Freeride World Tour Grand Finale – World Champions to be Decided in Verbier This Week
Mountainwatch |Press Release
Verbier, Switzerland March 20, 2023: The final event of the FWT23 season is just days away, as athletes fine-tune their preparations for the most well-known freeride competition around the world: the YETI Xtreme Verbier. The venue, as always, is the iconic Bec des Rosses, where the Freeride World Tour was born, and still calls home.
This face offers brave athletes up to 600 vertical metres of intimidating terrain, with steeps exceeding 50 degrees in an intricate maze of technical features. It is the ultimate test for any freerider, and a fitting conclusion to an epic season.
The tide has recently filled in on the Bec, with snowfalls over the last week improving conditions to give riders the best canvas for one final showdown. The weather window will run from March 25 to April 2, providing ample opportunity for a safe event in the best conditions.
Athletes are buzzing after an exceptional competition in Austria. Final rankings – as well as the coveted FWT world title – will be determined by their top three results, allowing riders to drop their two worst finishes. Katie Anderson (CAN) has already secured victory in the snowboard women category, while the other disciplines remain tight.
In the snowboard men, Ludovic Guillot-Diat (FRA) holds a narrow lead over Jonathan Penfield (USA) – who is fresh off a win in Fieberbrunn – while Justine Dufour-Lapointe (CAN) in the ski women category is gunning to give Canada its second world champion of the season, but must hold off a field of talented skiers.
The ski men category is especially close. Valentin Rainer (AUT) is narrowly ahead of a pack of hungry athletes, with reigning world champion Maxime Chabloz (SUI) less than 1,500 points behind and late-season mover Andrew Pollard (USA) not far back.
Joining this insane line-up will be five wildcards who have all tasted varying levels of success on the Bec, and will surely give the regular roster a run for its money.
Firstly, former FWT world champion and 2021 Xtreme Verbier winner Victor De Le Rue (FRA) makes his long-awaited return. Injury has kept him from making use of his season wildcard this year, but he is back in form and ready to ride. Local Verbier rider Sybille Blanjean (SUI) is also back on the main stage and set to defend her Xtreme Verbier title, while Leo Slemett (FRA) from Chamonix returns to show the freeride world he is still one of the athletes to beat.
Reine Barkered (SWE), who is the longest-serving FWT athlete in history after 15 years on tour, will give it one last shot to add some more silverware to his cabinet. His big mountain style is well-suited to the Bec, and his brute strength and speed always make him a crowd favorite. Finally, Marion Haerty (FRA), one of the most successful riders in FWT history with a staggering four world titles, returns from injury, and will be eager to revisit the podium she knows so well.
Check out our wrap up of last year’s Extreme Verbier, which gives you a good taste of what we can expect this week.
The YETI Xtreme Verbier will be broadcast LIVE! Watch all the action as it happens exclusively at www.freerideworldtour.com, with incredible user-friendly replay options ensuring you don’t miss a beat. Until then, stay tuned to the FWT social media channels for updates and rider news, as the countdown to the season’s final event draws to a close.