Following the release of the 2024 FWT SCHEDULE—which features a new tour stop in Georgia— last month, the Freeride World has now released its riders roster for the new season. In the mix on the skiing side of things are a total of 26 competitors, with 18 men and 8 women from 9 different countries.
The 2024 roster is conspicuously missing a few big names. We already knew that FWT legends like Aymar Navarro and "the mayor of Stomptown" Reine Barkered had bowed out of the show after last season. On the women's side, former FWT champions Jess Hotter (2022) and Elisabeth Gerritzen (2021) are also noticeably absent.
The roster is also smaller than in previous years. Last year's starting lineup featured 23 men and 10 women, meaning that 7 fewer riders will go flying out of the start gate in 2024. While that's bound to keep the contests running at a quicker pace, it's lamentable that we won't see quite the same range and diversity of runs.
Nevertheless, we've still got a stacked crew of hot riders to keep us entertained as they vie for the venerated title of Freeride World Tour champion. Here's the rundown.
With the retirement of Barkered and Navarro and former champ Kristofer Turdell also apparently out of the game, the "old heads" of the men's field are now Carl Regnér Eriksson and Andrew Pollard. Meanwhile, the new generation of "FWT kids" has officially arrived. Last year's surprise rookie champion Valentin Rainer is back to defend his title against the likes of 2022 tour winner Maxime Chabloz and the very hungry Max Palm.
I won´t lie: We at Downdays are unabashed Finn Bilous fanboys. Show us more of that smooth switch skiing and knock the socks off the judges, Finn! Photo: FWT/Bernard
Freestyler in residence Finn Bilous is back again too, hopefully to blow our minds with more big-mountain switch skiing, and he's backed by a strong New Zealand posse with Blake Marshall and Ben Richards joining the show.
We're also excited to see what the numerous Tour rookies including Martin Bender, Colton Shaff, Jackson Bathgate, Kendall Goodman, Tenra Katsuno and Wei Tien Ho will bring to the table.
The 2024 women's ski field is exceptional for its newness. Among the eight women who will drop in, only one—Switzerland's Sybille Blanjean—has more than a year of experience on the Tour. That means anything can happen as three rookies—Astrid Cheylus, Lydia Nelsen and Taylor Dobyns—throw their hats into the ring to try to upset the current champ, Justine Dufour-Lapointe. The three women ranked behind her—Molly Armanino, Megane Betend and Addison Rafford—will also be looking to take their shots at the yellow leader's jersey.
The 2024 Freeride World Tour kicks off from 27 January till 1 February in Baquiera Beret, Spain. Stay up to date on all FWT business at freerideworldtour.com.