Freeride World Tour Unveils Athlete Roster

Kyle Taylor, George Rodney, Hazel Birnbaum, and Ashley Maxfield step up from the qualifiers

A new crop of skiers are joining the seasoned veterans on the Freeride World Tour next year. PHOTO: Freeride World Tour
A new crop of skiers are joining the seasoned veterans on the Freeride World Tour next year. PHOTO: Freeride World Tour

Yesterday, the Freeride World Tour published the complete list of athletes who will be competing in the upcoming season, with defending champions Loic Collomb-Patton and Nadine Wallner leading the roster.

Joining the top seven ladies and top 16 men from last year’s tour are a handful of wild cards and the winners from the two regions of the qualifiers. A couple athletes, including Italy’s Markus Eder and New Zealand’s Janina Kuzma, are hopping back on the tour after taking a brief hiatus to compete in the 2014 Olympics.

Drew Tabke, the 2013 FWT Champion, is one of five wild cards for the men. Russia’s Ivan Malakhov, who skied a standout line at the qualifier event in Andorra, and Sweden’s Willie Lindberg, who stood on two FWT podiums in 2013, also received wild cards.

Defending Champion Loic Collomb-Patton flashing an air in his winning run at the Verbier Extreme last year. PHOTO: Freeride World Tour
Defending Champion Loic Collomb-Patton flashing an air in his winning run at the Verbier Extreme last year. PHOTO: Freeride World Tour

Bozeman’s Kyle Taylor finished at the top of the Region 2 qualifiers, winning the Crested Butte 4-star event and placing second at Big Sky. George Rodney, 21, who skis Alta/Snowbird, rounded out the qualified men and will be one of the youngest skiers on the tour.

For the ladies, Eva Walkner from Australia comes back to the tour with an injury wild card. And Kirkwood’s Hazel Birnbaum and Ashley Maxfield take a well-deserved step up from the qualifiers, joining tour veterans Jackie Paaso and Lorraine Huber and burgeoning star Hadley Hammer.

This year, the tour is stopping at new events in Andorra and Alaska, and both men and women will compete at every stop. The FWT announced last month that they are narrowing down the field for stops in Alaska, and will announce that specific location soon. The tour kicks off at Chamonix Mont-Blanc, France, on January 24, 2015.

Here’s the list of skiers for the 2015 Freeride World Tour:

Men
Loïc Collomb-Patton/La Clusaz, France
Sam Smoothy/Treble Cone, New Zealand
Jérémie Heitz/Les Marécottes, Switzerland
Reine Barkered/Are, Sweden
Nicolas, Salencon/Bariloche, Argentina
Ian Borgeson/Arapahoe Basin, Colorado
Richard Amacker/Nendaz, Switzerland
Silas Chickering-Ayers/Mad River Glen, Vermont
Stefan Hausl/Arlberg, Austria
Julien Lopez/Tarentaise, France
Fabio Studer/Silvretta Montafon, Austria
Sam Anthamatten/Zermatt, Switzerland
Matt Francisty/Whistler, Canada
Garrett Altmann/Taos, New Mexico
Conor Pelton/Crystal Mountain, Washington
Kevin Guri/Les Ménuires, France
Léo Slemett/Chamonix-Mount Blanc, France
Fabian Lentsch/Tirol, Austria
Jordan Bricheux/Chamonix-Mont Blanc, France
Kyle Taylor/Bridger Bowl, Montana
Juan Bergada/Argentina
George Rodney/Alta and Snowbird, Utah
Charlie Lyons/Southern Alps, New Zealand
Felix Wiemers/Pitztal and Kaunertal, Germany
Markus Eder/Klausberg, Italy
Ivan Malakhov/Courmayeur, France, and Russia
Drew Tabke/Crystal Mountain, Washington
Willie Lindberg/Riksgränsen, Sweden

Women
Nadine Wallner/Arlberg, Austria
Lorraine Huber/Arlberg, Austria
Jackie Paaso/Squaw Valley, California
Matilda Rapaport/Engelberg, Sweden
Hadley Hammer/Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Francesca Pavillard-Cain/Crested Butte, Colorado
Christine Hargin/Ramundberget, Sweden
Lotten Rapp/Ramundberget, Sweden
Silvia Moser/Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy
Ashley Maxfield/Alta and Snowbird, Utah
Hazel Birnbaum/Kirkwood, California
Eva Walkner/Dachstein, Austria
Janina Kuzma/Cardrona, New Zealand