Freeride World Tour Champions 2013
Ski Men: Drew Tabke USA
Ski Women: Nadine Wallner AUT
Verbier, Switzerland – March 22, 2013 – An historic season of the SWATCH FREERIDE WORLD TOUR 2013 BY THE NORTH FACE® (FWT) came to an end with jaw dropping action on the mythical Bec des Rosses face in Verbier, Switzerland. The four Freeride World Tour Champions were crowned at the end of a six-event global series. For the 18th edition of the legendary "Verbier Xtreme" the athletes took on the challenging face with great skill. Thousands of thrilled spectators onsite and more than 180'000 viewers on the live webcast watched the spectacular show go down on real time.
Only the highest placed athletes on the 2013 FWT rankings and a few exclusive wild cards qualified for the steeps of the infamous Bec des Rosses. With a solid base, thanks to great snow conditions all season and the additional fresh snow earlier in the week, the intimidating face was in great condition to provide a world-class venue for the riders.
The final event proved once again that the 2013 season of the Freeride World Tour has taken the sport to even higher levels of progression. The most notable evolution is the spectacular mix of freestyle trickery with fast riding on testing faces without holding back fluidity and control. More "traditional" big mountain chargers are still rewarded when they take on the competitions in full throttle and no hesitation. The Swatch Xtreme Verbier 2013 by The North Face® was no exception.
Victory on the Bec des Rosses and the race for the Freeride World Champion title was a true nail biter, playing out with the five last riders of the day. Kevin Guri of France skied a spectacular high speed run and landing big air, which put the Frenchman on the top spot of the day, with a score of 86.33 points. Guri, 23, was elated taking his first victory and first podium of the year at the prestigious Swatch Xtreme Verbier 2013 by The North Face®!
The battle for the overall title kept the fans on suspense till the very last rider out of the gate, Reine Barkered (SWE). The solid Swede and 2012 Champion took second with an outstanding run on the "Bec" but it was not enough to hold on to the title. Drew Tabke (USA), finishing an exceptional season with a sixth place at Verbier, was crowned the new Freeride World Tour Champion.
Tabke, a veteran in freeride competitions, won the season's first competition in Revelstoke (CAN) and never let go of the top spot on the overall standings. Tabke's style of riding could be described as a benchmark for the 2013 season; a very talented skier, capable of mixing freestyle tricks and big mountain skills on the same run, with solid, hard charging and still very fluid skiing.
"This is what I've worked for, for almost 10 years of competition. Verbier couldn't be a better place to do it. It's a lot time we put in. Everybody dedicates a lot of their lives to this, so to have it come around is a big payoff for sure. There is a lot of amazing history in freeriding that has pushed us to this moment and I'm really excited to see what will happen the next few years too."
After her rookie success, taking second at Fieberbrunn-PillerseeTal (AUT), Matilda Rapaport of Sweden received a wildcard to Verbier only two days ago. She continued imposing by dominating the women's field on the intimidating face, starting the run with an impressive cliff drop, charging down with very solid riding and several big jumps. She took the prestigious victory by scoring 84.67 points. The second wild card of the day, Austrian Lorraine Huber, skied a similar line and scored second place with 81.0 points.
Austrian Nadine Wallner (AUT) could have played it safe in Verbier as she already had secured the World Champion title after her victory at Fieberbrunn-PillerseeTal. But once again she demonstrated consistent, strong skiing, finishing third. Wallner, who qualified for the tour through the Freeride World Qualifier system, was still overwhelmed by her performance: "It's hard to believe it. It's my first year on the tour and did not expect to win the overall title! I was focusing on each contest. Every competition is special and I was really stoked to ski the Bec des Rosses for the first time in such great conditions!"
FWT 2013 Ranking
1. Drew Tabke (USA) – 2013 World Champion
2. Reine Barkered (SUI)
3. Julien Lopez (FRA)
1. Nadine Wallner (AUT) – 2013 World Champion
2. Pia Nic Gundersen (NOR)
3. Jackie Paaso (USA)