Find the word definition


vb. (present participle of freeride English)


Freeriding is a style of snowboarding performed on natural, un-groomed terrain, without a set course, goals or rules. It evolved throughout the sport's formative early years as a contrary response to the highly regimented style of ski competition prevalent at the time. Snowboarders primarily refer to freeriding as "backcountry", "sidecountry", or "off-piste" snowboarding, and sometimes "big mountain" or "extreme" riding.

Freeriding incorporates various aspects of snowboarding into a style that adapts to the variations and challenges of natural, off-piste terrain, and eschews man-made features such as jumps, rails, half-pipes, or groomed snow. To master freeriding is to seamlessly merge these aspects of other snowboarding disciplines such as freestyle and alpine snowboarding into an all-around style - giving you the freedom to make the most of whatever terrain comes your way. Whereas freestyle snowboarding relies on the use of man-made terrain such as jumps, rails and half-pipes, and alpine snowboarding is done on groomed snow - the focus of freeriding is on utilising the random flow of natural terrain. Although similar tricks may be performed in freeride competition as in freestyle competition, the major defining difference is that freeriding utilises natural terrain, not man-made features such as the terrain parks used in slopestyle competition. Tricks performed on man-made, purpose-built features in terrain parks fall specifically into the category of "freestyle" and/or "slopestyle", not freeride – and if performed on similar features off-piste, it's "all-mountain freestyle".

Due to their use of backcountry routes, freeriders are (proportionally) much more likely to become a victim of avalanches. One estimate considers that about 80% of all avalanche deaths in the Alps occur among freeride/backcountry riders.

While the term “freeriding” originated in snowboarding and was only originally used by snowboarders, some skiers have also adopted it in recent years. For many years, the skiing equivalent of freeriding was known as “freeskiing” - referring specifically to off-piste skiing. However in the years since skiers started mimicking the moves performed by freestyle snowboarders in man-made terrain parks, what was originally referred to as “freestyle skiing” has distorted somewhat, and it’s now referred to by many as “freeskiing”. This has left traditional “freeskiers” without a name for their style of skiing, so some now use the snowboarding term instead. This became somewhat official in 2013, when the “Freeride World Tour” absorbed the “Freeskiing World Tour” into its schedule of competitive events.