In Japan, the Freeride World Tour had a tremendous start to the 2019 season in Midwest primetime on a Friday night featuring some unbelievably good conditions and some great performances.
Lucky for freeride fans, the tour is back in North America at Kicking Horse, B.C., where it hosted both the B.C. stop and the Japan stop last year due to a cancellation in Japan.
Feb. 2 is when the weather window opens for this year’s Kicking Horse stop and it could be as exciting as stop one. The downside for viewers is it will most likely be in the morning because there is less of a time difference.
Where we’re at
At the Hakuba stop, Italian and frontrunner Markus Eder took home first place and Tanner Hall took second after entering this season as a wild card. Hall’s run was fantastic and served as a perfect debut for him in the event.
Other notable finishes included the American Drew Tabke in 8th and Austrian Fabio Studer in a lowly 18th. (Full Rankings)
Aside: While he didn’t have the strongest finish, Aymar Navarro (left) has made quite an impression on me in events like these. He is a fun skier to watch. You’ll enjoy this playful style.
On the women’s ski side, Italian Arianni Tricomi sits in first place. In snowboarding, Austrian Gigi Ruf won the men’s competition and Slovakian Anna Orlova wears the women’s crown.
What’s to come
Between Feb. 2 and 8, skiers and riders will participate in the showcase event in a mecca of North American skiing that is interior B.C.
Travis Rice’s wildcard bid in Japan highlighted the event (besides Hall’s, which is a full-year wildcard). This time, however, Canadian Logan Pehota is the headlining wild card.
After this competition, the riders will have had two opportunities to earn points, giving fans a clearer picture of the standings going forward.
From this fan’s perspective, the current standings are a pretty good indicator of how things will shake out. Eder is the cream of the crop and will be hard to beat in any competition barring injury or an unlucky fall.
Also, Hall’s debut was exciting because of his name, but he also appears to be skiing at a very high level. His creativity will be put to really good use in these competitions. I could see him finishing the season in the top three.
There are three competitions remaining in the FWT season. The tour will head next to Fieberbrunn, Austria at the end of February. In early March, they stop at Ordino Arcalis, Andorra before the season-ender in Verbier for the famous Verbier Xtreme later that month.