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A New Era of Freeriding: FIS Acquires Freeride World Tour, Paving Road to Olympics

Freeride World Tour acquired by FIS; (Photo/FIS)Freeride World Tour acquired by FIS; (photo/FIS)
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The International Ski and Snowboard Federation (FIS) acquired the Freeride World Tour this month. And the future of freeride skiing and snowboarding is looking bigger and brighter than ever.

The FIS is the largest winter international federation in the world and is recognized by the International Olympic Committee. The Freeride World Tour is a worldwide circuit of freeride ski and snowboard competitions. It’s where skiers and riders face off on some of the gnarliest alpine terrain that ski resorts have to offer.

Now, the two organizations are joining forces. They’re merging to bring some of the most exciting snowsports in the world onto a much larger stage.

Freeride World Tour and FIS: Aligning Snowsport Disciplines

Jeremy Bernard Photography junior Freeride world tour
Junior Freeride world tour; (photo/Jeremy Bernard)

FIS’ acquisition of the Freeride World Tour is big news that has a lot of people feeling very hopeful about the future of freeride skiing and snowboarding.

Because FIS is a sports federation with a global pool of resources, it has a lot to bring to the Freeride World Tour’s table. It’s aiming to align snowsport disciplines under a single governing body. And it wants to offer these sports more power to develop on the global stage.

“Integrating FWT will see FIS add one of the most exciting, dynamic winter sports competition formats to its portfolio,” said Johan Eliasch in a press release announcing the acquisition. “FWT brings a highly professional tour that offers breathtaking action and an entirely new element of skiing and snowboarding to FIS.”

The Freeride World Tour is a big deal in the world of professional ski and ride competitions. There are (on average) five top-level events that take place throughout the ski season and over 200 “development events.”

The Tour currently includes over 6,000 licensed athletes that compete in three different tiers: Challenger, Qualifier, and Junior. Athletes can work their way up to the top level. Currently, over 1 million viewers tune in to watch Freeride World Tour events every year.

Freeride Skiing and Riding: Olympic Games-Bound?

Female skiers on podium at Freeride World Tour
Female skiers on podium at Freeride World Tour; (photo/Mia Knoll)

FIS’ acquisition will provide the Freeride World Tour with more resources and a bigger stage. But it could also eventually mean that freeride skiing and snowboarding finally become Olympic Games.

The FIS structure follows guidelines recognized in Olympic sports, so this might open the Winter Olympics’ door for freeride skiing and boarding. Understandably, this prospect has the FWT excited.

“We are thrilled to be joining forces with FIS,” said Nicolas Hale-Woods, Freeride World Tour founder. “For our freeride athletes and event organizers, being under [FIS] will give them more access to support, increased visibility, and additional resources. That will ultimately allow the FWT and all of its stakeholders to grow.”

So get ready for big things to come. The first Freeride World Tour competitions for 2023 are already slated and coming up fast.

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