Mountainwatch | News
Australian snowboarder Michaela Davis-Meehan will be competing in her rookie year on the Freeride World Tour in 2020 after a huge qualifying season last year when she won three events to finish number one on the World Qualifying Tour.
Michaela made the switch from slopestyle to big mountain a few years ago and her first full year on the World Qualifying Tour was in 2017 when she finished fourth overall. A knee injury forced her out of competition in 2018, but Michaela came back with a vengeance on last year’s tour, and with her fitness at 100% will be one to watch in her rookie year on the FWT.
The athletes on the FWT are some of the best big mountain riders in the world and this year’s tour has an incredible line up of athletes confirmed to compete in FWT20.
The tour kicks off in Hakuba, Japan from January 18-25 and the official athlete line-up was confirmed last week and will be made up of 49 of the world’s best in four categories – 11 Ski Women, 23 Ski Men, six SnowboardWomenand nine Snowboard Men. Each athlete will get the chance to claim the FWT title as they travel the globe for the five-stop tour and throw down their best runs on the world’s premier competitive freeride faces.
The question on everyone’s mind is if Ariana Tricomi (ITA) will be able to claim a historic third consecutive FWT title this year with more boundary pushing riding for women’s freeride. Two hungry rookies Jessica Hotter (NZL) and Emma Patterson (USA) will be going toe to toe with the veterans this year after successful FWQ campaigns last season. Wildcards, Juliette Willmann(FRA) and Evelina Nilsson (SWE) will be looking to cement their places on the FWT20 and land at the top of the category.
With reigning champ, Markus Eder (ITA) taking a step back from competitive skiing, the field has opened up for another competitor to step-up and claim the title. This will surely be on the minds of former FWT champs and legends confirmed to compete such as Kristofer Turdell (SWE), wildcard Reine Barkered (SWE), and Drew Tabke (USA). Newcomers to look out for this year will be Carl Renvall (SUI), Blake Marshall (NZL), Tao Kreibich (AUT), brothers Jack and Kevin Nichols (USA), and Isaac Freeland (USA). Yu Sasaki (JPN) will return to the FWT20 as a wildcard.
Marion Haerty (FRA) will once again find herself in the hot seat coming into the FWT20 feeling the pressure to win back to back titles, which if she can, would be her third overall. However, legends like Manuela Mandl (AUT) and Anna Orlova (RUS), as well as rookies Michaela Davis-Meehan (AUS) and Michelle Locke (CAN) will all be looking to beat her to the title.
Last year saw some of the most insane levels of riding ever, for this category, and the FWT20 is shaping up for more of the same. 2019 champ, Victor De Le Rue (FRA) will be gunning to continue his reign with Sammy Luebke (USA) surely looking to take the top of the podium back from him and claim a 4th FWT title. A hugely talented field of legends, newly qualified riders including Cody Bramwell (SWE), Blake Moller (USA), and wildcard Nils Mindnich (USA) will all be gunning for the top spot.