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The ski and snowboard freeride competition scene simplified last Wednesday with the announcement that three big-mountain event series will combine to form the Swatch Freeride World Tour by The North Face.
That may be a mouthful, but consider the alphabet soup it streamlines. Previously, the Freeskiing World Tour operated in North and South America, hosting big-mountain skiing contests. Across the pond, the Swatch Freeride World Tour hosted independent competitions for skiers and snowboarders on European steeps. And The North Face Masters of Snowboarding put on a trio of snowboarder-only events. Speculation about a merger gained steam as the two skiing tours collaborated for events at Kirkwood in 2011, and at Revelstoke in 2012.
Adam Comey, president of Mountain Sports International, which manages the Freeskiing World tour, said in a statement: "Big mountain freeriding has a long and rich history with incredibly talented athletes around the world. Now, with dedicated organizations in Europe and North America coming together for one mission and one tour, the next chapter of freeride skiing and snowboarding is very bright."
The new FWT features six stops. Revelstoke and Kirkwood are slated to host North American comps; other stops include Chamonix-Mont Blanc in France, Austria's Fieberbrunn Pillerseetal, Verbier, Switzerland for the finals, and another venue to be determined. "The best event last year was the combined event at Revelstoke," says competitor Drew Tabke. "The merger of the tours means we'll have a legitimate representation of the world's best riders competing on a world-class venue."
For more information, visit freerideworldtour.com.