Press Release
8 April 2024

PR38 – FWT Challenger by Orage finished for the season, securing the final spots for FWT 2025

Huge performances in the year’s final event in Obertauern

·    Final FWT Challenger event of the season completed in Obertauern, Austria

·   Qualified riders for FWT 2025 have now been decided in both regions

·   Epic day of freeriding with standout performances

OBERTAUERN, Austria – April 5, 2024: The FWT Challenger by Orage has officially wrapped up for the season, following the final event in Region 1 today. After a short delay, athletes took to the slopes at the 2024 Open Faces Obertauern FWT Challenger and delivered stunning performances, albeit in tricky conditions. This means that the roster for FWT 2025 is now complete, signaling the end of a stellar FWT 2024 season. The test continues next year for the select few who have qualified, and all eyes will be on them to see if they can challenge the world’s best freeriders in the FWT.  

Here are all the winners from Obertauern today, as well as the riders from Region 1 who will join the FWT in 2025…

2024 Open Faces Obertauern FWT Challenger winners

In the Ski Men’s category, Joan Aracil (AND) put down a clean run with massive drops and huge stomps to take the win, which was especially impressive given the challenging conditions today. Mila De Le Rue (FRA) – daughter of FWT legend Xavier – claimed her first FWT Challenger win in the Ski Women’s category with an incredible run, including a huge backflip to bolts. This freeride prodigy is definitely one to watch in the near future.

Noémie Equy (FRA) earned her third win of the FWT Challenger season in the Snowboard Women’s category, showing the judges her true class with a fast and fluid line, connecting loads of features with tricks and stylish turns. In the Snowboard Men’s, Rémi Benamo (SUI) found a fast and steep line, combining loads of tricks with technical riding to finish in first place ahead of a strong field.

FWT 2025 qualified riders from Region 1

Following consistent and high-level performances, here are the riders from Region 1 who will join FWT 2025, and have their shot at the World Title alongside the world’s best freeriders:

Ski Men

1. Virgile Didier (FRA)

Virgile had an extremely impressive season, showing the consistency and level-headedness needed to compete at the highest level. Along with two podiums – and a fourth place today – in the FWT Challenger series, he also claimed two wins and a third in FWT Qualifier 4* events in 2024. This well and truly earned him the top spot in the rankings and a place alongside the world’s best next year.    

“I’m super happy! It’s a dream to qualify for the Freeride World Tour. I don’t have a lot of words right now… it’s crazy that I will compete on the Pro Tour next season!”

-    Virgile Didier

2. Tiemo Rolshoven (GER)

At only 19 years old, this young rider has already racked up a string of FWT Junior and Qualifier wins before entering the FWT Challenger series this season. He continued this form with a huge win in Kitzsteinhorn, followed by a fifth place in Avoriaz and eighth today, which was enough to leave him in second overall and book his ticket in the big leagues next year.

“I’m speechless, to be honest. The pressure was immense, but it feels amazing to have this pressure off my shoulders now.”

-    Tiemo Rolshoven

3. Joan Aracil (AND)

After a slow start in the first two events, Joan found his form – and a new gear – and went from strength to strength in his FWT Challenger campaign. A fourth in Avoriaz kept the dream alive for the young man from Andorra, and a win today rocketed him up the rankings and into qualification territory.

“I don’t even know how I feel right now, I’m still in a bubble. I was tense at the starting gate, and thinking about the rankings, but now I have qualified for the Freeride World Tour!”

-    Joan Aracil

4. Mathys Fornasier (FRA)

In just his second year of FWT Qualifier competitions, Mathys secured enough points for a FWT Challenger ticket, of which he took full advantage. The highlight of his season came from a huge win in Avoriaz, which put him on the radar for qualification, and he did enough today to make it happen.   

“How could I feel better? It’s just amazing! I put down quite a bad run, but at least it worked out. I’m so happy!”

