The Freeride World Tour (FWT) could soon be heading to China, following a fact-finding mission by freeriders Xavier de le Rue, Sam Anthamatten and event organisers.
The group undertook an exploratory trip to the Changbai Mountains. Located on the border between China and North Korea, the area boasts heavy snowfalls, bitterly cold temperatures and high winds.
“Despite these challenges, the crew is optimistic about the potential for holding a competition at the site and have identified several prospective competition faces in the area,” said FWT organisers in a statement released last week.
The crew was evaluating the terrain on the slopes of a volcano, taking photos and drone footage of the site which is located within a nature reserve that requires special permission to access. They also had the opportunity to experience China’s hospitality, friendly culture and traditional cuisine of the region.
2022 Winter Olympic Games in China
China is fast developing on the international ski circuit, with an expanding interest in winter sports. Pro skier and Alpine coach on The Jump Warren Smith has this season been the first to open a branch of his ski academy in the country.
In January, the Freeride World Tour held its first qualifier event in Japan. Despite “challenges”, the FWT is planning to develop a platform which includes academies, junior and qualifier events, and top international events to promote the continued expansion of the sport of freeride on the Asian continent.
“It’s been an amazing experience!” said PRO Freeride World Tour skier Samuel Anthamatten of his recent trip to China. “In terms of freeriding there is an interesting opportunity on the Changbaichan volcano. No doubt it is another type of mountain and of ski culture; this could be a challenge or an interesting opportunity to bring the experience we usually have in the Alps to China.”