The Freeride Junior World Championship (FJWC) is confirmed for March 30 – April 3, 2021. For the first time, it will be staged in Verbier, Switzerland, where the young athletes will get a glimpse of the Bec des Rosses, and dream of one day competing on this intimidating mountain in the Verbier Xtreme.
The FJWC is truly a unique event – being the only competition where junior European, North American and New Zealand riders compete together. 60 competitors, aged 16-18, will battle for the junior world title in four categories – 30 ski men, 13 ski women, 12 snowboard men and 5 snowboard women. These athletes represent an impressive 15 nations from three continents, all earning invitations through their 2020 season rankings in their respective regions (Europe, New Zealand and North America).
Returning champions Eliot Dänzer (SUI – snowboard men), Claire Macpherson (CAN – ski women) and Joey Leonardo (USA – ski men), will be looking to retain their titles, while Zoe Macgeorge (GBR – snowboard women) will be missing due to injury. The 2020 European/Oceania Champions, Astrid Cheylus (FRA – ski women) and Max Palm (SWE – ski men), will be strong contenders for the title, as will be returning riders like Victor Hale-Woods (SUI – ski men) and Jean Tonnelier (FRA – ski men), the latter missing out last year because of injury.
With solid performances on the 2020 New Zealand Junior Freeride Tour, twin brothers Fynn and Lach Powell (NZL – ski men), as well as James Thompson (NZL – snowboard men), will look to carry their form into Verbier. While 2020 IFSA North American Overall Ski Champions, Dagan Schwartz (USA – snowboard men) and Kaiya Hanepen (USA – snowboard women), will be shooting for the title, along with many other North American athletes making their FJWC debut.
No doubt there is an abundance of young talent from around the globe ready to give us a glimpse of the future of freeride. And with coaching from the likes of former FWT athletes Stefan Häusl (AUT), Seb Michaud (FRA) and Aurelien Ducroz (FRA), the next generation of freeriders is in good hands.
The FJWC is always a highlight of the season, and after such a challenging year, the anticipation leading into this year’s competition is amplified even further. Check out the full roster and teaser at FJWC and stay tuned for more updates on the event.