-    Mathys Fornasier

Ski Women

1. Jenna Keller (SUI)

With three second-place finishes, Jenna earned her place at the top of the overall rankings. This Verbier local is no stranger to freeride competition – with four competitive seasons under her belt, and multiple podiums – giving her some much-needed experience heading into the FWT next year.

“I’m a bit surprised – I didn’t expect to get this far this season. It was actually supposed to be my last season competing, and I was planning on retiring after this competition! I have no words… I just need to wrap my head around the fact that it’s not time to retire for me.”

-    Jenna Keller

2. Lena Kohler (GER)

Only 200 points behind was Lena Kohler, who claimed two wins – Monterosa and Kitzsteinhorn – out of four starts, and a sixth place today. Her powerful skiing was one to watch this season, and is the kind of approach that promises results on the FWT.

“I’m overwhelmed; I can’t stop crying. This is just crazy.”

-    Lena Kohler

Snowboard Women

1. Noémie Equy (FRA)

Noémie absolutely dominated the category this season, claiming three wins from four events – and a throwaway third – to finish 1,200 points ahead of the next athlete. This young rider from Val Thorens has stacked up the silverware this year – also earning two wins and a second in 4* events – proving she is the real deal, and one to watch for many years to come.  

“I’m so, so happy! I still don’t realize it, when I understood that I qualified I just started crying. I’m so happy to let go all the stress of this season. I’m super excited for next year. Now I want to train more and improve my level to be ready for the Freeride World Tour!”

  • Noémie Equy

Snowboard Men

1. Enzo Nilo (FRA)

Enzo had a disappointing FWT 2023 season, which saw him miss the cut and drop back down to the FWT Qualifiers. However, it didn’t take him long to rekindle the form that got him there, delivering an ultra-consistent season in 2024 with two huge wins in Kitzsteinhorn and Avoriaz, and a sixth here today that sealed his spot on the FWT 2025.

“I’m so stoked! The Freeride World Tour, baby! It was so hard and the snow was so sticky that I almost fell three times, but I eventually made it on my feet.”

-    Enzo Nilo

2. Rémi Benamo (SUI)

Rémi was another athlete who enjoyed incredible consistency this year, with a throwaway sixth in the opening event, before claiming a third in Kitzsteinhorn and a third in Avoriaz. However, he needed something big today to qualify, and delivered under immense pressure to claim victory and a FWT ticket.

“I’m so excited. I can’t believe it; this is amazing. Congrats to everybody!”

-   Rémi Benamo

And that’s a wrap for the FWT Challenger by Orage season, with all the comps in both regions now complete. Congratulations to all the athletes who participated and captivated both fans and judges, with a special acknowledgment to the winners and FWT-qualified riders. They demonstrated resilience under pressure, earning themselves the opportunity to join the esteemed list of FWT World Champions.

With the season now complete, it’s time to reflect on the incredible action witnessed, and the promising year ahead in 2025. Stay tuned to the FWT channels and over the summer months for any updates.

About the FWT

FWT Management SA is based in Verbier, Switzerland, and has been organizing premier sports events globally in mountain resorts since 1996. The company founded the Xtreme Verbier, an iconic event in freeride skiing and snowboarding and, in 2008, it turned this single competition into a prestigious series of worldwide events, called the Freeride World Tour (FWT). The company has since grown to include multiple competition series that fall under the FWT brand – including FWT Challenger, FWT Qualifier and FWT Junior – with events across all formats taking place in Europe, North America, South America and Oceania. Since December 2022, FWT is part of the International Ski and Snowboard Federation (FIS).

About Orage

Representing today’s modern mountain culture, Orage offers three seasons of outerwear, casual wear, layering, base layers and accessories; all designed to keep you warm, dry, comfortable and most importantly looking like no one else around. Born from a passion for skiing and a love of the mountains, Orage blurs the lines between fashion and function. We live to ski, we're obsessed with clothing, we believe in innovation through style, since 1989.