What started as a trial in Revelstoke in January has turned into reality with the announcement of the merger of the Freeski and Freeride World Tours Thursday morning.
The tour, officially dubbed the Swatch Freeride World Tour by North Face, will include both skiing and snowboarding events and will launch in Revelstoke from Jan. 7-12, 2013.
Other competitions will be held in Chamonix, France; Kirkwood, USA; Fieberbrunn PillerseeTal, Austria; and Verbier, Switzerland; with one stop still to be confirmed.
“The union of the three tours is a major step in the sport’s growth,” said Nicolas Hale-Woods, Freeride World Tour’s Managing Director for Europe.
Drew Tabke, who finished third at last year’s Revelstoke event, said he was excited to see the top athletes compete against each other on one tour.
“The best event last year was the combined event at Revelstoke,” he said. “This event represented the ideal outcome of this merger of the two tours—a legitimate representation of the world’s best riders competing on a world-class venue.”
The Revelstoke event was praised last year for the level of competition and the huge venue on the backside of Mount Mackenzie.
The merger will also see a series of about 50 qualifying events set up around the world, ranging from one to four stars. The top point earners from the four-star events will qualify for the following year’s Freeski World Tour.
33 men and 12 women are pre-qualified for this year’s skiing tour, while 14 men and seven women are pre-qualified for the snowboarding events.