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Introducing the Swatch Freeride World Tour by The North Face

Three separate ski and snowboard tours joined forces last week to become one international series for freeriding. The Swatch Freeride World Tour, the Freeskiing World Tour, and The North Face Masters of Snowboarding will become the Swatch Freeride World Tour by The North Face, with six events scheduled for the inaugeral 2013 season.

The title is still a bit unwieldy, but fans of freeriding will now be able to see the best skiers and snowboarders compete in one place. “I couldn't be more stoked to hear that the The North Face Masters of Snowboarding and FWT will be combined for next season," American snowboarder Ralph Backstrom said in a press release. "I look forward to seeing some more North Americans at the European stops, some more Euros in North America, and an increased talent pool.”

Women will compete in five of the six events. The tour will begin in January of 2013. Skiers and snowboarders looking for a spot can start showing off their stuff at one of 50 qualifying events, the first two of which take place in Chile and New Zealand in August. 

The tour still has yet to announce the exact rules and judging criteria. In the past, riders were assigned scores based on the difficulty of their line down the mountain, their jumps, the fluidity of their movement, their control, and whether or not they crashed. Athletes hope that a new tour with one set of events and rules will help them raise their profiles.

"What I hope to see come out of this merger is something similar to the ASP surf tour, where the FWT turns into something bigger with more following and super prestigious events," Backstrom told ESPN. "I'd also like to see riders at the top of their game still competing in the same way that Kelly Slater does. I think this merger could finally create that dynamic in skiing and snowboarding."


1. Swatch Freeride World Tour Revelstoke 2013 by The North Face
Dates: 7-12 January; Location: Revelstoke (CAN)
Disciplines: Men's and Women's Ski and Snowboard

2. Swatch Freeride World Tour Chamonix-Mont-Blanc 2013 by The North Face
Dates: 26 January-1 February; Location: Chamonix-Mont-Blanc (FRA)
Disciplines: Men's and Women's Ski and Snowboard

3. Swatch Freeride World Tour Kirkwood 2013 by The North Face
Dates: 27 February-3 March; Location: Kirkwood (USA)
Disciplines: Men's and Women's Ski and Snowboard

4. Swatch Freeride World Tour Fieberbrunn Pillerseetal 2013 by The North Face
Dates: 9-15 March; Location: Fieberbrunn Pillerseetal (AUT)
Disciplines: Men's and Women's Ski and Snowboard

5. Stop No5 in Europe - Location to Be Confirmed

6. Swatch Verbier Xtreme 2013 by The North Face
Dates: 23-31 March; Location: Verbier (SUI)
Disciplines: Men's and Women's Ski and Snowboard

—Joe Spring

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