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FIS Recognizes Freeride as an Official Discipline

(Photo/JBernard via FWT)
(Photo/JBernard via FWT)

The International Ski and Snowboard Federation (FIS) voted unanimously Wednesday to recognize freeride skiing and freeride snowboarding as official disciplines.

Legitimizing the sport is a major step toward making freeride an Olympic event in the future.

“This is an important day for the freeride community,” said FWT founder and CEO Nicolas Hale-Woods in a press release. “The recognition of freeride skiing and snowboarding as an official discipline within FIS will elevate the sport and provide new opportunities for athletes worldwide. We are excited about the future prospects this brings to the freeride movement and beyond.”

Paving the Way: FIS x Freeride World Tour

Freeride World Tour acquired by FIS; (Photo/FIS)
Freeride World Tour acquired by FIS; (Photo/FIS)

FIS acquired the Freeride World Tour in late 2022. That paved the way for Wednesday’s vote brought before the FIS General Assembly in Reykjavik, Iceland, and approved unanimously. The move undoubtedly promised opportunities like this for the growth of the FWT. But it was also met with some hesitation by fans and insiders.

“FIS will undoubtedly want to make their mark on the tour, and how that looks is usually by making events more generic and predictable for a mass audience,” wrote The Inertia’s Steve Andrews in 2022. “For a sport that prides itself on its unpredictability — both in the conditions of the day and in where the riders choose their line, that could spell trouble.”

Like surfing, skateboarding, and snowboarding’s early days of Olympic inclusion, fans of the “keep it core” crowd may not love the latest move by FIS. Some FWT athletes voiced as much after the 2022 partnership. Meanwhile, there will certainly be those who feel this could create greater opportunities for future athletes.

“This is just the beginning,” Hale-Woods added. “Our goal is to nurture the sport at all levels, from grassroots to elite competitions. And to see freeride skiing and snowboarding represented in future Winter Olympic games.”

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