These 2019 Freeride World Tour Athletes Are Worth Watching

Tanner Blake | | Industry NewsIndustry News
Skiers line up before dropping into the Freeride World Qualifiers
The 2019 Freeride World Tour kicks off in January, and with the stacked athlete lineup it looks like it’s going to be a good one – PC: Kicking Horse Mountain Resort

As snow begins to fall in the northern hemisphere, the 48 best freeride skiers and snowboarders will be getting ready for the 2019 Freeride World Tour. They will travel to five locations across the world to ski and ride some of the most extreme terrain. Points will be awarded for line selection, control, fluidity, technique, and jumps. Whoever skies the toughest line in the most dialed way wins.

Let’s take a look at who’s competing this year.

Skier hucks a backflip at the freeride world qualifiers at kicking horse
Skiers around the world competed in the qualifiers for a spot in the world tour. Only 48 made the cut – PC: Kicking Horse Mountain Resort

Female Skiers:

  • Arianna Tricomi (ITA) – Placed first last year
  • Eva Walkner (AUT)
  • Hazel Birnbaum (USA)
  • Elisabeth Gerritzen (SUI)
  • Rachel Croft (USA)
  • Jackie Paaso (USA)
  • Maude Besse (SUI) – Wildcard
  • Hedvig Wessel (NOR) – Wildcard
  • Jaqueline Pollard (USA) – Rookie
  • Juliette Willmann (FRA) – Rookie

Male Skiers:

  • Kristofer Turdell (SWE) – Placed first last year
  • Markus Eder (ITA)
  • Mikael Bimboes (FRA)
  • Yann Rausis (SUI)
  • Berkeley Patterson (USA)
  • Léo Slemett (FRA)
  • Ivan Malakhov (RUS)
  • Craig Murray (NZL)
  • Reine Barkered (SWE)
  • Grifen Moller (USA)
  • Sam LEE (NZL)
  • Carl Regner Eriksson (SWE)
  • Drew Tabke (USA) – Wildcard
  • Aymar Navarro (SPA) – Wildcard
  • Fabio Studer (AUT) – Wildcard
  • Tanner Hall (USA) – Wildcard
  • Liam Peiffer (CAN) – Rookie
  • Hank Bilous (NZL) – Rookie
  • Konstantin Ottner (GER) – Rookie
  • Wadeck Gorak (FRA) – Rookie
  • Andrew Pollard (USA) – Rookie
  • Tom Peiffer (CAN) – Rookie
Sammy Luebke hucks it off some rocks
Sammy Luebke has secured first place in the last three Freeride World Tours – PC: Onboard

Female Snowboarders:

  • Manuela Mandl (AUT) – Placed first last year
  • Marion Haerty (FRA)
  • Anna Orlova (RUS)
  • Erika Vikander (USA)
  • Wakana Hama (JAP) – Wildcard
  • Nicole Kelly (CAN) – Rookie
  • Maria Kuzma (NZL) – Rookie

Male Snowboarders:

  • Sammy Luebke (USA) – Placed first in 2016, 2017, and 2018
  • Thomas Fuerstein (AUT)
  • Davey Baird (USA)
  • Gigi Ruf (AUT)
  • Blake Hamm (USA)
  • Jonathan Penfield (USA)
  • Victore De Le Rue (FRA) – Wildcard
  • Ludovic Guillot-Diat (FRA) – Rookie
  • Christopher Galvin (USA) – Rookie

Here’s what we can look forward to this year:

Tanner Hall and Victor De Le Rue are going to be competing this year - get stoked
Tanner Hall and Victor De Le Rue are coming to the Freeride World Tour this year as wildcards – PC: Freeskier and Victor De Le Rue Facebook

Big names. Tanner Hall and Victor De Le Rue are being introduced to the Freeride World Tour as wild cards. Both of them are iconic figures in their respective disciplines, and it will be interesting to see how they do in the freeride competition environment. Tanner Hall has been training seriously this last year, unlocking new tricks at Mammoth Mountain’s private park last spring. Meanwhile, Victor has been shredding as hard as ever, dropping a new edit with Vans and with a full film on the way.

Close competition. With big names and talented rookies in each division, all of the athletes are going to have to step up their game, but the women skiers in particular will be especially close. Arianna Tricomi is going to be defending her title against skiers like Jackie Paaso and Hedvig Wessel. Jackie Paaso has a really strong freeride competition history and has given others a run for their money in past Freeride World Tours. In 2016 she won first place at Verbier Extreme only to be setback by a knee injury a year later (see video above). With more than a year to recover she should be back to skiing near or at her best. On the other hand, Olympic mogul skier Hedvig Wessel, who is new to the freeride competition, is coming in strong after pulling off first place at the Scandanavian Big Mountian Championships. While she is fresh to the scene, there’s a chance that she’ll have the skills to steal a spot on the podium.

Kicking horse has some gnarly terrain - and these athletes are going to hit it
FWT19 will return to to Kicking Horse Mountain – PC: Kicking Horse Mountain Resort

The same awesome venues as last year. The tour kicks off on January 19 in Hakuba, Japan. From there it moves to Kicking Horse Golden BC, Canada in early February, then Fieberbrunn, Austria later that month. On March 2nd the tour goes to Vallnord-Arcalís, Andorra, before finishing off at Verbier, Switzerland.


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3 thoughts on “These 2019 Freeride World Tour Athletes Are Worth Watching

    1. Not this year. Riders have to be at least 18 years old to compete in the qualifiers. His profile on the FWT website says he’s 18 now, so he’ll have a shot to qualify for the 2019 series next year.

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