Swatch FWT by The North Face sees huge boost for 2013/14 season
Press release from The FWT:
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH, November 13, 2013 – The SWATCH FREERIDE WORLD TOUR BY THE NORTH FACE® (FWT) continues to expand its global reach, and nowhere is the growth of sport more obvious than through the Freeride World Qualifier events (FWQ) and the Junior Freeride Tour (JFT). Following a successful 2013 season, both tours boast comprehensive circuits in two regions in 2014, Americas and Europe. Nearly 50 FWQ events worldwide, give riders from dozens of countries more opportunities than ever before to compete for a coveted spot on the FWT.
To arrive at the top level of the sport-the SWATCH FREERIDE WORLD TOUR BY THE NORTH FACE®-riders must first make it through the fiercely competitive Freeride World Qualifier. Only the top three ski men, two ski women, two snowboard men, and one snowboard woman from each region (Europe/Oceania and Americas) at the end of the 2014 season will be awarded spots on the 2015 FWT.
The FWQ accommodates an incredible number of athletes by offering an expansive competitive system with nearly 50 events across the Europe and Americas regions. The FWT is the top rank of the system’s pyramid with the only five-star events. FWQ events are ranked from four-stars down to one-stars-the higher the ranking, the more points the event awards. To better understand this system, dedicated fans of Freeride can check out the full FWQ and FWT rulebook.
One of the women advancing from FWQ to FWT 2014 is skier Hadley Hammer (USA). “Competing on the FWQ provides an incredible platform in which you can test your own limits. And although the women are all fighting to be one of the two who advance to the Freeride World Tour, there is a genuine support amongst all the athletes,” Hammer explained. “To have hard work materialize into an opportunity like competing on the FWT is an unbeatable feeling. I’m looking forward to meeting all the athletes that I’ve idolized, and to skiing on the famed venues both in Europe and in North America. With the merging of the tours and the recent mushrooming of the backcountry market, the progression of Freeride seems unstoppable.”
Other exciting FWQ developments include twice as many competitions for snowboarders in the Americas region, giving those riders more chances to amass points at events close to home. In Europe-region news, following the successful (and continuing) Austrian Freeride Series, which crowned the first ever Austrian Freeride champion in 2013, Switzerland and France will also offer a consolidated national tour and resulting national Freeride champions for 2014.
“Coming off a great start to the season with all time conditions in Chile this past August, the stage is set to be even more dramatic and competitive this year,” said FWQ Americas Region Director Bryan Barlow. “The riders in the FWQs are getting more talented and well rounded each year and are sure to keep shaking things up when they join the FWT.”
Registration for Region 1 (Europe) events will be open December, 2 Registration for Region 2 (Americas) events will be open November, 26.
This is where it all starts – the Juniors! It is on this tour that tomorrow’s champions cut their teeth, mastering the foundations of Freeride before stepping up to the more competitive FWQ and FWT levels. The level of riding at the JFT events is consistently impressive, with junior riders throwing down runs that leave even the most progressive FWT riders in awe.
Like the FWQ series, the JFT contests are divided in two regions. The Europe region plays host to nine junior events with the Junior Freeride Tour Europe by Dakine. Additionally, the Americas region JFT will hold four events. Athletes age 14 to 17 may compete on the JFT in Europe and ages 12 to 18 in the Americas region. Each region will maintain its own Junior rankings and crown respective Tour champions, one per region. Junior contests share the same point system with one-, two-, or three-star FWQ events. This means 17-year old JFT competitors making the jump to the FWQ when they turn 18 will have already gained points towards their global ranking and will therefore be listed in the seeding list and be eligible to enter FWQ events the next season. Top junior riders from each region will advance to the Junior Freeride World Championships by The North Face® at Big Sky Resort, USA April 2-6, 2014.
“We are very excited about including more ages in the Americas’ JFT this year,” said JFT Americas Event DirectorJeff Berman. “We had great success last year introducing snowboarding to our series and are excited with the growth that has taken place. Additionally, we look forward to the second Junior Freeride World Championships at Big Sky Resort in April.”
Registration for the JFT events in Europe opens on December, 2.
Registration for the JFT events in North America will open on November, 14.