In a place where the snow falls so hard and often that visibility even once every 10 days is not a given, a top-shelf lineup of the world’s finest freeriders were treated to epic conditions at the first stop of the 2019 Freeride World Tour (FWT) in Hakuba, the heart of the Japanese Alps.

Markus Eder. Photo by Jeremy Bernard / Freeride World Tour

After being forced to re-stage last year’s event in Kicking Horse due to too much snow, Japan FWT competition lived up to the global hype for Japow. The skies opened up to treat riders with stunning views of the terrain they’ve been itching to shred. Here’s a look at what went down…

Tanner Hall. Photo by Dom Daher / Freeride World Tour

The man, the myth, the legend Travis Rice (USA - 1st Place) defended his win in Men’s Snowboarding from years past with a line above all others featuring an enormous 720 spin to a technical finish. Gigi Rüf (AUT - 2nd Place) maintained legend status with a run featuring gigantic no grab airs into a stomped 360. Davey Baird (USA - 3rd Place) launched a huge and stylish method into a 360 spin that merited his spot on the podium.

"I’m psyched. This style of riding and this style of contest, it’s a mind game really when it comes to it,” said Rice. “I think at the end of the day what I was hoping trying to do was more or less the run I ended up landing. It’s such a stunning place here looking up to the valley, these mountains are truly majestic and unique you don’t see mountains like this anywhere in the world. So to be here with this backdrop and so many talented and incredible people from all over the world, it just feels so good to be part of it.”

Gigi Rüf (2nd), Travis Rice (1st), Davey Baird (3rd). Photo by Dom Daher / Freeride World Tour

Arianna Tricomi (ITA - 1st Place) once again stood on top of the Women’s Ski podium with a progressive run starting off with a 360 and followed by technical mastery. FWT newcomer Maude Besse (SUI - 2nd Place) charged into a zone no one else had touched, stomping a technical line in the steepest part of the venue. Elisabeth Gerritzen (SUI - 3rd Place) continued her rise through the ranks on the Tour with a big entry air followed to a second solid stomp.

"I entered this competition with a really good feeling, I was looking forward to ski this face because it’s crazy playful and it was really nice and stompy! “ said Tricomi. “I really enjoyed myself skiing down and feels so good to finally have an event here in Japan. Looking forward to the next one already! "

Maude Besse (2nd), Arianna Tricomi (1st), Elisabeth Gerritzen (3rd). Photo by Dom Daher / Freeride World Tour

in the Men’s Ski division, Markus Eder (ITA - First 1st place) stomped the opening event’s most impeccable run with a stylish flat spin 360 and a transfer air with his patented multidisciplinary style. Freeskiing founding father Tanner Hall (USA - 2nd Place) racked up his first-ever FWT podium in a run marked by backflips and multiple airs. Tom Peiffer (CAN - 3rd Place) pleased the crowd with a massive 360 air and solid riding.

"Thank you Japan, thank you Freeride World Tour! After last year’s struggle we finally had a good start in Japan with perfect snow and crazy stacked field of riders. I’m super stoked! " said Eder.

Tanner Hall (2nd), Markus Eder (1st), Tom Peiffer (3rd). Photo by Dom Daher / Freeride World Tour

Anna Orlova (RUS - 1st Place) earned her first place position in Women’s Snowboard with a run that navigated technical features and stomped airs with confidence. Manuela Mandl (AUT - 2nd Place) rode a beautiful and steep line with excellent snow and clean style. The 2017 FWT Champion Marion Haerty (FRA - 3rd Place) opened the venue with heat and stayed on her feet to earn third place. “I feel super good about my first win on the Freeride World Tour… so I definitely want to continue on this path this season! " said Orlova.

Relive all of the action at, and be sure to follow FWT’s social media channels (@freerideworldtour) for rider news and competition updates as stop number two of the 2019 Freeride World Tour in Kicking Horse, B.C. quickly approaches.

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