Lausanne, Switzerland and Denver, Colorado (USA) – October 2, 2014 - Leading up to the 2015 season, there has been a great development in the structure of the sport to answer a big demand of freeriders worldwide. Riders from each side of the Atlantic can now gain points for ranking in the Freeride World Qualifier (FWQ), Freeride Junior Tour (FJT), and the International Freeskiers and Snowboarders Association (IFSA) thanks to a historic agreement between the Freeride World Tour (FWT) and the IFSA.
With more than 60 IFSA junior and adult events joining the FJT and FWQ calendars, this new agreement delivers a worldwide competition system for the athletes as well as a great product for fans and partners.
In order to propose the best possible product to riders worldwide, the FWT and IFSA are working to unify freeride competitions and to improve the worldwide structure of the sport. General Manager of the FWT, Nicolas Hale-Woods (SUI), is very happy about the cooperation with the IFSA: “IFSA together with event organizers have done a fantastic job in North America with over 50 junior events running. Partnering with IFSA means a lot to the Freeride World Tour, as this is the base and future of our sport.”
This development matches the IFSA mission perfectly, says Josh Mattson (USA), IFSA Head Judge: “Joining forces with the FWT falls directly in line with our mission at the IFSA, which in part is to pursue every opportunity that enables athletes to compete, learn, train, have fun, and achieve their freeriding goals. This new relationship expands the opportunities for our community of athletes that we represent."
It has taken a lot of behind the scenes work of calculating and harmonizing to get this agreement through, all with the riders in mind: "We had to create a point system, a judging system, a registration system and a set of standards so that riders knew what to expect when traveling the world to compete on freeride competitions," says FWT Head of Sport, Berti Denervaud (SUI). He adds that this would not have been possible without the effort and goodwill of North American resorts and organizers.
Because of this common strong commitment to support the amateur level of the sport with high quality competitions, IFSA/FWQ events will have a common judging and ranking system. Says Brant Moles (USA), IFSA Head Judge, “The IFSA is super stoked to be working with the FWT. This alliance will allow North American freeriders to compete and score points for the FWT, uniting the Freeride world and paving the way for a great future for the IFSA athletes.”
The FWQ and IFSA keeps growing with a solid calendar in the two regions
In Europe and Oceania (Region 1), there are some 40 competitions with resorts hosting events from 1 to 4 stars. As a further development, riders can now use the points system of the FWQ to win the title of national champion.
In North America (Region 2), thanks to the new agreement with the IFSA, riders will now have a full FWQ series sanctioned by the IFSA with at least 11 events that will be included within the FWQ rankings. New IFSA partner adult events, such as the Collegiate Freeride Series, and the long-standing Ski the East Freeride Tour (STEFT) will now qualify as IFSA/FWQ events.
Region 1 FWQ calendar Click Here
Region 2 FWQ calendar Click Here - Schedule to date, more events to come
Great news for juniors around the world
In Europe, the Freeride Junior Tour (FJT) is now divided into a star-system similar to the FWQ system. There are 3 levels ranging from 1 to 3 stars. The best European riders will compete in a series of 3* events, together called the Freeride Junior Tour by Dakine. These are the three classical events that follow the FWT events in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc (FRA), Fieberbrunn Kitzbüheler Alpen (AUT) and Verbier (SUI). At the recruiting level, the European FJT calendar has a total of twelve 1 and 2 * events. This is twice as many as last season, making it possible for more junior riders from 14 to 18 years old to find events closer to their hometown.
The IFSA North American Junior Series includes 50 events in North America with riders from 10 to 18 years old. Additionally, the IFSA junior events will now receive a Freeride Junior Tour (FJT) star rating, and older IFSA Junior athletes will now be able to carry their points forward into the IFSA/FWQ rankings as adults. Event guidelines and judging will remain the same for the IFSA Junior Series this season.
"In 2011, we set out to rebuild the IFSA from the bottom up. With support from coaches, athletes, and resort partners, we built our junior competitive series from a four event series to a collective of 50 events across North America for 2015. Junior freeriders across North America now have the opportunity to compete throughout the entire season. Now as our junior athletes graduate into the adult ranks, we are determined to increase competitive opportunities across North America for adults within the new, merged IFSA/FWQ system,” IFSA President, Scott Mahoney (USA), says.
Stay tuned to freerideworldtour.com to stay up on the latest news, and follow along as the riders train for next winter’s historic campaign.