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  • Freeriding... The Buzz
    Learn the essentials so you can communicate with your kids!

    Photo courtesy Rossignol/PedrottiWhat's 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 abilities.

    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.

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