The FWT23 kicked off today in all its splendour in the Spanish Pyrenees, where the best freeriders in the world have set their sights high in front of a large and euphoric local crowd in the first ever round of the Freeride World Tour, which is part of the FIS (International Ski Federation).
After the race was postponed on Saturday due to lack of visibility and heavy snowfall in the Val’d Aran, the sun shone today in Baqueira Beret and the first race of the FIS Freeride World Tour 2023 season was held. A highly anticipated first day of competition, in which the best freeriders in the world gave their best to show their skills on the snow and drive both the jury and the thousands of people in the audience crazy.
Despite the snowfall, conditions were tricky for the riders in the Baciver cirque in Baqueira Beret. The upper area was very affected by the wind, but in the lower sections the powder snow was much more playful. In the early hours of the morning, a huge slab could be seen to have broken off from the top, and the safety officers spent time and resources to ensure that the freeride area was safe for all participants.
However, this has not prevented the athletes from betting big to impress the judges and score points to reach the grand final in Verbier in one of the most emblematic mountains of Baqueira Beret.
Sun, snow and spectacle in the second edition of the Freeride World Tour in Baqueira Beret
Baqueira Beret has once again been thrilled by one of the most spectacular winter sports events in the world, the Freeride World Tour, thanks to the 50 best international skiers and snowboarders in a weekend with 17,000 skiers in the resort, 5,000 of whom passed through the Baciver during the competition.
In skiing, victory went to the American Addisson Rafford and the Swede Max Palm (who won last year in Baqueira with a double backflip), while in snowboarding the winner was the Canadian Katie Anderson and the also American Michael Mawn.
Spanish skiers Abel Moga, Eli Marina and Aymar Navarro performed well in front of the large crowd, finishing 7th, 9th and 10th.
The FWT 2023 discovers why “Baqueira is Baqueira”.
After a week of absolutely wintry weather, Sunday 29 January dawned with a few shy clouds that dissipated to reveal the majesty of the imposing Baciver 2644 metres that crowns the Beret area in what is considered one of the best freeride ski resorts in the world.
With these conditions of clear skies but an intense cold with temperatures of -10ºC, which guaranteed excellent snow quality, the fifty or so riders who came from all over the world were smiling, halfway between the nerves of launching themselves into the void and the desire to reach the podium on a day of powder snow and sunny Aranese weather, which explains the slogan of the Aranese resort with its “Baqueira es Baqueira” (Baqueira is Baqueira).
Results of the FWT 2023 Baqueira Beret in the skiing discipline
In women’s skiing, the Americans Addisson Rafford and Molly Armanino, both rookies in the FWT, won gold and silver with 72 and 70 points. Third on the podium was Switzerland’s Sybille Blanjean with 66 points.
“My round was a lot of fun. I had a hard time choosing my line in the visual recognition, but the final went well and I really enjoyed it. It’s my first time in Europe and I’m delighted to be in Baqueira Beret – this place is amazing!”. Addison Rafford
In men’s skiing, Max Palm took the gold medal for Sweden with an absolutely spectacular downhill in which he scored 86 points from the judges. He was joined on the podium by French rider Oscar Mandin (25) from Avoriaz-Morzine with 83 points and Carl Regner Eriksson from Sweden with 81 points.
“I am happy to be back in Baqueira after my victory last year. Since I woke up this morning, everything has been going great; I’ve had some amazing runs down the piste, and I felt it was going to be a great day. I skied my line according to my plan, and I came in first. Baqueira is the best ski resort, I love it here!”. Max Palm
“The two Spanish representatives, Abel Moga and Aymar Navarro, made it into the TOP10 of the FWT 2023 in Baqueira Beret”.
The two Spanish representatives (Abel Moga and Aymar Navarro) managed to get into the TOP10 getting seventh and tenth place respectively. It should be noted that the “Rider of the Day”, chosen by the public vote, was the Spaniard Abel Moga, thanks to his spectacular descent and the very long deadlift in the final part. The surprise of the day was not to see him on the podium as the judges penalised him for not having a clean landing (lowering his score to 5520 pts) because his back touched the snow in his two fantastic flights.
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Results of the FWT 2023 Baqueira Beret snowboard discipline
Women’s snowboarding opened the competition still with a good part of the northwest face of the Baciver in shadow with the victory of the Canadian Katie Anderson with 80 points, followed by the Russian Anna Orlova with 72 points and the bronze went to the American Erika Vikander who last year won gold in the snow of Aran.
“It’s great to be back here with all the people of the FWT, and especially the fans. I changed my line at the last minute, and I was very nervous, but the snow was better than I thought. I had a great time, and I’m thrilled with the win, and I want to congratulate Tiff [Tiphanie Perrotin] on her mega-flight!” Katie Anderson.
In men’s snowboarding, the best was undoubtedly the American Michael Mawn, last year’s winner in Baqueira, who scored 93 points with a very risky line. The silver went to his compatriot Holden Samuels with 90 pts and the bronze went to Frenchman Ludovic Guillot-Diat with 86 pts.
“It’s great to be back here. This is my favourite stage of the Tour, and the people here are so welcoming. An avalanche wiped out the line I had planned, so I had to choose another one and the truth is that I didn’t have it all my own way. But I found some really good snow and I went for it, I gave it my all, I was so happy to be here with everyone!”. Michael Mawn.
The first FWT23 event was a memorable one, and the riders delivered explosive action in front of an impressive Spanish crowd. The freeride fans were in full support of the local contingent: Aymar Navarro, Abel Moga and Elisabet Marina, while an emotional Aymar officially announced his retirement from the FWT.
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