Freeride Skiing

Freeride is a term used to describe off piste skiing, usually in and around a ski resort area.

It is a different discipline to ski touring as Freeride skiing is very much about the down. Freeriders will use the resorts lift systems to do most or all of the work up hill. Sometimes it will be necessary for Freeride skiers to walk or skin for a short distance in order to access fresh powder or new terrain in different valley systems but typically the ammount of time spent hiking or skinning will be 1 or 2 hours maximum.

Generally freeride skiers are more focused on enjoying the descent so they have different kit requirements to ski tourers (who will often spend much more time pushing skis up hill). As a result, Freeride skis, boots and bindings are designed to give good downhill performance rather than being ultra light weight.

Freeride skis are mostly wider (95mm+ underfoot) and will often have tip and tail rockers to make them more agile and to help keep them afloat in powder. They will usually have a longer turn radius than piste skis, typically 18m+ and they may have twin tips. These skis will be heavier than touring skis which reflects the ammount of time spent carrying or skinning with them.

Freeride boots will have a walk mode to make hiking more comfortable and interchangable sole units so they can be used in either Alpine ISO or touring type bindings. These two features define what we refer to as a freeride boot. They are generally heavier than touring boots but will give more skiing support and better power transmission.

Freeride bindings such as the Salomon Guardian 16 BC have touiring functions allowing you to skin but they are designed for good ski performance and edge to edge power transmission rather than being light weight.