Freeride world tour final

Alright! We are back as we promised. After a poor showing earlier this season from the Freeride World Tour in Kicking Horse, we sat down to watch the most recent event, a finals stop in Fieberbrunn, Austria. By the announcing in the early part of the event, it looked like they had been battling weather leading up to the event, but a small dusting came in to save the day and the face. The snow at the top of the course looked okay, but the rest looked pretty awful for the majority of the time. Still 100% better than the last stop though. Right off the bat they announced this final as a two-run format, which is great when the conditions are good and dragging if the course doesn’t hold up. But without being overly negative, the course held up better than the last place and the riders performed as best they could for the contest without any practice runs on the steep face. Add in some pretty funny forerunner highlights of their testing riders crashing on the way down… all in a days stream for the FWT. 

The biggest take away from the Austrian stop is that we want to see Victor De Le Rue in good snow. He can’t be stopped in the subpar conditions he has to compete in on FWT, but it would be so much more enjoyable to see him in deep powder making beautiful turns after his impressive airs. Liam Riviera, Timm Schroeder, and Jonathan Penfield also had some enjoyable portions of their runs that would get any snowboarder stoked, but it just slightly harder to watch (and probably ride) with conditions on course. Holden Samuels seemed a bit underscored for his efforts, looking pretty smooth on the Wildseeloder face complete with some big mountain and smaller freestyle elements. Lacing a handful of threes, drops and backflips on the day to end up in the bottom position. It will be interesting to see how the final in Verbier shakes out with Victor already mathematically the Tour Champ for the year with a handful of impressive finishes. On the women’s side, there was no question on who took the day. Canadian Erin Sauve scored the highest with a 90.33 (about 20 points ahead of everyone else) and safely rode away with the number one spot with an impressive drop in her run as well. 

All in all, it was two for two on not the most exciting show. The sad part is better conditions would probably solve most of that issue. We don’t know what the payouts are so we don’t know if weather alone would bring in bigger talent, but it would be a big card in the back pocket. With Natural Selection also going down this week, it was nice to have such a quick possible comparison. FWT has definitely figured out the livestream capabilities, with no hiccups in that department (and less commercials/ad placements), but NST takes just about every other category. Besides the fact that FWT is actually a tour. NST only had one true live stop this year, so that would be two places FWT is kind of crushing. Talent level and snow conditions definitely tip the scales towards Natty Select which is why most of us tune in, and the venue for Natural Selection this year was another mind-blowing place to watch, but once again, they only had to find one so that is kind of a moot point. Both shows went on for a pretty long while, kind of an all day affair, but the biggest difference is we were sad when Natural Selection was over and relieved when the final drop was called in Fieberbrunn. The combination of skiers running on the same day in FWT makes it tough on us to watch, but the lack of an actual feed also made it tough on us to watch with the other crew. We are guessing both organizations would hate to hear this, but they could probably learn a lot from each other still. Where one lacks, the other excels and vice versa… or Natural Selection can turn back into an actual tour, broadcast the stops live, and solve all of our problems!