Freeride World Tour 2014: Xtreme Verbier — teaser

Comments by Kelli Lynn Hargrove/

UPDATE: Due to safety concerns, the organizers of the SWATCH XTREME VERBIER BY THE NORTH FACE®, which was scheduled for March 22, 2014, have decided to postpone the competition to a later date next week.


FWT14 – Xtreme Verbier Teaser by FreerideWorldTourTV

Five of the highest ranked male snowboarders and the four top female snowboarders on the 2014 FWT overall rankings have qualified for the finals on the dauntingly steep and frighteningly jagged 500-metre rock faceof the Bec des Rosses in Verbier, Switzerland. As afar as chances go Shannan Yates’ two tour victories will win the women’s snowboarding category if she makes the top three, while Verbier local Estelle Balet (SUI) can only win the title if she wins and Yates does not reach the top three; for the men, the battle is tight between Valais local Emilien Badoux (SUI) in first, Sammy Luebke (USA) in second, and Jamie Rizzuto (CAN) in third.

2013 Men’s Snowboard FWT Champion and Xtreme winner Ralph Backstrom, three-time FWT champion and four-time Xtreme winner Xavier de le Rue, 2012 FWT champ and Xtreme winner Jonathan Charlet and five-time Xtreme Verbier winner Steve Klassen will come in as wild cards to try and swoop the title.

For more info on what will go down at Verbier, read on:

SALT LAKE CITY, UT, USA – MARCH 17, 2014 - Following a challenging season due to difficult snow and weather conditions all over the northern hemisphere, the SWATCH FREERIDE WORLD TOUR BY THE NORTH FACE® (FWT) now heads to Verbier, Switzerland, for the Grande Finale at the SWATCH XTREME VERBIER BY THE NORTH FACE® March 22, 2014. On the prolific north face of the Bec des Rosses, riders will push their boundaries in the battle for the 2014 world titles. With some new names at this level of competition, the show promises to be very exciting to watch. Fans around the world will be able to watch the action live on www.freerideworldtour.com. The event webcast is scheduled to begin at 9:00 AM CET on the day of competition.

“We are at the end of a tough season in terms of snow conditions. Some of the “big names” have not qualified for Verbier, but riders from the FWQ who competed on the FWT this season for the first time will be there, so we are very happy and enthusiastic to go back to Switzerland for the finals of the tour and the 19th anniversary of the Xtreme Verbier,” said Nicolas Hale-Woods, FWT General Manager Europe.

Only the highest ranked 12 male skiers, five male snowboarders, five female skiers and four female snowboarders on the 2014 FWT overall rankings have qualified for the finals on the dauntingly steep and frighteningly jagged 500-metre rock faceof the Bec des Rosses. Tension is rising over who will take home the four Freeride World Champion titles. The titles will be awarded using the four best results of the 2014 FWT season, including Verbier, for male skiers and snowboarders, and the best three results, including Verbier, for female skiers and snowboarders.

In each of the four categories, there are still several riders who have the chance to become world champion. Contenders amongst the male skiers include overall leader Loïc Collomb-Patton (FRA), second-placed Sam Smoothy (NZL), third-ranked Jérémie Heitz (SUI), and fourth, Lars Chickering-Ayers (USA). For the male snowboarders, it’s a tight race between Valais local Emilien Badoux (SUI) in first, Sammy Luebke (USA) in second, and Jamie Rizzuto (CAN) in third. Reigning champion Nadine Wallner (AUT) leads the female skiers field only by a few points ahead of her compatriot Lorraine Huber (AUT). Matilda Rapaport (SWE) is in third place with a small chance to take the title if she wins, Wallner is not top three, and Huber is not first or second. With two victories in her bag, Shannan Yates (USA) will win the women’s snowboarding category if she makes the top three, while Verbier local Estelle Balet (SUI) can only win the title if she wins and Yates does not reach the top three.

Some exciting wild cards will add spice to the competition, including 2013 FWT Men’s Ski Champion Drew Tabke (USA) and 2013 Men’s Snowboard FWT Champion and Xtreme winner Ralph Backstrom (USA). Additionally, 2013 Xtreme winner Kevin Guri (FRA), two-time FWT champion and three-time Xtreme winner Aurélien Ducroz (FRA), and Samuel Anthamatten (SUI) in the men’s ski division. As well as three-time FWT champion and four-time Xtreme winner Xavier de le Rue (FRA), 2012 FWT champ and Xtreme winner Jonathan Charlet (FRA), and five-time Xtreme Verbier winner Steve Klassen (USA)in the men’s snowboarding. In the female ski category, 2012 FWT champion and Xtreme winner Christine Hargin (SWE) will get the chance to ski the “Bec”, while Anouck Mouthon (FRA) will additionally join the women’s snowboarders in the competition.