The Freeride World Tour and Altis present: 25 candles for 25 years of the Verbier Xtreme

Date of publication 24.03.20

Last month, 25 icons united to illuminate the Bec des Rosses in honour of the 25th Anniversary of the Verbier Xtreme 

Verbier, Switzerland – Tuesday 24th March 2020 – It is under extraordinary circumstances that the Grande Finale of the FWT20 will not happen this year. Nonetheless it is with passion and humility that the Freeride World Tour wanted to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Verbier Xtreme, the departing moment for an international Freeride journey

Since its creation in 1996, the public have been amazed by the evolution of the sport which defies the laws of gravity and constantly pushes the limits of what is possible in the mountains. In 2008 the success of the event lead to the creation of an international championship made up of 5 stops with the final being the Verbier Xtreme. Giving birth to the Freeride World Tour.

The 20th February, armed with headtorches from Altis, the 25 candles outlined the flanks of the imposing mountain as night fell. They sat along the ridge as well as on the summit of the Bec des Rosses, in celebration of the 25th edition of the legendary Verbier Xtreme. Just like on the Matterhorn 5 years ago, the emblematic face was illuminated by 25 freeriding icons, who have contributed to the success of the Xtreme. 

Highly experienced mountain guides, led by Claude-Alain Gailland, in charge of safety for the Verbier Xtreme for 20 years, supervised the operation with a cool composure. 

The Valaisan skiers Jérémie Heitz and Yann Rausis, as well as the French snowboarder Xavier De Le Rue topped off the spectacle by riding the face one by one, equipped with an LED helmet under a blanket of stars in the night sky. There were as many stars in the sky as those who illuminated the Bec de Rosses that evening. Among the stars Estelle Balet, Dédé Rehm, Gilles Voirol and Marco Siffredi, the young riders who left us too early, who made an impact on the history of the Bec des Rosses, were surely watching from above. 

It was a magical, unforgettable and nostalgic moment for the participants and spectators of this evening spectacle. Nicolas Hale-Woods, the cofounder of the Verbier Xtreme and CEO of the Freeride World Tour was moved to be surrounded by the whole Freeride family. In fact, that evening, the flanks of the Bec des Rosses brought together freeriders of all ages. From 17 year old Victor Hale-Woods , to the 72 year old Jean Troillet. 

The director of this event was none other than the night shooting specialist, Nicolas Falquet who filmed and edited the video. The photographer Dominique Daher, who conscious of the importance of the moment, admitted to trembling slightly before pushing the shutter to release for the 6 minute exposure. He could not afford to miss this crucial shot. The result is simply stunning. 

The 25th anniversary cannot be fully celebrated without the 25th edition of the Verbier Xtreme, which is already cued for the 2021. Stay tuned to see what the Freeride World Tour has in store for its fans, athletes, and partners for the 25th edition of the Verbier Xtreme, as the legends who built its reputation over the years have already confirmed their presence! 

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ID Card for the Bec des Rosses :

Altitude : 3223m
Descent : 650m
Angle : 35° -  50°
Orientation : North East
First edition of the Verbier Xtreme: 1996

The 3 athletes that skied the Bec des Rosses at night :

  • Yann Rausis : FWT rider since 2017, Verbier local, finished 4th in Verbier Xtreme in 2017
  • Jérémie Heitz: Competed in the FWT for 5 seasons (2nd place overall in 2015 an 3rd in 2014), a once in a generation skier as shown in his emblematic steep skiing film “La Liste”
  • Xavier De Le Rue: Snowboarder, 3x FWT world champion (2008,2009,2010) and 3x winner of the Verbier Xtreme (2009,2010,2011) 

The 25 candles that illuminated the Bec des Rosses :

  1. Isabelle De Lalène : Member of the organisational commitee for the Verbier Xtreme in 1996 until 2011.
  2. Francine Janet-Moreillon : Member of the organisational committee for the first Verbier Xtreme: Francine was head of communication and then judge during 2 following editions of the Xtreme.
  3. Nicolas Hale-Woods : CEO of the FWT, co-founder of the Verbier Xtreme along with Philippe Buttet.
  4. Elisabeth Gerritzen : Winner of the 2019 Verbier Xtreme and FWT rider since 2017.
  5. Alain Guigoz : Member of the organizational committee for the first Verbier Xtreme and legal advisor for the FWT.
  6. Ueli Kestenholz : Rider in the 1st Verbier Xtreme and bronze medalist in Snowboard Giant Slalom in the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano.
  7. Géraldine Fasnacht : 3x winner of the Verbier Xtreme 2002, 2003, 2009. 
  8. Jean Troillet : Co-safety manager for the 1st Verbier Xtreme with Thierry Gasser. More than 10 summits of 8000m peaks including the 1st descente of Everest on a snowboard.
  9. Julien Hess : Member of the organisational committee from 2010-2020. General Manager of the FWT from 2016 – 2020. Co-founder of the Verbier E-Bike Festival.
  10. Victor Hale-Woods : Nicolas Hale-Woods son. Freeride Junior Tour (FJT) and Freeride Junior World Championships (FJWC) participant. 
  11. Thibault Hale-Woods : Nicolas Hale-Woods son. Freeride Junior Tour (FJT) and Freeride Junior World Championships (FJWC) participant.
  12. Claude-Alain Gailland : Head mountain guide and head of safety for the Verbier Xtreme for 20 years as well as head mountain guide for several FWT competitions (Japan, Alaska, etc..)
  13. Hugo Dentan : Pierrick Dentan’s son and Freeride World Qualifier (FWQ) rider.
  14. Paul Dentan : Pierrick Dentan’s son and Freeride World Qualifier (FWQ) rider. Vice World Champion (2nd place in Men Ski) at the FJWC. 
  15. Pierrick Dentan : Member of organisational committee since the 1st Verbier Xtreme and weather coordinator for 22 years. 
  16. Raphy Gillioz : 3rd place Ski men in the 2009 Verbier Xtreme. Mountain guide and patroller at Telenendaz.
  17. Julien Willenegger : Member of the safety team. 
  18. Michel Marcon : Member of the safety team.
  19. Leo Slemett : 2017 Men’s Ski World Champion. Member of the Pro Freerider Board (PFB)
  20. Phil Meier : Rider during the Verbier Xtreme and first FWT competitions.
  21. Nicolas Pasquier : 3rd place in Ski men category in the 2007 Verbier Xtreme. 
  22. Michel Voirol : Gilles Voirol’s father. Gilles finished 2nd place in the 1st Verbier Xtreme in 1996 and 3rd in 1997. Gilles died in Canada in 2002. The Verbier Xtreme trophy is named in his honour
  23. Ruth Leisibach : Quintuple winner of the Verbier Xtreme (2001, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008) and snowboard world champion in 2008
  24. Lars Langenskiöld : Former Marketing manager for Red Bull Switzerland, title sponsor for the 1st Verbier Xtreme.
  25. Yannick Ducrot : Member of the organisational committee since the 1st Freeride World Tour competition in 2008 / Head of operations.