World Qualifier 3* Hakuba competition is also scheduled for January 13th - 16th. So get ready, because “The Winter Begins” and FWT20 is officially on in Hakuba, Japan!

Photo by Dom Daher / Freeride World Tour

For updates on the competition, rider news and the event live stream, visIt and the FWT’s social channels at @freerideworldtour.

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