Designed to take the renowned Verbier Xtreme freeride competition to the next level, the Freeride World Tour consists of five competition events across North America, Eastern and Western Europe, and offers the biggest prize purse in the history of the sport. Already in the Tour, sponsors The North Face has sponsored the Nissan Mammoth Challenge on 22-26 January in Mammoth, California; and the Nissan Russian Adventure on 31 January-5 February in Sochi, Russia.
Each of the forty-four athletes competing at Tignes will have just one chance to prove their mettle to the judges. From the top of a cable car, athletes will hike for 45 minutes to reach the 2,882-metre Grande Balme. Each snowboarder and skier will be allowed one run down the 40-45-degree pitch, with 500 metres of vertical descent and countless lips, jumps, cliff bands and gullies. Judging is based on three criteria: choice of line, control and fluidity. Steepness, exposure, snow conditions, difficulty of the terrain, obstacles, jumps, control, falls, continuity, pace, smooth transitions, style, technical ability and energy-all of these elements will also be taken into account.
A different three-member jury judges each section of the Freeride World Tour for each discipline. Each judge is trained and certified by the Professional Freerider Board (PFB). The line-up in Tignes consists of the best-ranked riders of each discipline (14 men and four women) after the three previous contests of the Tour)
First prize for the men is $10,000 USD apiece for the top snowboarder and freeskier. Both of the winning women take home $3,000 USD each. Second and third place finishers in both disciplines and genders also score a portion of the prize purse-$40,000 USD in total. Even better, the top overall finishers will earn themselves a coveted place in the tour finals-the Verbier Xtreme-held straight afterwards on 14-23 March in Verbier, Switzerland.