Summer can be a lonely time for the avid backcountry shredder. A period where training, surfing and other pursuits keep us entertained while we wait for those nights to draw in and the snow clouds to gather. But while you begin to plot loose plans for the coming winter season, here are the 5 best freeride events you won't want to miss.
FWT – Japan Series
Forming an integral part of the Freeride World Tour, the Japan Series spans three months with events taking place in Appi, Lotte Arai, Kiroro and Maiko. However, the undeniable highlight of this East Pacific powerhouse is the five star FWT event in Hakuba Valley. Taking place from the 18th-25thJanuary 2020, this iconic tree lined region will be descended upon by the planet’s most talented athletes. Here they’ll fight for a podium finish in what’s often considered the finest powder in the world.
The North Face Frontier
This is the perfect pre-season primer for anyone looking to get geared up for the northern hemisphere winter. Taking place between 1st-5thof September, riders will take on the powder fields of The Remarkables. We’ll keep our eyes peeled for local ripper Roland Morley Brown (RMB) who has an uncanny ability to combine unique lines with smooth rotations, dripping with effortless style and finesse.
Baker Banked Slalom
Ok, so this one isn’t technically a ‘freeride’ event, but we feel it has a closer link to the backcountry than it does the snowpark. This event is revered among industry types and has been a legendary snowboarder gathering for 34 years. Taking place in the thick powder of Washington’s Cascades, Mt. Baker will be ready for competitors on the 7th, 8th, & 9thof February 2020.
Scottish Freedom Tour
This home grown event is something Scotts can be proud of. The Scottish Freedom Series is a collection of freeride events that honour expression and freedom for riders in the field. In all honesty, it’s a breath of fresh air compared to many of the seriously competitive events out there and is really a celebration of freedom in the mountains. Events take place January-March and should be firmly cemented in your calendar.
This series of events explores the ruggedly charismatic mountains of California's Sierra Nevada. With events taking place at Sugar Bowl, Kirkwood, Squaw Valley and Mt. Rose, the backdrop for this series is unquestionably stunning. Three of the events in the Tahoe Freeride are also Freeride World Qualifiers, allowing entrants to earn points towards entering the World Tour.
With an insatiable thirst for travel, Nick Baines is a journalist based on the UK’s south coast. With more than 20 years experience in snow sports, he’s contributed features to publications all over the world.