From ripping the park and shredding the backcountry to surfing and skydiving, Thibault Magnin uses his vast background in extreme sports for inspiration in his professional career. After receiving a season wildcard, the young athlete is set to make his FWT debut, but can he harness his freestyle success and find freeride fame? The FWT takes a moment to find out how he thinks he will fare in the big mountains.
The transition from freestyle to freeride is something that we are seeing more and more. Tell us about your skiing background, and why did you choose to switch codes?
My career has mostly centered around park riding, competing in freestyle World Cups and the Olympics. However, exploring every aspect of skiing has always been important, and the Quiksilver Young Guns Ski 2018 opened my eyes to freeriding. Last season, I won the Red Bull Infinite Lines backcountry event, which again highlighted how much joy I get out of this format – and that I’m actually pretty good at it. The two disciplines go hand in hand, so having experience in both is always beneficial. Overall, I’m really stoked to be starting this new chapter!
Will you still compete in freestyle events this season?
Yes, for those wondering, I’m not stopping freestyle. I’ll be doing 4 World Cup events until December, before focusing on the FWT. Hopefully, I will make the cut and progress to the FWT Finals but, otherwise, there are more freestyle events toward the end of the season. The Olympic qualifiers for the 2026 Games in Milan are also next year, which is another big goal and focus for me. But it has always been a dream of mine to compete on the FWT, so I couldn’t say no to this opportunity and I feel like it’s the perfect time to step into the freeride arena on the biggest scale, I am looking forward to the opportunity.
How did you find it competing in the FWT Qualifiers for the first time this summer in New Zealand? Do you feel ready to take your chances on the FWT? What are your goals and biggest fears?
It was a dream come true when I received the phone call about the wildcard invitation this summer, and I didn’t expect this opportunity so early in my career. After accepting the wildcard I was traveling to New Zealand so I decided to registered for the FWT Qualifier events as I knew it would be really good practice and as I had never competed in freeride competitions in this format. It gave me a better idea of what freeriding is, as well as how it feels to compete and what the judges are looking for, which is so different from freestyle skiing. It was a great first step before the FWT events, I feel that both my general skiing and freestyle backgrounds will be good assets. I still have a lot to learn, and I’m looking forward to progressing my freeriding, and hopefully putting on a good performance.
You have a team and a coach to support you during freestyle competitions, which is often different from freeriding. Do you plan to have a coach on the Freeride World Tour?
I think I will go by myself. I have a few mentors that I'm going to ski with in December and January after the freestyle competitions, which will help me a lot. For example, Aurélien Ducroz – two-time Xtreme Verbier champion – will give me some freeride insights, such as helping me visualize lines, which will also provide me with a lot of inspiration. But I’m actually looking forward to having more freedom, doing my own thing, and following my passion for skiing.
Hailing from both Spain and Switzerland – as well as living in Andorra – means three stops are basically in your home mountains. Do you think this is an advantage?
It's crazy to think that three of the stops are pretty much where I grew up. Starting the tour in Spain is super exciting, and then Andorra right after is just amazing. It’s going to be fantastic to see my family and friends supporting me, which will help me a lot. I hope to put on a good performance and make them all proud!
Which one of the three are you most looking forward to?
In my heart, it’s hard to choose between Spain and Andorra, but I think Baqueira Beret because it’s the first event and it’s in Spain. I’m so excited and can’t wait to be there already!
We all know you have a deep bag of tricks. Do you have any you want to try in the big mountains on tour? Perhaps something never seen before on the FWT?
I want to develop my freeriding, so I’m not really planning to go full freestyle mode, but rather combine skiing fast with big airs. That said, I am certainly looking forward to putting down some sick tricks that have probably never been done before in FWT competition, but I’ll keep you in suspense for now and decide closer to the events.