Photo above: Josh Daiek and Crystal Wright recieiving the overall Tour Championship Awards at Kirkwood at the end of the 2012 season
The Swatch Freeride World Tour, the world's most extreme big mountain freeskiing and snowboarding tour, makes a stop at Kirkwood, CA this week. On Wednesday, February 27th and Thursday, February 28th, athletes will compete in the permanently closed area "The Cirque." They are judged on a number of categories: line difficulty, control, fluidity, technique and style. Backflips are almost always guaranteed.
For the first time, the snowboarding and freeskiing tour were combined and the event now features six stops on two continents. Only two of those stops are in North America and Kirkwood has the burly terrain required to host an event of this caliber.
Last year, local Tahoe South athlete and Kirkwood Freeride Team member Josh Daiek took home the tour champion trophy. Daiek returns to the FWT this year and has the home mountain advantage here at Kirkwood. In addition to recently joining the Salomon Freeski Team, Daiek just returned from stiff big mountain competition at the invitation only Swatch Skiers Cup in Zermatt, Switzerland.
Another Kirkwood Freeride Team Member, snowboarder Casey Lucas, is currently 4th in the FWT standings. Casey is the local athlete to watch this year and she is well positioned to move up in the overall standings with a win here at her home mountain.
Spectators corral at last year's event
As a Tahoe South local, the FWT is my favorite winter event to attend. In the abundant sunshine that is guaranteed to oversee the event this week, spectators will dig benches to sit on, drag BBQ's into the field and haul beers to shove into the snow while they tailgate and watch the athletes go head to head in a competition that is best described as nothing short of awesome.
The Swatch Freeride World Tour will take place this Wednesday and Thursday at Kirkwood Mountain Resort.
For the best enjoyment, bring a shovel into the Eagle Bowl/Thunder Saddle Valley and dig yourself a trench to relax in. Wear plenty of sunscreen and don't forget your koozie!
Local Tahoe South athletes to keep an eye out for:
- Josh Daiek was the 2012 Overall Tour Champion.
- Local snowboarder Casey Lucas is currently just mere points away from rising to the 2nd or 3rd place spot in the overall tour standings.
Tahoe South will bring you an interview later this week from Lucas as well as results.
Lauren is one of our regular blog contributors. Read about her crazy fun adventures as a passionate photographer, athlete and traveler on her personal blog.