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Freeride World Tour 2024 Champions Crowned in Verbier

Freeride World Tour
Freeride World Tour 2024 Champions. Picture: Freeride World Tour

The 2024 edition of the Freeride World Tour came to an end in Switzerland at the Xtreme Verbier, the final stop of the Tour. The Xtreme closes a competitive season that will be remembered for breakout performances.

The world’s best freeriders delivered a masterclass today at the YETI Xtreme Verbier, wrapping up an unforgettable FWT by Peak Performance season. Ski and Snowboard Men dropped from the top of the Bec des Rosses for the first time since 2018, providing a leg-burning 600-meter elevation drop, which is littered with a maze of technical features and serious cliff bands. Consistent powder lined the face – offering near-perfect snow conditions – but some high clouds hindered visibility at times. That didn’t stop the world’s best freeriders from lighting up Verbier, delivering memorable performances in the final event on the 2024 FWT calendar.


In the Snowboard Women’s, Erin Sauve took the crown in her rookie year ahead of Núria Castán Barón, who finished in second and couldn’t hold her lead coming into the event. Anna Martinez finished third overall in her rookie year.


Victor de Le Rue already secured his title in the Snowboard Men category in Austria, winning four competitions in a row. Jonathan Penfield claimed his second win on the Bec des Rosses and, in doing so, jumped up into second overall for the FWT by Peak Performance season. Liam Rivera finished his season with three podiums to cement third overall for the second year in a row, an incredible performance by the young Swiss rider.


FWT veteran Hedvig Wessel claimed her maiden FWT title in the Ski Women’s, after multiple runner-up finishes in the past. She has worked extremely hard over the years and has been a key contributor to pushing the level of the sport. She was followed by Astrid Cheylus, who topped off an incredible rookie season, which included two wins and a third place today. Zuzanna Witych rocketed up the rankings today to finish in third spot, equaling her position in FWT 2021.

 

The top two riders in the Ski Men’s category – Max Hitzig and Marcus Goguen – went toe to two all season, culminating in a show-stopping performance today in Verbier. Incredibly, both athletes are competing in just their second season on the FWT, but they always look at home in the big mountains. It was Max who edged ahead today with his podium finish, claiming the overall ranking win, with Marcus close behind. Kiwi rider Ben Richards had a strong finish to the end of the season – with a win in Fieberbrunn and a fifth here today – to finish third overall.


Snowboard Women

 

Erin Sauve (CAN) dropped a whopping score today to take the YETI Xtreme Verbier win and leapfrog ahead to take the FWT crown in her maiden FWT season. She lined up two huge cliffs out of the gates with exceptional board control before linking multiple turns and another cliff. Núria Castán Barón (ESP) added yet another podium to her stellar season, combining multiple cliffs – including a double drop – and controlling her speed with ease on the steeps of the Petit Bec. Anna Martinez (FRA) delivered a smooth run with multiple big cliffs to finish in third, but a couple of small control issues cost her some vital points.

"I am beyond words. I am so excited that my run went well and the snow was great. It will take a while to sink in. I am so excited to be World Champion, but I want to return next year and push it even harder, go bigger, and show the world what women snowboarders can do. I dedicate this to everyone who helped me get here – all their time, energy, and support – and I couldn’t have done this without them,” Erin Sauve, YETI Xtreme Verbier Champion and 2024 Freeride World Champion said.




Snowboard Men


Jonathan Penfield (USA) used his experience on the face to guide him down the Bec and take the win. He kicked off his run with a huge 360 to bolts, then lined up multiple cliffs in the Dogleg Couloir before two massive clean airs. Liam Rivera (SUI) weaved his way through some of the steepest and most technical zones at the top, before showing us the benefits of his local knowledge. First, he stomped an enormous air off the Hollywood Cliff, then linked a frontside 360 with a smooth backflip. Michael Mawn (USA) looked comfortable in the ultra-technical terrain, backing himself among the exposure to combine speed and fluidity with some airs up top and a huge send off the Hollywood Cliff.

"It feels amazing and psyched to get a run down the Bec from the top. I think my experience and familiarity with this face helped; the more times you are up there, the less gnarly it feels. The roster is amazing this year, and there are not enough spots for how many good riders there are competing. I plan to be back on tour next year, snowboard as much as possible and take advantage of every opportunity,” Jonathan Penfield, YETI Xtreme Verbier Champion said.




Ski Women

 

Hedvig Wessel (NOR) stomped her way to victory both in Verbier and the overall title, showcasing her power and fluidity. She started with a technical double drop, linking smooth turns before launching off two of the biggest airs of the day in the category. Zuzanna Witych (POL) finished in second, piecing together a fluid line with multiple solid features up the top, before finding the gnar with three massive airs further down. Astrid Cheylus (FRA) entered a technical, highly exposed zone, exiting with a huge air and another two cliffs to lock in third. 

“It has been such a fight for the last five years to get to this position. It’s all worth it with the win. I want to thank everyone who has been there and supported me on this journey. We were unsure what the conditions would be like, but I had some good plans in place. I think this will be a good ending to my story on the FWT, but I want to keep skiing and watch the level continue to increase year after year,” Hedvig Wessel, YETI Xtreme Verbier Champion, and 2024 FWT by Peak Performance World Champion said.




Ski Men

 

Marcus Goguen (CAN) got ultra-technical and creative today to take the Verbier title, skiing through extreme exposure and looking like a veteran on the face. He stomped his first 360 with little hesitation before opening up a brand-new line on the Bec des Rosses, sending arguably the biggest double air in freeride history. Will this now be called the Marcus Goguen double?  Max Hitzig (GER) delivered a full-throttle line to take second spot today, which was enough to claim the FWT World Title. He found a spicy entrance to the central couloir, skiing with zero hesitation and linking two big cliffs before spinning a clean 360 and another cliff to finish. Finn Bilous (NZL) also made history today, being the first rider ever to 360 off the Hollywood Cliff, which helped him on his way to third.

“It’s such a stress relief getting down here, as my legs were burning by the end of the line. I came here to have fun and ski my line. My goal next year is to continue having fun and maybe even win the title. I will keep trying to put down these lines and stay consistent. I’m excited for the future!,” Marcus Goguen, YETI Xtreme Verbier Champion said.

 

“I can’t believe it. I was so nervous before my line. I have worked so hard for this. The level is getting so high, so I know it is getting harder to claim the title every year, which makes me happy to win it this year. I was scared to ski the Bec des Rosses from the top, but when you are in competition mode you just go full send!,” Max Hitzig, 2024 Freeride World Champion said.



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