UPDATE: (Monday, March 3) FWT organizers confirmed the Snowbird competition has been rescheduled for Wednesday morning and relocated to the Silver Fox venue.
BREAKING NEWS: (Sunday, March 2, 9:30 a.m. MST) Sunday morning, Snowbird ski patrol released a massive avalanche during their snow safety work on the North Baldy venue, where the fourth stop of the Freeride World Tour was scheduled to take place. The slide ran 1,000 feet and left a 10-foot crown. No one was hurt, but FWT organizers decided to postpone the competition until further notice due to snow safety precautions.
“Spirits remain high, but it’s the best venue at the resort right now,” says FWT athlete Reine Barkered. “So we’ll see if it’s able to happen in the next few days. I hope the slide didn’t destroy the whole venue.”
The competition window for this stop extends until Wednesday, March 5. FWT officials are meeting with ski patrol and the athletes to evaluate the situation and they will release more information later today. This year has seen challenging snow conditions at multiple FWT stops and this is the second time this year that a stop has been postponed due to an avalanche. FWT organizers decided to move the Fieberbrunn stop in Austria to nearby Kappl after a two- to five-foot crown released an avalanche on the original venue. The Revelstoke stop was also rescheduled from December to March because of snow conditions.
“It’s been a hard season always wondering if there’s gonna be a comp today or tomorrow type of situation,” says FWT athlete Jackie Paaso. “Due to snow conditions, things change. But it’s definitely a challenge to the competitor mindset.”
Snowbird has received over two feet of fresh snow since Thursday, and in preparation for the FWT comp, the North Baldy venue was not open to the public. Ski patrol performed control work on the venue throughout the week via ski cuts and charges. Stay tuned for more updates and further information about the FWT Snowbird competition.
(Saturday, March 1) Freeride World Tour officials just announced the fourth stop at Snowbird, Utah, will run live tomorrow morning at 10:30 a.m. MST. Competitors have arrived the last few days, with an athlete inspection held yesterday on the North Baldy venue.
It was thought the event might not run until later in the week with 22 inches in the last 48 hours and more snow predicted to fall tomorrow. But organizers felt the weather would be good enough for safety and visibility to host it at the classic venue in front of an expected large weekend crowd.
Tune-in to Powder.com tomorrow for the live webcast of the Swatch Freeride World Tour by The North Face fourth stop at Snowbird, beginning at 10:30 a.m.