In 2007, a new big-mountain tour was born. Called the Freeride World Tour, it was more European based than the U.S.-focused Freeskiing World Tour (yes, the similar sounding names confuse us too). The Freeride tour is invite-only, featuring 40 of some of the best skiers and snowboarders competing all season for the title of Freeride World Tour champion. Last year, the ski winners were France's Aurélien Ducroz (for the men) and Norway's Ane Enderud (for the women).
The tour schedule for 2010, the third season of the event, was just announced: Sochi, Russia in January; Chamonix, France (a new tour stop) in late January; Squaw Valley, California in February; and Verbier, Switzerland, in March. And sponsors Nissan and Swatch signed on again.
“The level among the riders has increased constantly since the first edition of the tour,” says Ducroz. “It is no longer enough to be a great skier to take part of the tour. Physical and mental preparation, thorough inspection of the competition face, and top gear, are all important elements that has helped develop freeriding to a professional sport, becomming more and more known by the broad public.”
Look for a feature story on the Tour in Skiing's December issue.