Are you the kind of skier who likes to hunt the gnarliest terrain on every mountain you visit. Do you find yourself distracted by jumping off each and every natural feature you rip past? Is powder more important to you than your career? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you probably should get yourself on a Freeride ski.
If this doesn’t really sound like you. That’s great too! If you’re not completely sure what ski size is best for you and your style, a good place to start is the guide I’ve created to help you decide the perfect ski width. If you’re completely new to the world of ski shape and design I’d also check out my post which details an essential understanding of ski shape, size and design. Understanding these basics will completely simplify the ski purchasing process and help you to narrow down the skis that work will work best for your skiing style, goals, body type and skill level.
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So what is a Freeride skis anyways?
Freeride skis are the perfect blend of of hard charging, powder performance and maneuverability. They allow you too float when needed, turn on a dime and allow just enough play for you to get creative. All-Mountain Freeride skis are wider than traditional All-Mountain skis (105-115mm waist width) and are flexible in the tip with some rocker. This rocker and thick waist allow you to float in pow all day long and will help disperse your weight and save your ACL’s from exploding when dropping mammoth cliffs. Freeride skis usually have good play so you can have fun on a variety of terrain with ease while still having solid edge for shredding down an icy couloir. All-Mountain Freeride skis don’t perform as well on the hardpack (groomers), but the new technology is making them better and better on crud and on-piste.
Here are my top 6 picks for Freeride Skis for the Resort or Backcountry in 2024.
Best Overall Freeride Ski 2024
Rossignol fans have been waiting for this ski for forever. Their 118 version of this ski is a blast, and rides amazing, but sometimes that’s just a bit too wide. Athletes wanted a Sender style ski that meets the Black Ops Ski. They nailed it at a 110mm and this ski is powerful, directional, strong and downright fun. If you saw Max Palm’s massive double backflip in the FWT, it was on these skis. BC boy Logan Pehota was also a massive inspiration in the development of this ski and his backcountry riding style is simply nutty, the guy is in a league of his own.
The Sender Free 110 has a powerful stiffness underfoot with a subtle tip and tail thanks to the balance of the shape. It’s easy to pivot and move around and Rossignol is working on the full range from 160-191. They can snap sideways quickly in the trees, but also have a round flex pattern that allows for some sweet groomer performance. It’s not light and you’ll feel the stability straight through these things. This ski is a great evolution from Rossignol and would absolutely be the perfect resort daily driver for a sender!
Best Big Mountain Freeride Ski 2024
At Whistler, I see a whole lot of Black Crow Anima’s. At first I thought it was a classic lift line flex, and everyone wanted to show off those sexy top sheets. But, Black Crows has not only nailed their branding and graphics, they have created a legendary ski that somehow perfectly blends powder performance and maneuverability. I’m not someone who’s fussed about weight and think these perform great in the Backcountry.
It’s shocking how well a ski this wide can still feel like a precision instrument on the hardpack. It holds you in, snaps you out and you’ll have comfort and stability at high speeds. So what’s the secret sauce here? A bit of Black Crow wizardry with a hint of Carbon and Kevlar wrapped around a wood core. The result is a smooth progressive flex in the tips and tails with a hearty does of stiffness underfoot.
I wouldn’t really recommend the Anima’s in the park, they are a little too big and stiff for that, but you’d be just fine hitting the jumpline and skipping the jibs. You’ll also have to work hard in moguls and tightly spaced trees, it’s a big mountain ski at the end of the day, especially if you’re running the 194cm length.
If you need any more convincing about the ride of these skis just watch some clips of FWT athlete Kristopfer Turdell or check out a Nikolai Shcrimer YouTube video.
Best All Round Freeride Ski 2024
When the Atomic Blog (a deeply loved midsized powder ski) was decommissioned, Atomic lovers were devastated. Although they toyed with a few models, nothing filled this gaping hole in their lineup until the Bent 110 rolled around.
These things are like a paintbrush on your feet and are perfect for someone who likes to turn the mountain into their canvas, regardless of the conditions. They work well for everything from skiing pow, jumps, jibs, spins and even walking uphill. One downside to the Bent 110 is that they fall short on the hardpack, they just aren’t that fun or snappy when you’re laying into corduroy. But, that’s a small tradeoff for their lightweight versatility and playfulness, and to be honest, if you’re taking out a 110mm width ski to the hill, it’s unlikely that hard pack is your focus.
They require a bit of speed on super deep and fluffy days compared to their brother the Bent Chetler 120 but, the Bent 110 performs exceptionally well on the ‘day after a storm chunder’. You’re trading some stability for playfulness, but I’ve seen plenty of free ride riders go massive in these skis. If you’re someone who like soft shovels and tails and playing around on natural features. The Bent 110 will be your best friend and daily driver.
Most Maneuverable Freeride Ski 2024
Picking the right freeride ski shouldn’t be a compromise, especially if you really appreciate hardpack and groomer performance. Most of the thick skis on this list will crush it in deep powder, but they tend to leave you hanging when conditions harden up. Say hello to your new one ski quiver, the Ripstick 106. These things are the ultimate cocktail of power, fluidity, agility and precision.
Their unmatched performance is all thanks to it’s Amphibio Carbon Line Technology (I have no clue what that means LOL, probably just marketing jargon. All jokes aside, the Ripstick 106 really does offer the perfect balance for someone who likes to ride mixed terrain all over the resort without losing confidence on big mountain lines. These things offer great grip in couloirs, easy turning in trees, and just enough buoyancy to have a blast in the powder. Even my favourite skier on earth Glen Plake is a fan of these things, so they must be good.
Most Playful Freeride Ski 2024
Need an easy riding, reliable ski that still manages to be super playful across the mountain. These things are fat enough to be floaty, they can handle big lines and have superhero stability all while being nimble.
This ski is quite lightweight and also provides a very soft flex pattern giving it a real easy edge release and control. There is a ton of rocker in the tip and tail making pivoting easy with just enough camber so you can lay it down on some groomers. The Dynaster M-Free quite honestly defines the words ‘smear’ and ‘slarve’, which is the easiest why to fly through the trees. If you’re someone who likes to build booters and land switch, these skis have a serious tail rocker and will make those landings a little easier, especially if you don’t go too big.
The fun factor on the M-Free 108 is off the charts, but if you’re looking for something hyper stable for high speed and edge control on big ass mountains, this might be a tad too flexi for ya. However, for the majority of riders, the Dynastar M-Free 108 might very well be the funnest ski to ever ride beneath your boots.
Best Freeride Powder Ski for Hard Chargers 2024
My weapon of choice on a powder day is the Nordica Enforcer 115. This is Noridca’s hardest charging, heaviest and burliest ski in the enforcer lineup. When I first stepped foot on them I was shocked by how easy they were to ride all over the mountain. The rocker profile made it super easy to pivot them and the stability at speed on all enforcers is the absolute best.
I’m beyond excited to get on a set of Nordica Unleashed this season. They are going to take all the things I loved about the Enforcer Free 115 and package it up in a much more playful free ski that is going to be a blast all over the mountain.
The Nordica Unleashed has less metal in the core, but this hasn’t come at the cost of stability or edge hold. These things are just as dependable at speed as every other Enforcer I’ve ever been on. But, their powder performance is beyond expceptional. The extra rocker allows for some amazing play and just like their older brother the 115 free, they somehow manage to lay it down easy on groomers or when the powder turns to chunder. Although I’m biased, if you charge hard, you can’t go wrong on anything in the Nordica lineup.
There are so many more amazing skis out there, but these are just the ones I’ve been on that I instantly fell in love with.
Let me know your favourite All-Mountain Freeride Skis in the comments below!