The FreeRide World Tour is the largest international event Golden hosts and brings worldwide exposure to the community. Photo Submitted

Freeride World Tour returns to Golden

The Freeride World Tour is returning to Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, bringing some of the world’s best athletes to wrangle the horse from February 2 to 8.

Kicking Horse is the second stop of the tour, following world-class performances in Hakuba, Japan. Podium finishers Markus Elder, Tanner Hall, Gigi Ruf, Arianna Tricomi, Anna Orlova, and more. The athletes collect points at each of the stops to earn themselves the world title in their category.

This year, Logan Pehota returns as a wildcard athlete competing in the ski men’s category. Pehota competed last year in the world tour, winning himself gold at the Kicking Horse event, with a nearly flawless run, earning 98 points. Hailing from Pemberton and calling Whistler-Blackcomb home, Pehota is a B.C. favourite.

Other Canadian athletes include ski men 29-year-old Kye Petersen from Whistler, and 21-year-old twins Liam and Tom Peiffer from West Vancouver.

Another B.C. favourite, Nicole Kelly, has based herself out of Golden, and will compete in the snowboard women category.

The Freeride World Tour begins in the evening on February 1 with the opening ceremonies at the Golden Civic Centre at 8 p.m. After the competitors are announced and welcomed, there will be a meet and greet opportunity where people can talk to the athletes and get autographs. That evening, beginning at 10 p.m., the Rockwater will host an opening party that everyone can attend.

The competition is scheduled for Saturday, February 2, beginning at 9 a.m., but can be postponed until the following day if the weather isn’t favourable. Each day, the competition can be postponed until February 8. Anyone who isn’t able to make it up to Kicking Horse to watch the competition in person will be able to live stream it online, or watch it at the Rockwater.

Awards ceremonies will take place on the hill at 12:30 p.m. after the competition, and the official awards ceremony will be hosted at Spirit Square from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. following the competition.

The Whitetooth Brewery will release their Freeride World Tour inspired limited release beer between 6 to 10 p.m. on Saturday evening, and an official after party featuring Smalltown DJs will kick off at the Whitetooth Grill up at Kicking Horse at 10 p.m. DJ Wackutt will keep the party going in town at the Rockwater.

“It’s the biggest event that Golden has ever held, last year being the first year for it, and we’re just looking to build on that year over year, and bring it into an event with a festival attached to it,” said Tourism Golden communications and social media coordinator Andy Brown.

On Monday, February 4, everyone will have the opportunity to ride with a Freeride World Tour athlete. Skiers and Snowboarders can meet at the big map sign beside the gondola at 10 a.m. On Tuesday, girls are invited to shred with Freeride World Tour athletes, meeting at the gondola at 10 a.m.

“We will have lots of stuff going on. Generally, a bunch of the athletes will stick around even if the event does happen right away,” Brown said. “It’s really good exposure for the area and Kicking Horse, and backcountry skiing in general.”

There are a ton of other events happening around town during the competition week. A full schedule of events is available online at www.tourismgolden.com or www.kickinghorseresort.com. More information about the Freeride World Tour and the athletes is at www.freerideworldtour.com

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