Mountainwatch | News
While there is still much uncertainty about the northern hemisphere winter, resort operating procedures, border restrictions and travel, the FWT has bitten the bullet and announced the dates and locations for the 2021 championship tour.
The five-stop tour has the same venues as last year with events in Japan, Canada and Europe, the first stop in Hakuba in late January. The FWT has also announced a few changes to the world championship format, including world champion being decided by the best three results from the five events.
Michaela Davis-Meehan is the only Australian on the tour and is keen to go one better than last year when she finished second behind world champ Marion hearty in the snowboard rankings – not bad in her rookie year.
Michaela has spent the winter in lock down on the Mornington Peninsula and while she hasn’t been snowboarding, she’s been painting her fitness regime and feeling good.
“I can’t wait and I’m psyched now that they’ve announced the dates, ” Michaela told Mountainwatch. “It has been hard not snowboarding this winter, but I’ve been training hard and am feeling good.
“The last time I had this much time off snow was when I had my knee injury and was off snow for a year. I was hungry after that and came back and won the qualifying tour. Hopefully I can do the same this time and win the world title.”
Below is the 2021 Tour calendar and the FWT’s rundown of each event:
Hakuba, Japan, 23-30 | January
Hakuba marks the real start of winter as the Freeride World Tour makes its first stop in Japan. The deep conditions and exciting terrain will give the riders the best possible start to the competition season.
Kicking Horse, Golden, BC, Canada | 8-13 February
Next up, it’s time to get rowdy at Kicking Horse Golden BC, Canada. The playful terrain packed full of natural features is ideal for riders looking to get creative by including freestyle elements in their lines!
Ordino Arcalís, Andorra | 22-27 February
The third stop on the FWT21 will be Ordino Arcalis, Andorra. The new competition format means that this will be crunch time for the athletes to put down runs that will earn them a place at the final two stops. The unpredictable and sometimes, tricky conditions means that the riders will have to be able to adapt quickly to be able to hold the line to advance to the new finals format!
Fieberbrunn, Austria | 6-12 March
Another first for the Tour will be seeing all athletes get two runs down at Fieberbrunn with their best score counting towards their points total. AND the points for the final two events will be worth 1.5, e.g winner will receive 15,000 points rather than 10,000 points. The Tour will hit Fieberbrunn, Austria. Who will be committed enough to conquer the Austrian Alps and go onto the all-important showdown at the Xtreme Verbier?
Xtreme Verbier, Switzerland | 20-28 March
The illustrious and Grand Finale that is the Xtreme Verbier, Switzerland where the FWT champion will be crowned for their top 3 results out of five from the whole Tour. With it all to play for at the final event, who will conquer the incredibly steep Bec des Rosses and be crowned the 2021 FWT Champion?
New Championship Format
In addition, to make the competition more exciting for both athletes and viewers alike, the FWT has revamped the championship format. These exciting changes will ensure the world’s top freeriders get the best opportunity to compete for the world title and continue to push the progression of the sport into new realms. This year will see four pivotal changes:
1. Athlete qualification will occur at the third stop (instead of the fourth), making the Ordino Arcalís Andorra ‘crunch time’ for the athletes. The same numbers still go through as 2020 (best 2 results out of 3 events counts): 13 ski men, 6 ski women, 6 snowboard men, 4 snowboard women – totaling 29 riders.
2. Two runs in Austria. After a successful test last year with snowboard men, riders this year will get two runs in Fieberbrunn and keep their single best score.
3. The FWT Finals in Fieberbrunn and Verbier will be rolled out after the cut, where for the last two events, the points will be weighted 1.5. This means the winner will take 15,000 points, compared to 10,000 for the first three stops.
4. World Champions will now be crowned for their best three results out of five.
As health and safety is always the priority for FWT organisers, they are actively working in conjunction with local authorities to make sure each competition is compliant with current regulations.
Competition broadcasts will be available on www.freerideworldtour.com. Until then, stay tuned and follow the FWT social media channels for all the latest news as the countdown to winter begins.