In March 2014 Snow Bunny Magazine was invited to the premiere big mountain competition, the Freeride World Tour. Known for its awe inspiring venues, large purses, and extreme nature, it draws top athletes from around the world.
With a dry 2014 snow season, it’s no wonder that the competition originally scheduled for Kirkwood resort in California was moved to Snowbird, UT. Upon this news, Snowbird shut down Mt. Baldy, the original venue for the FWT Utah stop, in an effort to preserve the snow, giving riders pristine conditions to do their thing.
Snowbird delivered (as usual) with its light, fluffy snow pack in the weeks leading up to the event, and upon our arrival we learned that officials were holding out on announcing a day for the competition to wait for ideal weather (clear skies and better visibility).
The opening ceremonies and the bib draw took place on a Friday evening on the tram deck, and skiers and spectators alike moved to the Tram Club to continue the evenings shenanigans as the snow continued to fall.
Saturday morning delivered yet another morning of fresh powder and delayed competition, but finally it was announced that the comp would take place on Sunday morning, as the weather was supposed to clear.
Fortunately for the athletes, media and FWT Staff alike there was much powder skiing to be had on that Saturday. Endless Snowbird lines with deep powder and its amazing terrain made everyone part of the event smile.
On Sunday morning, we arrived at the resort to the sound of avalanche bombs going off. There was a buzz of excitement in the air as athletes, media and FWT staff gathered to catch the first tram to the venue.
Within minutes of arriving the atmosphere changed once again but this time with disappointment. We began to hear rumors that baldy (the venue) had slid to the ground. The crown was reported to be over 8 feet deep and the avalanche spread over 100 feet and was set off during control work.
Once again the competition was postponed, and we were all sent our way to ride the 6 inches of fresh, they had gotten the night before, while the FWT staff and organizers searched by helicopter for a new venue.
By Monday morning a new venue was announced and Silver Fox was named the area that the comp would take place.
Snowbunnymag.com staffers were unable to stay for the actual competition held later during the week on Wednesday but watched it live streaming from the comfort of our office.
The FWT requires an insane amount of planning and coordination with athletes, media and the mountain staff, and is only too disrupted by changes in weather, or snow safety. FWT is a leader in the world of contests and a great way to watch the pros in action. We were excited to be part of the event, get to know athletes, and witness the professionalism of the staff and mountain as they played the hand dealt by Mother Nature.
In the end, the amazing abilities of the athletes was showcased once again, and the tour stop was an overall success. Snowbird’s very own Shannan Yates won the overall tour (our interview with Shannan Yates), a sweet victory for all who love and ride Snowbird Mountain Resort.