After the inaugural season of the unified Swatch Freeride World Tour, a list of 14 newly qualified athletes has been added to the contest roster.
For the 2013-14 season, tour newcomers Hadley Hammer (USA), Sasha Dingle (USA), Francesca Pavillard-Cain (USA), Lorraine Huber (AUT), Matilda Rapaport (NOR) and Hannah Fisher (AUS) will join for the women. For the men, you'll see new faces including Raphael Webhofer (AUT), Mickael Bimboes (FRA), Neil Williman (NZL), Loic Collomb-Patton (FRA), Ian Borgeson (USA), Conor Pelton (USA), Garrett Altmann (USA) and Patrick Baskins (USA).
"Things couldn't have gone better this year with the unified world tour," says Bryan Barlow, Sports Manager for Mountain Sports International, which organizes the tour. "It was a monumental moment to watch the Freeride World Qualifiers battle come down to the final runs at Snowbird and seeing the new talent that will be injected into the 2014 FWT."
To qualify for the FWT, athletes earned points according to their finishes at various qualifer events. In addition to the newcomers, 18 men and seven women re-qualify for the Freeride World Tour each year. Each FWT event also offers four wildcards. A total of 43 ski athletes will compete in the FWT tour for the 2013-14 season.
"The junior tour helped me get experience scouting lines and keeping my nerves in check. Once I joined the women's division I felt a certain amount of pressure lifted, I didn't feel the need to win," says 22-year-old Francesca Pavillard-Cain, who won the overall women's title on the U.S. qualifier tour. "I was so surprised to win the overall, I had no plans of making the tour."
The 2013-14 FWT will take place at the same six stops as last season: Revelstoke, BC; Courmayeur, Italy; Chamonix-Mount-Blanc, France; Fieberbrunn, Austria; Kirkwood, Calif., and Verbier, Switzerland.
"I will be competing against the best, not just in the Americas but in the world," says newly qualified Garrett Altmann. "The opportunity to compete for a true world title has been a major factor in my desire to ski in the FWT."