We've said it before, and we'll say it again: the Freeride World Tour is the best competition series in snowboarding.

While the freestyle disciplines flounder in a quagmire of competing organisations, clashing calendars and perpetually-rebranded events, the FWT is relatively easy to follow.

The tour visits some of the most iconic freeride locations on the planet, with a straightforward format and scoring system. All of the tour's biggest names are at every event, and you can tune in to the live stream wherever you are, for free.

"While most pros focus on freeriding later in their careers, few of them - especially the male ones - head for the FWT"

And yet it remains a bit of a niche, never coming close to the exposure that, say, the X Games - or the similarly-structured World Surf League - generates. There's no shortage of gnar factor... so what's the problem?

Perhaps it's down to the lack of marquee names. While most pros tend to focus on freeriding later in their careers, few of them - especially the male ones - head for the FWT.

Travis Rice

Perhaps that'll change with the announcement that Travis Rice will be throwing his hat into the ring this year. He's signed up for the first Freeride World Qualifier event to be held in Japan, which is due to go down tomorrow (weather permitting).

Whatever you think of his movies, it's a cast-iron fact that Trav knows the backcountry better than almost anyone. His Jackson Hole upbringing made him the ultimate all-rounder, capable of bombing the tightest gaps and dropping the biggest cliffs. Plus, as the organiser of the Red Bull Supernatural/Ultra Natural events, he's no stranger to the concept of competitive freeriding.

"A few more big names could certainly raise the FWT's profile"

If we're lucky, his presence on the FWT might attract a few more legendary pow hounds into the fold, too. Can you imagine seeing Gigi Rüf, Nicolas Müller, Jeremy Jones and Terje Haakonsen on the start list alongside Travis? Don't tell us you wouldn't tune in for that.

They'll never get everyone - despite the fact that Annie Boulanger would probably clean up the women's event, she has no interest in anything with a scoreboard - but a few more big names could certainly raise the FWT's profile. While Travis might just be dipping his toe in for now, let's hope it's the start of something amazing.