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Freeride - Freetouring Skis

Freetouring Skis
Freetouring Skis
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More about Freeride & Freetouring Ski

Whether you want to get to the mountain quickly with your bike and skis mounted on the frame, or arrive at the ski resort after a tiring traffic jam. You just want to get up the mountain in an easy way and sometimes take the gondola? But you still conquer the last metres of altitude in steep gullies or hidden peaks with skins, poles and muscle power? Then freeride & freetouring skis are exactly the right instruments for making harmonious turns on still untracked slopes. 

Honestly, we really racked our brains over the category of freeride & freetouring skis – what are actually freeride skis, and what are rather wide touring skis? The similarities between these supposed categories are so great that the usage, whether purely alpine (downhill) or in the ski touring sector, can no longer be clearly defined, and indeed must be!

“Free”, says it all, you can decide whether you want to ski massive powder runs at half-hour intervals or maybe reach the summit before the first rays of sunshine. This category blurs the boundaries between lightweight all-round touring skis and thick freeride planks.

With partners like Armada, Atomic, Rossignol, DPS, Black Crows, Faction and many more, we offer you a versatile range of freeride & free touring skis. Whether you still consider yourself a beginner or you've been skiing for years, with this category guide, we'll help you find the right freeride & touring ski. Come with us into the sandbox, we'll build your ski set!

Radius, Waist, Rocker & Co.

From tips and tails with surfboard-like shapes to dead straight skis, the cut of freeride and freetouring skis varies enormously and results in a wide range of key figures such as the radius or the lift behaviour in the deep snow.

The radius can be calculated from the cut, in other words the proportions of the ski and the ski length. Within a certain ski length, this provides information about turning ability and smoothness. If you often ski in groves, or you have to do switchbacks in gullies, a ski with a slightly shorter radius is recommended. This ski helps when there is not enough room to turn. Do you like to go a bit faster? When things get close, you just let it go? Then the longer radius will probably make you happy. Big turns on wide slopes are no problem! Long radiuses lead to maximum control at high speeds. 

The center width easily indicates how much snow can be displaced and how the skis float. Also, when landing in deep snow, a little more centre width will help you with stability. Watch out when traversing! In compact, icy conditions, skis with a higher centre width are much more difficult to set. Steadiness is key here. Just pack the crampons, and you'll be on the safe side in a worst-case scenario. 

The rocker provides information about the bending and beak behaviour of the ski under load, and therefore also determines how the edges will have grip. Freeride & freetouring skis have at least a tip rocker. The tip bends upwards against the preload. Depending on the manufacturer and model, the beak behaviour is more pronounced or reduced. Tip-rockered, tail-rockered and full-rockered skis offer maximum lift and playful riding characteristics. Over-rotated into the landing and going into reverse, no problem with rockered ski tails! Similar to the centre width, heavily rockered skis have an effect on the contact pressure of the edges and skins. Therefore, be careful when traversing.

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Differences in materials for freeride & touring skis?

Basically, all manufacturers use, less or more, the same raw materials for ski production. These Fabrics differ, depending on the desired skiing characteristics or criteria such as weight, torsion and bending behaviour. While lighter wood cores are used for lighter skis, wood cores with a high fibre density are used for more rigid skis. The wood core, which takes up the largest volume in the ski, lays the foundation for the later characteristics. Wood types such as caruba, poplar, ash, or even paulownia provide the basic material.

The cores are reinforced by carbon and glass fibre mats, titanal plates and many other layers. Each Fabric have its own special properties; vulcanized rubber, for example, has a vibration-damping effect.

Hybrid construction methods not only protect the core. Power transmission is created and, on the other hand, natural vibration is reduced, which ensures that the skis run smoothly and controllably at high speeds and impacts.

The sidewalls serve as fine-tuning of the desired stiffness. These are made of plastic and are glued and pressed together with the core and the various shells, layers, and edges

Stiff and heavier freeride and touring skis are still pleasant to ski on hard slopes if there is no snow. With lighter and also full-rocker skis, unfortunately, you will quickly have a lack of edge pressure. 

Bindings & boots for freeride and touring skis

Let's see, you've found your freeride or freetouring ski, and maybe you're one step further in the set configurator. Now you can choose from a variety of bindings. Using the “Ski-Category” filters, you can now either filter for ski touring bindings or you can choose alpine bindings and get a finer selection of each type. We recommend freeride bindings for alpine use and bindings for freetouring. 

Bindings of this type establish an optimized power transmission between skis and boots and guarantee better releases for either alpine or more stable touring ski boots. Freetouring bindings enclose the boots more extensively at the contact points and fit sensibly into the overall concept of freeride and freetouring skis.

The choice of boots depends individually on your wishes. Alpine boots without pin compatibility can only be combined with alpine bindings. For freeride and freetouring skis, ski boots with a longer shaft and a buckle system are best suited. The heavier, longer and wider your ski is, the more pressure you will get over your shins. A longer shaft will help you then, with a better distribution of force and pressure.

Also, when buying ski touring bindings, make sure that they offer attachments for crampons. Keyword: traversing! The same applies to touring boots, whereby the majority of the freetouring boots support crampons.

What length for freeride and freetouring skis?

Depending on the respective skill level and the usage area, for beginners we recommend a length just below the body height for freetouring skis. If your skiing skills are already advanced, you can choose a slightly longer ski. If you only ski downhill and don't make any hairpin turns, you can choose a slightly longer ski even as a beginner. Just take a look at our blog post “Ski Length Guide” there you will find even more information!

Equipment that should not be missed in any case!

You have your ski set configured? Maybe already ordered? You are excited about your new Fabrics and wonder if there is anything missing? The following “Hardware” material list helps you to complete your equipment and ensures flexibility, safety, and comfort on the mountain! Depending on the use, you can of course do without one or the other components.

Bucket list Freeride & Freetouring skis

• Touring skins, will be cut by us on request (order note)
• Crampons, matching the binding, for icy climbs and traverses
• Crampons & ice axe, for summit climbing in hard conditions
• Touring ski or powder poles, for small pack size in telescopic version
• Ski touring helmet, lightweight, well ventilated, also suitable for going uphill
• Avalanche transceiver set with shovel, probe, and locator
• Avalanche backpack, gas pressure or compressor system
• Thermos bottle and bottle pocket for backpack carrier attachment
• Climbing harness, light and compact for fast rappelling
• Single rope, webbing sling, HMS carabiner, for belaying and rappelling

Do you need more information around the topics: Freeride, Freetouring and Alpine Ski Mountaineering? Check out our blog articles. These are constantly fed with test reports, guides, and events.

Maybe there is already something for you here:

Which type of rocker is the right one for me?

Safely on the move with the right avalanche equipment

The great ski goggles guide: glasses, size and fit

Freetouring - the unique combination of touring and freeriding

Tips & Tricks: A guide to ski waxing

We hope you enjoy reading!