Freeriding... The Buzz
Learn the essentials so you can communicate with your kids!
in a name? Well, if you've been following skiing for the past decade you might
wonder. From "new school" to "extreme" to the latest moniker, "freeriding," skiing
has changed its name more times than the artist formerly known as Prince.
No matter, because any
which way you slice it, the latest incarnation of our sport, freeriding, is still
just skiing. Freeriding is the millennium's new attitude for how today's skiers
approach the mountain, according to SnowSports Industries America (SIA), the nonprofit
trade association representing ski, snowboard and other winter outdoor companies.
From glades to bumps to
air and backcountry adventure, it's all about fun. Forget the stodgy attitudes,
this is skiing how it used to be and will, at its soul, always be: a way to fly
down the mountain with a big smile on your face.
"Today the people pushing
the sport are combining their own creativity with athleticism, that's where the
sport is going." So says professional skier Shane McConkey, founder of the International
Free Skiing Association, a governing body that represents athletes and sanctions
freeride competitions-expression/session style events that are similar to professional
surfing events. "There's a demand to bring the sport back to its roots, show the
sport as what it is. It's about having fun."
Competition aside, the
new emphasis on freeriding and fun has permeated all aspects of skiing. Resorts
were the first to catch on, building terrain parks, opening backcountry gates
and encouraging all sorts of individuals to get out of the house and onto the
mountain. Now the fun has translated into programs for skiers of all ages and
Look for freeriding skis
for kids as well as terrain parks, kid's skier cross events, and a new interest
in equipment. See our article on KidzGear for the latest in new freeriding equipment.