Travis Rice, Gigi Ruf and Tanner Hall all feature on the podium at 2019 FWT Hakuba.

Travis Rice has beaten Austrian snowboarding legend Gigi Ruf to claim his maiden Freeride World Tour victory, with a dominant performance that featured a massive 720 and a backflip. Rice continues his love affair with Hakuba, following on from his success in 2017’s Freeride World Qualifier where he nailed a 96-point ride in testing conditions.

In the ski event, Italian freeride skier and former Olympian Markus Eder took the prize ahead of American wildcard Tanner Hall – one of the biggest names in skiing. Eder’s aggresive line and stylish flatspin 360 won him the nod from the judges, but eyes will continue to be on Hall at the next tour stop after an impressive debut ride that featured backflips and spins.

Event organisers will be thankful that they finally go their chance to showcase Hakuba as one of the world’s best freeride locations, after two testing years that saw last year’s event relocated to Kicking Horse, Canada.

The pressure will now be on Kiroro (Hokkaido) to deliver the good for its first Freeride World Qualifier event, the only other Japanese location on the calendar. Freeride Kiroro 2* 2019 will take place from February 19–22.

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