Introducing the Freeride World Tour
So it wasn’t long ago that the eagerly anticipated Freeride World Tour Calendar dropped. Suspicions were confirmed as the tour hits many of the same jaw dropping destinations as last year, and we’re totally ready for the show down.
The first stop is at a relatively new addition to the calendar – Vallnord Arcalis, Andorra. Famous already since 1998 for organizing extraordinary freeride events, the Vallnord Arcalis is originally known for the ‘El Dorado Freeride’ – a popular stop on the Freeride World Qualifier. For the first time, the organizers will welcome the athletes of the Freeride World Tour in 2015. This new stage in the Pyrénees Mountains will offer surprises with its terrain open to all riding styles and with its changing snow conditions. And with wifi available throughout the valley, in town and on the slopes; this means you can post your snow selfies from your GoPro or your phone directly onto social media – what more could you ask for?
The riders will then be making their way to Chamonix to hit the next stop with less than a day to spare. Unlike Vallnord Arcalis, Chamonix needs little introduction. Where terrain of the Swiss, French and Italian boarders meet; and nestled at the foot of Monte Blanc, Chamonix has firmly cemented its reputation as a world class freeride destination. Riders are known to go all out in Chamonix, and this is where we were blown away by GBR’s very own Sasha Hamm and his impressive cliff drops, and where Julian Lopez wowed us with his double back flip last season. It’s also home to freeride champions like Aurélien Ducroz and Jonathan «Doud’s» Chan who have both won the Freeride World Tour. This top on the tour will be breath-taking, and certainly a date to look forward to.
The riders deserve a little break until they head to Fieberbrunn, Austria. If I was on the Tour instead of the Qualifier Series instead of the qualifier series (I’m working on it) then I would have newfound nerves going into the third stop. This is the opportune moment to show the world what you’ve got. The world champion title looming in the not so far distance, riders have to pull out all the stops in order to make it through. When they say “go big or go home”, this is the situation they are referring to. This is also the stop where my girl crush on Estelle Balet presented itself. Estelle has proved you don’t need year-upon-year of freeriding experience to compete, just 100% mountain passion.
The Freeride world tour then takes us to the magical and much anticipated Haines, Alaska stop. It is in this mysterious setting, eagerly awaited by all riders – supervised by the bald eagle, that the last qualifying stage before the great final in Verbier will take place. Everyone knows Alaska is the ‘final frontier’ for freeriding, and you can guarantee this stage of the tour will always impress. Last year it was pretty tough for the riders to even keep their feet on the ground. The run was so steep that with enough speed you could literally fly down the face. This is the back yard for some of the world’s best riders and a place to call home for anyone who takes backcountry seriously.
Last but not least is the infamous Verbier Xtreme. The older, wiser and scarier sister of Verbier Freeride week for us Qualifier riders – the resort I won my 1st place position in 2015.
Verbier is not for the faint hearted. If I say the words “Bec Des Rosses” to you, I’m sure it doesn’t strike fear to your very core. But for myself and a lot of the other riders, it does just that. This face is as complex as it is exciting, a field of rocks, drops and general madness, this is always the most exhilarating stop on the tour. We have seen some incredible stuff in Verbier from the riders in past years, and this is where the World Champions are crowned. So stay tuned and join the excitement.
Head to www.freerideworldtour.com for more information. You can subscribe to their Channel on YouTube to watch highlights from each of last year’s stops and be blown away by how talented these riders really are.
The countdown has begun, in 150 days it will be upon us.
Words by Angelica Sykes – Competitive Freeride Athlete.
Angelica’s Freeride World Qualifier Bio: http://freerideworldqualifier.com/riders/angelica-sykes-0
On Twitter: https://twitter.com/angelicasykesuk