The first weekend of April saw the Freeride World Tour return to its spiritual home in Verbier and set the stage for the final showdown between these incredible athletes.
Unfortunately, strong winds and flat light forced the organisers to cancel the Men’s Ski event due to concerns over safety, which ultimately is a very important message to send the thousands of spectators: we all want fun, but within the realms of safety. We all have different reasons for being in the mountains; freeriding, ski mountaineering, cross country skiing, photography, après-ski, snowshoeing... But the common attribute we all share? We all want to come back another day.
The athletes of the Freeride World Tour are helping us spread this message of safer mountains perfectly across Europe, North America and New Zealand. The riders took time out during their stops in Andorra, France, Austria and Switzerland to complete the ISTA ST1 training. It’s hugely gratifying to see the world’s best freeriders inspire the freeride community and to highlight the need for knowledge and education on the prevention of avalanches.
At the Xtreme Verbier we closed the winter in style. We had a chance to share a drink, an apple or a story with the old-school pioneers of yesterday and with the heroes of tomorrow. Despite the disappointment of the Men’s Ski event, it didn’t stop the party. La Rue de Medran was in full flow and the buzz was as electrifying as some of the colours found in those one-piece suits! Our ears were full of live music by outstanding talent. And when the music stopped, you could rely on a passing Frenchman with a trumpet to excite the crowd!
The beauty of this mountain community is that one minute we could be asking a couple of amateur riders some basic mountain safety questions, whereas the next minute we’re having a chat with legends like Mark Shapiro and Géraldine Fasnacht. No matter the discipline or reason for being there, we all share the mountains together and we should all be prepared to be able to help our neighbour in the ski lift.