The field is gathering for the final qualifier for the Freeride World Tour in the United States at Taos Ski Valley.
One hundred-twenty men, women, and junior freeriders are expected to make the journey up to Taos March 3-5, a few with hopes of turning a good result into a trip overseas. The event hands out $12,000 in prize money.
The Salomon Extreme Freeride Championships serves as a qualifier for the Freeride World Tour. Top performers at Taos earn points and maybe a chance to head to Europe for competition among the best big-mountain, risk-taking skiers and ‘boarders in the world. The event also is a chance for anyone who has cliff-jumping aspirations to give top competition a try.
Registration is under way, but the field is limited to 120 entrants in four categories: Juniors (14-17), men, women, and masters (40 and older). Proof of insurance is a must, and all competitors must sign a release form prior to the event. All registration documents can be found online (link below).
The Taos event is the sole qualifier for women who want to take on the famed Bec de Rosses in Verbier, Switzerland, March 19 for the final event of the Freeride World Tour. Male entrants at Taos also earn points that go toward getting a spot in the final events of the World Tour.
"We should get some big talent on the women's side, for sure," said Alejandro Blake, marketing director at the New Mexico resort.