Riders to Watch for the Freeride World Tour in Hakuba, Japan

Adrian Dolatschko | | Industry NewsIndustry News

In just a few days the 2019 Freeride World Tour (FWT) begins in Hakuba, Japan from January 19-26th. For those unfamiliar with the FWT, the FWT is a global big mountain competition that features the pinnacle of freeride skiing and boarding at venues all over the world. For 2019 the tour will begin in Japan.

Getting a spot on the competition roster of the FWT is very difficult. Over the years, the FWT has gained more and more prestige as one of the largest stages to showcase big-mountain skiing skills next to filming for big-name media. Therefore, spots on the FWT are filled by up-and-coming athletes who qualified as well as Wildcard spot invitations for other well-known riders.

2019 Freeride World Qualifier Hakuba Japan, Competitor Airing, Image: FWT

For the upcoming competition in Japan, the terrain will especially dictate the style of skiing. Throughout the tour, competitors are judged on the difficulty of their line, fluidity, control, jumps, and technique (more information at FWT-about-judging). Athletes have the freedom of a large competition face to decide on a line and determine how to ski it.

Generally, the skiing topography in Japan features deep snow and shorter runs among trees and shrubs on steep but rolling mountainsides with many playful features. As a result, the venue will most likely support more freestyle oriented skiers and unique lines over fall-line skiing that maximizes speed and the size of features.

This event will be especially unique since last years’ Japan stop of the FWT was staged in Golden, BC due to unfavorable conditions.

2017 FWT Competition Face Hakuba, Japan, Image: FWT

Riders to keep an eye on for Hakuba 2019:

Ski Men:  

  • Markus Eder (2018 FWT 2nd Place)
  • Tanner Hall (Wildcard)
  • Logan Pehota (Wildcard)
  • Yu Sasaki (2018 & 2019 Hakuba FWQ Winner)
  • Kristofer Turdell (2018 FWT Winner)

Ski Women: 

  • Arianna Tricomi (2018 FWT Winner)
  • Eva Walkner (2018 FWT 2nd Place)
  • Ayana Onozuka (2019 Hakuba FWQ Winner)

Snowboard Men: 

  • Travis Rice (Wildcard)
  • Thomas Feuerstein (2018 FWT 2nd Place)
  • Sammy Luebke (2018 FWT Winner)
  • Victor De Le Rue (Wildcard)

Snowboard Women:

  • Wakana Hama (2019 Hakuba FWQ Winner)

Unfortunately, regular competitors Ivan Malakhov as well as Sam “Ibex” Lee, Leo Slemmet and several others won’t be competing due to injuries. FWT19-athlete-update

The mentioned riders are all characteristically exciting to watch, especially in the upcoming setting of Hakuba, Japan. It will be interesting to see who takes the win and how the season will unfold!

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