FREERIDE WORLD TOUR BAQUEIRA BERET PREVIEW
The 2023 Freeride World Tour (FWT) is finally kicking off, as athletes and FWT staff prepare to return to the Spanish Pyrenees for one of the hottest events of the season.
With crucial points in the world title races, a spot in the line-up for the finals in Verbier, Switzerland, and qualification for 2021 FWT all on the line, the world’s top freeriders threw down their best at the fourth and second-to-last stop of the Freeride World Tour in Fieberbrunn, Austria, “Crunch Time.”
Sunny skies and deep powder were on full offer in the Austrian Tyrol, as Fieberbrunn’s steep and technical “Wildseeloder” venue hosted superb action at the second to last event of the season.
As tight world title races continue to play out in the other categories, Marion Haerty (FRA-1st Place) was crowned at the 2020 FWT Women’s Snowboard Champion for the third time in her career.
Here’s a look at what went down today in Fieberbrunn…
Nils Mindnich (USA-1st Place) came out of the gate in stylish form sticking a 360 at the top of the venue, followed by a huge and critical straight air off of one of the faces biggest features, then transferring to switch with a frontside 180, followed by another 180 into a smooth 360, then finished off with two more nicely floated airs to take the win. The local, Gigi Rüf, (AUT-2nd Place) smoothly landed a frontside 360 and perfectly stuck a 360 to double drop out of the lower couloir. Three-time world champion Sammy Luebke (USA-3rd Place) started things off by going deep off of the central top cliff and sticking it perfectly, which he followed by a smooth transfer straight into another big air.
“I didn’t believe it when I was down I saw my score, I’m so stoked! Two riders before I dropped were thinking about changing their lines, but I thought, dude get out of your head, just stick to your plan and see what happens.” –Nils Mindnich
Craig Murray (NZL-1st Place) guaranteed his place at the finals in Verbier and a spot on the 2021 FWT by starting things off with a perfectly floated big 360 at the top of the venue with loads of exposure below, followed directly with a big mountain line through the central cliff, then stuck a misty flip off of the left-side spine, followed by another extremely fast and fluid straight line air, then a nicely floated transfer, followed by another huge straight air into the lower powder. The rookie, Isaac Freeland (USA-2nd Place), grabbed his second podium in a row to land himself in the top overall position. His run included a smooth 360 at the top of the venue and two nicely floated straight airs in and out of the lower couloir. Hank Bilous (NZL-3rd Place) secured his first trip to the finals in Verbier with another mind-blowing run that included a fluid drop into the skier’s left couloir, then while outrunning his own slough, he stuck another straight air, then transitioned to a step-up 180 cleanly riding out switch.
Following today’s results, Isaac Freeland (USA-2nd Place) will head into Verbier sitting in first place overall, taking the yellow jersey from Kristofer Turdell (SWE-17th Place). Check out the full rankings of the riders who qualified for the finals at the Xtreme Verbier and the 2021 FWT.
“I’m super happy it worked out, can’t believe to be sitting on the hot seat. It’s been a tricky season for me but I ‘m super stoked to have trusted myself today, trust my skiing and put myself on the line. I think I’ve been a bit lucky on some places for sure but it feels really good, especially from last year.” –Craig Murray
Despite fighting a recent injury, Arianna Tricomi (ITA-1st Place) got herself back on the top podium spot with a perfectly stuck big straight air off of the central cliff, then a smooth 360 off of the skier’s left spine and a last big drop into the lower deep powder. Jackie Paaso (USA-2nd Place) charged her entire line with big mountain confidence to earn herself a place on the podium and in the finals in Verbier. Jacqueline Pollard (USA-3rd Place) had another strong performance going skier’s right in search of deep powder and finding it, executing a few big stomps on the way to earning herself a podium and spot at the finals in Verbier.
Following today’s results, Arianna Tricomi (ITA-1st Place) reclaimed the yellow leader jersey from Hedvig Wessel (NOR-NS) who isn’t far behind heading into Verbier. Check out the full rankings of the riders who qualified for the finals at the Xtreme Verbier and the 2021 FWT.
“About three weeks ago I ripped a few ligaments in my foot, the doctors said the season might be over but it didn’t feel like it. I decided to try, I’m a physiotherapist so I I knew what I should do to get fit again, it worked. Coming back with a win is just incredible!” –Arianna Tricomi
Marion Haerty (FRA-1st Place) earned her third career world title and event win of the 2020 FWT today with the kind of confident and fluid riding she has become well-known for. Her winning run in Fieberbrunn included airing into the steep and technical upper right couloir, followed by big slash turns while perfectly managing her slough, and a couple of nicely floated airs in the lower powder to take the win. Michaela Davis-Meehan (AUS-2nd Place) earned herself another podium and spot in Verbier by charging into the steep and technical upper left couloir followed by smooth and fluid riding down the rest of the face. Erika Vikander (USA-3rd Place) made the podium and Verbier by opening up on an untracked part of the face, followed by a clean middle straight line to air.
With Marion Haerty’s (FRA-1st Place) win today she becomes 2020 Freeride World Tour Women’s Snowboard Champion, but the other overall podium spots are still up for grabs. Check out the full rankings of the riders who qualified for the finals at the Xtreme Verbier and the 2021 FWT.
“The day was perfect to have fun and enjoy the snow. This is my kind of face, I really like the mix of big mountain and bowl. Just before coming here, I went in the mountain all day alone, riding and just having fun. This is why I’m here, for love of the mountains.” –Marion Haerty
Snowboard Men (Ordino Arcalís Staged in Fieberbrunn, Austria)
Nils Mindnich (USA-1st Place) put a stamp on a top notch day of competing, winning for the second time at the re-staging of the cancelled Ordino Arcalís event. His run included a huge frontside 360, followed by a massive backside 360, then a perfectly floated straight transfer air, and a huge air at the bottom to take the win. Cody Bramwell (SWE-2nd Place) had a nicely floated frontside 360 and dropped jaws gapping the lower couloir. Blake Hamm (USA-3rd Place) started things off with a smoothly floated 360 transfer, followed by a frontside 360, and then two cleanly stuck bottom airs.
Today’s results catapulted Nils Mindnich (USA-1st Place/1st Place) into the top of the overall rankings as he heads to Verbier wearing the yellow leader jersey, with a commanding 10,000 point lead over Victor de Le Rue (FRA-8th Place/5th Place). Check out the full rankings of the riders who qualified for the finals at the Xtreme Verbier and the 2021 FWT.
Check out the current tour rankings and relive all of today’s action at freeridewordtour.com, and be sure to follow the FWT’s social media channels (@freerideworldtour) for rider news and competition updates as the 2020 Freeride World Tour heads to Verbier for the Grand Finale!