The Freeride World Tour (FWT) has released their schedule for the 2021 competition season. Following 2020’s abbreviated season, which saw the tour finale in Verbier cancelled, the announcement not only confirms that the FWT will take place this year (in accordance with local rules and regulations regarding Covid), but that it will also feature some spicy new twists.
If you’re familiar with the FWT, the schedule should look pretty familiar. The tour kicks off in Hakuba, Japan, before moving to British Columbia, Canada. At the end of February, the athletes land in Europe with a stop in Ordino Arcalis, Andorra, then head to Fieberbrunn, Austria before finals in Verbier, Switzerland. However, a few tweaks have been added to shake up the competition.
This year’s tour will run a bit differently than years past. First, the athlete “cutoff” will occur after the third stop in the tour in Ordino-Arcalis, as opposed to after the fourth stop (usually held in Fieberbrunn). The best two out of three events will be considered before the cutoff, allowing 13 ski men and 6 ski women to continue on to Austria.
Second, athletes will get not one, but two runs in Fieberbrunn, keeping their single best score from the day. Third, the last two events (Fieberbrunn and Verbier) will be weighted 1.5 times as much as the prior three events. The winner of the first stop in Hakuba, for example, will take home 10,000 points towards the overall victory, but the winner in Fieberbrunn will earn 15,000 points. And last but not least, the overall champion will be determined by their best three out of five results from the season—not by all of them.
The new formula adds some interesting considerations to the tour. For athletes, the option to discard bad runs takes some competitive pressure off, reducing the need to “play it safe.” Next, the weighted points system puts greater emphasis on the final two events of the season. The move makes sense: late-season snowpacks are generally deeper, allowing athletes to try bigger stunts. It also opens the door for exciting comebacks and upsets, incentivizing athletes to stick around until the bitter end for a shot at the title. In past years, the tour winner has sometimes been decided before the athletes ever made it to Verbier. This change ensures the tour won’t be over until the very last run down the Bec des Rosses.
It’s only October now, but we’re already counting down the days until the great white circus kicks off in the powder of Hakuba. For more details on the schedule and new format, check out the FWT’s post here.
2021 Freeride World Tour Dates
January 23-30, 2011 – Hakuba, Japan
February 8-13, 2021 – Kicking Horse, Canada
February 22-27, 2021 – Ordino-Arcalis, Andorra
March 6-12, 2021 – Fieberbrunn, Austria
March 20-23, 2021 – Xtreme Verbier, Switzerland
Stay up-to-date on all the FWT happenings at freerideworldtour.com.