orld Tour, Squaw Valley. Henrik Windstedt. photo: Freerideworldtour/C. Margot This discussion has been going on a longtime and we know from experience that there are some strong an occasionally nasty feelings and banter being thrown around. We’ve heard event organizers of the Freeskiing World Tour refer to the Freeride World Tour as: FreeSkiing World Tour VS. FreeRide World Tour | Which Is Better? | Unofficial Networks

FreeSkiing World Tour VS. FreeRide World Tour | Which Is Better?

FreeSkiing World Tour VS. FreeRide World Tour | Which Is Better?

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FreeSkiing World Tour VS. FreeRide World Tour | Which Is Better?

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squaw valley freeride world tourFreeride World Tour, Squaw Valley.  Henrik Windstedt.  photo: Freerideworldtour/C. Margot

This discussion has been going on a longtime and we know from experience that there are some strong and occasionally nasty feelings and banter being thrown around.

We’ve heard event organizers of the Freeskiing World Tour refer to the  Freeride World Tour as:

“The dark side”

We’ve heard big pro skiers refer to the Freeskiing World Tour as:

“Amateur hour”

arne backstrom utah freeskiing world tourArne Backstrom.  Freeskiing World Tour, Snowbird, Utah.  photo:  Lance Koudele

Granted, the Freeride Tour has bigger names, more exotic venues, bigger parties, and simply more money in general. But, the Freeskiing Tour is the original freeskiing comp tour, it’s open to anyone, heros are made from nobodys, it’s where many of our American big mountain pros have come from, and our boy Shane McConkey started it.


Timy Dutton, Jt Holmes, and friends competing on the World Freeride tour in Europe.

There certainly is a huge rift between these two tours.  The Freeskiing Tour has got soul, funkiness, and grit where the Freeride Tour has money, status, and glitz.

snowbird freeskiing world tourFreeskiing World Tour, Snowbird, UT.  photo: Eben Wight-MSI

The most important questions to be asked are:

Which tour is helping the progression of freeskiing more?

Which tour is more fun to watch?

Which tour is more fun to compete in?

Which tour has the better venues?

Which tour has the better athletes?

Which tour’s athletes throw better/bigger tricks?

Which tour has the better overall vibe?

Which tour throws better parties?

Which tour has more soul?

Which tour is going to last longer?

Which tour is more dangerous?  (3 men have died on Freeskiing Tour, no one so far on Freeride Tour)

julian lopez freeride world tourFreeride World Tour, Verbier, Switzerland.  Julian Lopez.  photo:  REUTERS/Valentin Flauraud

Here are the basic differences between the Freeskiing Tour and Freeride Tour –

Freeskiing World Tour:

– Skiers Only

– $110,000 in Prizes

– 6 Stops for men in 2012:  El Colorado, Chile / Las Lenas, Argentina / Revelstoke, Canada / Jackson Hole, WY / Crested Butte, CO / Kirkwood, CA / Snowbird, UT

– Anyone Can Compete

– Competitors Pay to Compete

– 3 men have died on this tour to date

– America-centric Tour

– Most Competitors are from America (9 of the top 54 men from non- North American countries)

– Started in 1998 as the IFSA by Shane McConkey

This video gives the flavor of the Freeskiing Tour.  Definitely more roots, rock, reggae.

squaw valley freeride world tourFreeride World Tour, Squaw Valley, CA.  photo:  freerideworldtour.com / C. Margot

Freeride World Tour:

– Skiers & Snowboarders

– $250,000 in Prizes

– Has a Freeride Qualifying Tour that hosts open events where riders are given a chance to qualify for the Freeride Tour

– Invite Only.   Industry Elite Athletes, Qualified Athletes, as well as a few Wildcard Athletes

– 6 Stops for Men in 2011: Chamonix, France / Crystal Mountain, WA (snowboard only) / Kirkwood, CA / Sochi, Russia / Fieberbrunn, Austria / Verbier, Switzerland

– Competitors Get Paid to Compete (and some travel budget if you make it to the finals in Verbier)

– Eurocentric Tour

– Most competitors are from Europe (6 of 32 male competitors from non-European countries)

– Started in 2008.

The highlights from the Canadian Freeskiing Championships at Revelstoke, BC. We also had a chance to spend some time with Arne Backstrom, the champion and sick bird winner. Check it out.

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