Wānaka skiers take top spots at fourth Freeride World Tour s

Wānaka skiers Craig Murray (first) and Hank Bilous (third) dominated the podium in the penultimate stop of the Freeride World Tour in Fieberbrunn, Austria last weekend | Snow Sports NZ

Central Otago freeride athletes were on top form at the fourth stop of this year’s Freeride World Tour (FWT20) held in Fieberbrunn, Austria on March 8, with Wānakans Craig Murray and Hank Bilous taking first and third place in men’s ski, and Blake Marshall (Queenstown) coming in fourth. All three skiers will advance to the finals in Verbier, Switzerland at the end of this month, currently ranking in fourth, fifth and sixth place respectively overall.

Also advancing will be Kiwi skier and Treble Cone worker Jessica Hotter, who, despite a crash landing on her backflip near the bottom of the course, is ranked fourth overall for women’s ski.  

Murray has been congratulated on what Freeride World Tour hailed as “one of the best runs we have ever seen,” after he was injured on the same slope this time last year - ending his season prematurely. Murray took to Facebook to announce that “it felt great to land the run after pushing the boundaries a little. I had a lot going through my head at the top after breaking my heel here last year, so being able to focus was a little tricky but rewarding.”

The FWT is the worldwide circuit of freeride snowboarding and skiing with the best riders in the world competing on the most legendary and challenging alpine faces at the most renowned ski resorts across the world. The weather window for the FWT20 Finals, known as the Verbier Xtreme, will be March 28 to April 5.

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