The drops, flips, and tricks done by these teenagers are unbelievable.
Skiers and snowboarders line up above daunting exposed cliffs and steep chutes. One by one they choose lines to ride, pushing their limits to score big air and big points from judges.
The Freeride Junior World Tour recently completed its fifth year with this year’s championships in Grandvalira, Andorra. Riders scored points based on the difficulty of the line, control, fluidity, jumps, and technique.
For this event, athletes pick exposed and steep lines with jumps and flair that demonstrate maturity and control beyond their age.
How Freeride Works
Freeriding courses do not feature any man-made obstacles or jumps but instead rely on natural cliffs, lips, and chutes. Each rider starts from the same point and chooses their own path down the mountain. The best run down wins.
Junior Freeride World Tour
The tour attracts 14- to 18-year-old athletes from Europe, the Americas, Australia, and New Zealand. Qualifying events are held around the world leading up to the championships.
While the championships may be over (it was held February 5 – 8), there are still Junior Freeride World tour events through the months of February and March.
The tour works to develop the talents of future freeride athletes and encourage youth participation in the extreme sport.
Think you (or your kids) have what it takes? Check out some videos of the best lines from past Junior events. The last video shows Ross Tester’s Championship-winning run from this year.
How Freeriding Is Judged
There are five categories to judge each rider’s performance.
1) Difficulty of Line
Danger factor, creativity, linking passages, and imagination all go into judging the rider’s path down the mountain.
Falling (or not falling), confidence, and recovery are key factors.
Judges look for how well a rider completes their line from start to finish, without stopping. Transitioning poorly, or hesitating before cliffs impact the score.
This category makes freeriding exciting. Style, aggression, size, entrance, landing, and confidence in the air all influence the score.
Riders must execute their lines and moves, and do so more cleanly than their competitors. If a rider cuts speed and edges poorly, points will be deducted.