With The World Title In Reach
If you still haven’t seen Drew Tabke’s winning line in Fieberbrunn you should take a look. Drew pulled off a great run combining fast big mountain skiing with two major perfectly stomped freestyle drops, which seems to be his trademark style. A big mountain rider with several first descents in the cascades of Washington State under his belt, he also has some top-5 finishes in slopestyle competitions in the US Freeski Open. Fieberbrunn was Drew’s first win on the Swatch Freeride World Tour but he has been on or close to the podium all season.
The Seattle based skier is a pure freerider with no formal training. Just a big passion for the mountains, skiing with friends, finding the best snow, steepest lines and best jumps. The talent is there. Sometimes he doesn't freeride for months because he's surfing or climbing peaks and he somehow still stomps his backflips. He has been competing in freeride competitions for quite a while now and is finally in a pretty good position to win the Freeride World Champion title, currently sitting on second place on the overall ranking. Check out what he has to say before the finals in Verbier:
FWT: You are defending Freeskiing World Champion (American based tour) and now you have a chance to win the Freeride World Tour! Are you going for a double this year?
DT: This year I considered trying to compete on both tours, but North America has been having a very low snow year and as a result a few of the Freeskiing World Tour competitions were rescheduled making an already very complicated schedule even harder. I really love both of the world tours and wish I could do everything, but the reality of budgets and schedules meant I stuck with the Freeride World Tour. No one has ever been the world champion on both tours so that's a big goal for me, for sure. I also look forward to cooperation between the Americas and Europe allowing for a single, unified world championship.
FWT: You competed in the Freeride World Tour its inception year in 2008 and then in 2009. Then you were back as a wild card on some comps and now 2012 you are back full on?
DT: I competed on the Freeride World Tour in 2008 (with a 2nd in Russia and a 2nd in Verbier) and in 2009 but with too many crashes to re-qualify. I skied the Xtreme Verbier last year as a wild card, and this year I am on the tour as a season wild card.
FWT: How does it feel to be back as a wild card, winning in Fieberbrunn and now having a chance to win the title?
DT: Honestly I feel like I deserve it. I've been committed to freeride competitions for eight-plus years of my life and all of that experience is what’s letting me have a successful season.
FWT: Tell us how you feel going to Verbier?
DT: Going to Verbier in this position is really quite heavy mentally and emotionally. It is always an intimidating place to ride and there is a ton of pressure with the world title in reach. But when it comes down to competition day I will approach it just like any other run, which is to say I will ski to the very best of my abilities and enjoy the entire run. That's all I can ever guarantee!
FWT: Tell us about the Bec des Rosses and riding it.
DT: I've ridden the Bec de Rosses two times now and I haven't been really happy with either of those runs. I definitely am looking forward to having another chance to ride this amazing face. I especially want to find a nice air for a 360 or backflip, hopefully I find the right jump!
FWT: You are one of the few riders how have been integrating freestyle moves in more or less every comp this year tell us what is typical for your style.
DT: Yeah, I've done a 360 or backflip in every single competition this year! I love incorporating freestyle into my runs, but I think the drawback is that sometimes you have to choose a less impressive line in order to find a good air to try a trick. My ultimate goal is to ski the same line as the other top riders and land a trick where others only did a straight air.
FWT: What do you have that the others don’t?
DT: I don't think I have any skills that others don't - the riders on the FWT are an incredibly experienced and talented group. At this level since our skill levels are so similar, what makes the difference is the decision making around which line you'll ride and how you'll do it.
FWT: What’s your goal with the FWT?
DT: Right now my goal is simply to win the overall title of the 2012 FWT. In the bigger picture I'd like to be involved in the long-term progress of our sport, which includes nurturing the junior scene and incorporating more countries into the world tour.
FWT: Who will you look out for most on the Bec?
DT: The Bec is extremely challenging, even in the best conditions. I think the riders who stand out the most are the most fearless and the strongest technically. Reine Barkered, Sam Smoothy, and Aurelien Ducroz are definitely all capable of winning in Verbier. Chamonix winner Richard Amacker has also been looking very smooth this year and his style will definitely shine on the Bec. Hell, it could be anybody!
FWT: Any rider that has influenced you more than others?
DT: I think Xavier de le Rue is the strongest rider on skis or board, so I’m always inspired by his riding. I've also been super impressed with Reine Barkered's skiing in the last couple of years. He has really pushed my skiing to be more fluid. His top to bottom style is amazing!
FWT: What is most important with skiing?
DT: Sliding. No I'm serious! This is it for me - you strap skis on your feet and that feeling of gliding along is like nothing else in the world. Whether its flying down the Bec des Rosses in a competition or just cruising along something really easy enjoying the scenery: skiing is magic.
FWT: Anything you want to add?
DT: As Jim Jack would say, "this is a celebration!"