what is freeride snowboarding?

What Is Freeride Snowboarding?

by Fraser

When it comes to snowboarding, there’s a wide range of disciplines to explore. One of the most popular is freeride snowboarding.

But what is freeride snowboarding exactly?

Well, let me break it down for you.

Freeride Snowboarding (Q & A)

What Is Freeride Snowboarding?

Freeride snowboarding is an aggressive style of snowboarding with a focus on speed, steep inclines, carving, powder and natural features. Freeride snowboarding often involves riding untouched terrain, such as the backcountry.

What Is A Freeride Snowboard?

Freeride snowboards are specifically designed for freeride snowboarding. They are longer and stiffer, providing stability at speed and improved edge hold when carving. Freeride boards often feature camber profiles, a directional shape and a sintered base (for speed). This improves performance on steep inclines and in powder.

Those are the highly abbreviated freeride definitions (I know some of you are short on time). If you’re interested in learning more about freeride snowboarding, keep reading!

The Essence of Freeride Snowboarding

Freeride snowboarding is all about chasing untouched terrain, seeking out the steepest slopes, and embracing the raw beauty of the mountain.

Unlike traditional resort snowboarding (in designated trails or parks), freeride takes you off-piste, where the real adventure begins.

freeride snowboarding definition

Explore the backcountry, find fresh powder, and carve your own path down the mountain.

Note: Freeride also includes groomers. Bombing runs and laying out hard carves is one of the joys of freeriding. But the true definition of freeriding (or at least my definition) involves shredding the whole mountain*. 

*The difference between this and all-mountain riding is which areas you’re most focused on. All-mountain boards are better suited to terrain parks, groomed runs and occasional powder. Freeride boards are the opposite. 

The Mountain Is Your Playground

You might be somewhat confused about the difference between freeride and freestyle snowboarding. I don’t blame you!

These days, there is a lot more crossover between disciplines. Not least because the boards (and riders) are more capable of handling different conditions.

Method grab, Red Bull Bavarian freeride tour

Basically, freeride snowboarding still involves “freestyle” elements. However with freeride snowboarding, the mountain becomes your playground.

You’re no longer confined to freestyle parks or groomed areas. You send tricks over natural features like cliffs, rollers, and powder bowls. You’re more focused on speed, fun and style, rather than landing a double cork. 

Freeride Snowboarding Footage

Why don’t we break up the text with a few videos?

First up, here’s legendary freeride snowboarder Xavier De Le Rue giving some freeride tips. 

Next up, here’s a POV of Travis Rice winning the 2019 Freeride World Tour. Notice how he throws freestyle tricks on the natural features? 

Finally, if you’re in the mood for a full feature length freeride snowboarding movie, here’s Red Bull’s Frozen Mind.

Warning: may contain skiing. 

The Thrill of Unpredictability

Freeride snowboarding embraces the unpredictable nature of the mountain. Every descent is a potential challenge. You’ll be navigating through changing snow conditions, steep slopes, and hidden obstacles. 

Sounds like fun? 

Maybe you’re a freeride snowboarder! 

A Connection with Nature

Freeride snowboarding offers a unique connection with nature.

As you venture into the backcountry, you’ll find yourself surrounded by breathtaking landscapes, untouched powder fields and the peaceful solitude of the mountains.

It’s an opportunity to escape the crowded slopes. Sometimes it’s better to take the path less travelled!

The Gear and Preparation

However, remember to respect the mountains. They are unpredictable.

Unlike groomed slopes, off-piste areas have not been assessed for danger. 

When it comes to freeride snowboarding, having the right gear is therefore crucial. A reliable and sturdy snowboard with good float in powder is essential.

backcountry gear for freeride snowboarding

Additionally, specialized safety equipment such as avalanche transceivers, probes, and shovels should always be carried. Perhaps even more importantly, educate yourself about backcountry and avalanche safety. 

Here’s some basic avalanche safety tips to get you started. Rule number one, never go alone! 


So, what is freeride snowboarding?

Well, it’s essentially snowboarding’s purest form. The pursuit of speed, adrenaline, a connection with nature and the joy of exploring untouched terrain.

Adventure awaits!

Happy riding.  

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