If you’re asking the question “what is freeride snowboarding?” then I don’t blame you. The term does get very confused in the snowboarding world.
Now I’m not going to claim that my definition of it is the right one – but I will offer you one definition – and I think it’s the best definition because it differentiates it as a riding style compared with all-mountain and freestyle.
Some other Definitions of Freeriding
Before I go into my definition I want to cover a couple of other freeriding definitions.
The main one is lumping freeriding and all-mountain riding together. A lot of people essentially call freeriding and all-mountain riding the same thing.
To me this is wrong – all mountain riding might involve some freeriding but will also involve other types of riding.
The other misconception (in my opinion) is lumping freestyle and freeriding together as the same thing. Whilst you can incorporate some freestyle riding into your freeriding it isn’t the same thing. The almost opposite nature of freestyle snowboards and freeride snowboards backs this up.
Related: Freeride Vs All Mountain Snowboards: What’s the Difference?
Related: Freeride vs Freestyle Snowboards – What’s the Difference?
Of course when it comes to styles it’s never black and white. One rider might like to go into the backcountry (off piste) and then decide they want to do some freestyle riding out there – whilst others will want to do the more traditional backcountry riding – freeriding!
There are a million different combinations of styles but defining certain styles helps us to know what we are closest to and this helps you to decide the type of snowboard that is best suited to you.
Related: The 6 Board Styles of Snowboarding
My Definition of Freeride Snowboarding
Freeriding is all about charging hard.
It’s built from riding various terrain in the backcountry. Whilst freeriding can be done on the groomers – it is much more “freeing” in the backcountry where there are less people to spoil your carves and more open terrain to explore and to press the limits in.
Freeriding is an aggressive style of riding which involves:
- Hard carves
- Steep slopes
- The need for speed
- Narrow chutes
- As much powder as you can find
- Tree runs
- Jumps and tricks off natural lips
This definition, in my opinion is more in line with what a freeride snowboard is and what a freeride snowboard is designed to do.
A freeride snowboard is:
- Stiff: A stiff board is more stable at high speeds, has better edge hold for hard carves
- Floats well in powder
- Usually has some camber in the profile (which is better for edge-hold and stability)
- Has a tapered directional shape (designed to go one way down the mountain in an aggressive way)
- Almost always has a sintered base for more speed and better gliding on flat spots
For more detail on freeride snowboards check out the link below.
Related: The Key Specs for Choosing a Freeride Snowboard
Perhaps the best way to describe freeriding is by showing some videos.
The first one here is the extreme end of freeriding or big mountain riding.
The second video below is still pretty extreme but it’s incorporating more freestyle aspects into it.
These tricks aren’t necessary to make it freeriding but can definitely be incorporated – and why not if you can do it and enjoy it!
Thanks for Reading
I hope this cleared up, at least somewhat, the question of what is freeriding. Of course it’s hard to pigeon hole a style into one thing – but hopefully this has given you a better impression of what freeride snowboarding is.
If you have other ideas on what freeriding is, and isn’t, it’d be awesome to hear your opinion (just leave a comment below). Or you could just comment on the sweet videos above – or just say what’s up. Always good to hear from fellow riders.
Photo by Ruth Hartnup [CC BY 2.0], via Flikr
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