After what may have been the shortest off-season in the history of the Freeride Mountain Bike (FMB) World Tour, the preliminary 2023 FMB World Tour calendar has been announced. Already confirmed to have a record-breaking number of women’s events, more Gold and Silver level stops than last season, and a new country on the calendar, the freeride mountain biking scene continues to grow at a steady rate.
A schedule of 35 FMB Bronze (19), Silver (7), Gold (5), and Diamond (4) level events, with more in the works, will host riders across 14 different countries through to the end of November. While the 2023 FMB World Tour officially kicked off in January with Queenstown Bike Festival, fans and riders should consider that only a precursor (and a good one at that) to what is still to come. Here is what they can expect:
- 20 FMB Bronze and Silver level events are confirmed to host sanctioned women’s categories.
- Portugal Bike Fest will be the first ever FMB sanctioned event held in Portugal.
- Three National Series’ – Swiss Dirt Series (SUI), Ultimate Freerider Series (USA), and Australian Slopestyle Tour (AUS) – are set to support regional freeride mountain bike events through the creation of their own ranking.
- FMB Gold level events iXS Dirt Masters and Red Bull Roof Ride will return to the calendar after a six-year and one-year hiatus, respectively.
- The Crankworx FMBA Slopestyle World Championship (SWC) title is back up for grabs with four FMB Diamond level events in only five months.
View the most up to date 2023 FMB World Tour calendar.
The 2022 launch of the FMB World Tour Women’s Division was well received by the mountain biking community, with many calling for more events and more opportunity still for women in freeride. The call has been answered with 20 FMB Bronze and Silver level events already confirmed to host a women’s category in the 2023 season.
On how the growth of the Women’s Division has affected her outlook on the future of women in freeride, Michaela Hajkova (CZE) thinks “it’s amazing – it will for sure open this sport for lots of women and bring more awareness to the women’s freeride community.” Fellow competitor, Alma Wiggberg (SWE), shared a similar sentiment: “I think it’s absolutely a step in the right direction. There’s already been a lot of new faces showing up during off-season and with all these events happening in a lot of different places I think it will be an exciting season for the women’s Slopestyle scene.”
With a big season ahead, the 2022 Female Red Bull Rookie of the Year award winners certainly have their eyes set on a few events, both particularly excited for the new Iron Town Session on the calendar. On what the upcoming season might look like for her, Hajkova continued: “This season for me will probably be just in Europe, so I’m planning to attend every event I can here. The one I’m most excited about is Iron Town Session because it’s in my home country and then Birell BikeFest in Kalnica, as it was an amazing event last year.” Wiggberg also shared her plans for the 2023 season: “I have a vision of which events I want to do this year. One of them that really caught my eye is Iron Town Session in CZE. I’m also looking forward to taking part in the Big White Bronze event (Big White Freeride Days) this year.”
Another event that male and female riders alike may have their sights set on is the entirely new Portugal Bike Fest, bringing the FMB World Tour to the coastal country for the first time ever. Event organizer, Gonçalo Mendes, shared some insight as to what the Bronze level event has in store: “Portugal Bike Fest is a unique event in Portugal that will feature exhibitions from the most recognized brands of the industry, as well as a set of activities, competitions, workshops, and conferences that will attract thousands of visitors to participate in the event. The track will have a unique environment and be full of unique, world-class, and Olympic infrastructure, with the final route still being worked on.”
On the development of the freeride scene in Portugal, Mendes continued: “The freeride [scene] has been developing positively in recent years, with the appearance of national championships and circuits featuring the presence of national and international athletes. [They] attract the presence and interest of the public, which is something that Portugal Bike Fest intends to develop with the realization of the first ever competition [on the FMB World Tour].”
Expected to round out the FMB Bronze and Silver level events are the three National Series – Swiss Dirt Series, Ultimate Freerider Series, and Australian Slopestyle Tour – each hosting a three-stop series in their respective countries, Switzerland, the United States, and Australia.
Also on offer this season is a calendar of FMB Gold level events not seen this plentiful since 2019. Of the five events, iXS Dirt Masters and Red Bull Roof Ride will be a very welcome sight for those who missed the European staples. iXS Dirt Masters is back on the schedule for the first time since 2016 and the return of Red Bull Roof Ride will no doubt bring a crowd similar to that of its 2021 edition which featured thousands in the heart of Katowice, Poland.
At the highest level of competition is the new season of Diamond level events kicking off at the end of March, where the Crankworx FMBA SWC title will be back up for grabs. With Maxxis Slopestyle in Memory of McGazza returning to pole position on the Crankworx World Tour calendar, the preliminary rider list has already been released and is set to bring 16 of the world’s best freeride athletes to Rotorua, New Zealand.
Following January’s Queenstown Bike Festival, the 2023 FMB World Tour season will continue in the Southern Hemisphere with the next event, Highline Mountain Bike Festival, bringing riders to the Land Down Under. Returning for its second year in a row as a FMB Silver level event, the caliber of riding will be a sweet teaser to the first Diamond level event only one week later.