How about an annual snow fall of 11 meters, at 11 resorts easily accessed on Honshu, the main island of Japan? That is what Hakuba has to offer. The oldest ski resorts in the Hakuba Valley have been around for over 70 years. But freeskiing has until now never been in focus in the area. In fact, skiing outside the slopes is partly forbidden even today. However, aware of the importance of snow quality and access for freeskiing and ski touring tourists, things are changing as Hakuba host the Freeride World Tour for the third year in 2020. Japow – now a commonly used word for Japanese powder snow – has become a key factor for dedicated skiers worldwide. The potential, development and even survival of skiing in Japan is considered dependent on international ski fanatics having japow on their bucket list. It also requires ski resorts to provide the possibility of access to the backcountry. Of course, that is something we welcome, and we are really looking forward to the day the FWT season kicks off.
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Live stream @ freeride world tour, Hakuba, Japan
Kristofer charmed the Freeride World Tour community with his down to earth and humble personality and rock solid charging skiing during his rookie season on thetour in 2016. With a victory in Vallnord, Andorra, his first FWT competition ever, Kristofer showed the established riders on the tour that he wasn’t there just to see and learn. His fearless, smooth and accurate style made a mark on everyone and it didn’t come as a surprise when Kristofer stood as the Freeride World Tour champion in 2018. Kristofer grew up in the Swedish Lapland, north of the polar circle and far away from the stressful cities, where he learned to ski at an early age. He quickly formed a playful style and going in to competitions was not an obvious choice for the young Kristofer. While Kristofer isn’t on the mountain, he enjoys sailing, mountain biking or spending the time in the sauna with good friends. Follow @kristoferturdell on Instagram.
Twice an Olympian mogul skier, three time winner of SBMC in Riksgränsen and anathlete on the Freeride World Tour. After competing in the Olympics in Pyeongchang 2018, Hedvig Wessel decided to put her mogul skis away to fully invest in her freeskiing career. Her next goal? Reaching the top of the podium in the Freeride World Tour 2020.Hedvig was born 1995 in Oslo, Norway and has been skiing for as long as she can remember. Despite her age, Hedvig has the experience of much older athletes. Hedvig is currently combining her skiing career with business studies in Lausanne. Besides managing school and her athletic lifestyle, she runs her social media channels like a pro. Her popular web series of short ski movies called “Hedvig’s Way” portraits her path towards the top of the Freeride World Tour. Follow @hedvigwessel on Instagram.
Not only is Elisabeth Gerritzen a top-performing skier, she is also busy studying International relations in Geneva. A suiting study area, as she is an athlete on the Freeride World Tour with competitions in both Japan and Canada, keeping up her international relations for sure. This confident Swiss has truly proven that she is a force to be reckoned with in freeskiing, not only by winning the Xtreme Verbier 2019. Elisabeth is a true big mountain skier, taking on challenging runs with a playful style. During winter, she explores the terrain around the places she visits with a great eye for what lines and runs to ski. Follow @egerritzen on Instagram.
At Carls first ever freeskiing competition, the Scandinavian Big Mountain Championships in Riksgränsen, he lost track of his line and straight lined the entire face. What he found, however, was the passion for competitive freeskiing. Since then, he has come back to win in Riksgränsen. Twice. Last season, Carl did his rookie year on the FWT. After some impressive runs, combining hard charging skiing with his iconic playful style, Carl secured his well-deserved spot in the FWT line-up this year as well. On a perfect day, Carl allows himself a long breakfast with coffee and banana pancakes, and then goes out skiing big in the backcountry. We are eager to see what Carl can do in the intimidating venues of the FWT this winter. Especially if he starts off the day with some banana pancakes. Follow @carlregner on Instagram.
Raised in Austria with the mountains almost in his backyard, it came as no surprise that Tao would start skiing at a young age. It didn’t take too long before it was obvious that he was a natural at charging down the mountain, fast. After four years of solid scores in the Freeride World Qualifiers, Tao managed to ski a close to perfect season in 2019. This resulted in a third place in the overall ranking and therefore securing a spot in the Freeride World Tour 2020. When he’s not skiing, Tao loves pretty much any kind of activity that will get his adrenaline pumping. Surfing, mountain biking, skating, you name it! Tao and his friends even built a mini ramp on their balcony. That way they could have a few runs while waiting for the morning coffee to settle. We are all very excited to see what he will bring to the table during his rookie year. Follow @tao_kreibich on Instagram.
After winning the Freeride World Qualifier event in Hakuba last year, Yu received a wild card for the Freeride World Tour. Throughout the season he showed great style, combining huge tricks with creative line choices. With his great passion and desire for the big mountains, Yu decided to move to Revelstoke a few years ago, and has been living in BC, Canada ever since. He takes every chance he gets to get out in the backcountry and is no stranger to sending it BIG. He sure loves throwing massive 360’s, making everybody around turn their heads! Yu owns a food truck, so in the off season he drives around the Canadian Rockies, cooking traditional Japanese food to hungry mountain bikers. Because of the flexibility and closeness to the mountains, he can take an afternoon off, and get a few laps in the bike park himself. The perfect setup. Follow @yusasaki0223 on Instagram.