FREERIDING: WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR

The Freeride World Cup is taking place right now in Kappl. After the superstars of the Freeride World Tour at the start of January, the heroes of the Junior Tour will be launching themselves down the Quellspitze today and Thursday. We tell you what exactly you need to look out for.

Freeride Juniors Tour is the world cup series bringing together the best free riders between the ages of 15 and 18. If you’ve ever spent any time watching what goes on in a fun park, you’ll know that it’s always the youngsters performing the really cool stunts. It’s more or less the same in freeriding, which means tomorrow, when the heroes of the Freeride Juniors World Tour drop down the slope from the Quellspitze in Kappl, promises to be spectacular.

As always, you’ll have a great view of what’s going on from Kappl (best of all from Piste 8 – Ed.). But what are you looking at actually? And what’s it all about? Freeriding is a jury sport. It’s not about the time you take for the descent (although that’s also part of the total score), but the style. This is judged by the jury – three each for skiers and snowboarders as well as a head judge. In total, five criteria are evaluated: the fluidity of the run (the free rider should not stop during the run), control (meaning pace and landings), choice of line, technique and the category air & style. This includes the height of jumps, control in the air and difficulty of the tricks customized to the terrain. It’s particularly challenging because the free riders are not allowed to try out the slope before the competition. They have to plot their line either through observation from the opposite slope or through a telescope at the start. If anyone miscalculates, misjudges the gradient, or rates the cliffs as higher or lower than they actually are, they’ll be for a surprise or two on the way down.   And it’s no different for the juniors than for the professionals on the world tour. It’s definitely worth taking a look.