Freeride World Tour Verbier, Switzerland, Competition Canceled: Tour Winners Named by Default

Riley McDonald | | Industry NewsIndustry News
fwt 2023 final cancelled
Cancelation announcement, image: FIS Freeride World Tour Facebook

Weather and snow conditions have proved to be a formidable opponent to the Freeride World Tour this 2023 season. The season kicked off with a postponement due to unsafe conditions and ended in a similar fashion. 

The YETI Xtreme Verbier event was planned to kick off on Saturday, March 25th, at Bec Des Rosses, Switzerland. However, the venue experienced high levels of snowfall, creating dangerous avalanche conditions, causing the event to be postponed until Tuesday. Unfortunately, the heavy snowfall continued, coupled with winds up to 135 km/h.

xtreme verbier avy
Massive avalanche, image: FIS Freeride World Tour Facebook

With these treacherous conditions, mountain guides, along with the FWT founder and commissioner, assessed the situation from a helicopter on Tuesday morning. Disappointingly, the slide paths from the widespread avalanches created unskiable terrain for the athletes, leading the officials to cancel the event altogether. 

This is only the second time in FWT history that the YETI Xtreme Verbier event has been canceled. The first cancellation was due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, making this the first cancelation due to the forces of mother nature. 

fwt 2023 winners
FWT 2023 champions celebrating, image: FIS Freeride World Tour Facebook

FWT rules state that the leaders entering the canceled event are default winners. Meaning the 2023 Freeride World Tour champions have been named:

Valentin Rainer (AUT) | Ski Men

“Unbelievable to win the title. I was prepared for a competition today, but Mother Nature was kind of on my side, I would say. I would have still wished to do a run here at Verbier, but we will next year! It was a really good season; everything from the first stop onwards was awesome – a dream season for sure.”

Justine Dufour-Lapointe (CAN) | Ski Women

“I am speechless. Honestly, I did not realize this would happen today, but now I am world champion. I have been working so hard the last few months, but now I am feeling so proud of all the hard work and self-belief. To finish the season with this title means the world to me. This was my dream coming into freeride, but I never thought it would be possible this fast. I am so happy I made the switch to freeriding and the wonderful world of the FWT, and I am excited to what’s next – this is just the beginning.”     

Ludovic Guillot-Diat (FRA) | Snowboard Men

“It’s a strange day and sad for all the riders, but we are in the mountains so it’s like this sometimes. I am very happy to have the title and, with four podiums this season, I was looking forward to adding a fifth today!”

Katie Anderson (CAN) | Snowboard Women

“A little bit bittersweet today, I wish we could’ve gone ahead but the mountain had other plans. I am really proud of everyone who rode this year, and I am super happy and excited to win the title – last year I never thought I would be standing here.”

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