Freeride skiing is an amazing style of the sport. From dropping big backcountry lines to venturing into other unreal off-piste scenarios, you need quality freeride skis if you want to tackle challenging terrain.
Hi, I’m Christine, and I created TheSkiGirl.com to help provide skiers with a valuable resource that they can use to explore everything great about the sport.
My pick for the best freeride skis of 2021-2022 is the Volkl Kendo 92. These are built to handle technical terrain from deep powder to crusted out bowls and will have you covered no matter where you want to point.
This post will provide you with an in-depth review of all my favorite freeride models, so you can find an option that meets your needs and preferences on the mountain.
Let’s get to it.
- Quick Summary
- Who Should Get This
- Top Picks of Best Freeride Skis
- How to Choose The Best Freeride Skis
- Useful Freeride Ski Tips
- Final Verdict
- Best Overall: Volkl Kendo 92
- Best for Touring: Atomic Backland 107
- Best for Intermediate: Atomic Bent Chetler 100
- Best for Beginners: Salomon QST 106
- Best Women’s Model: Icelantic Maiden 91
Who Should Get This
Regardless of how much they ski or how experienced they are, any freeride skier will appreciate the models in this guide. Each option brings something unique to the table, and if you like conquering uncharted territory, these skis are for you.
They are beneficial for riders who want extra support when traveling through uneven or choppy snow. A wider base provides excellent stability and gives more control in rougher terrain.
Just note that many freeride skis, while great off-piste, don’t always hold up on groomed runs, and performance can feel a little loose.
Top Picks of Best Freeride Skis
All of the options you’ll find here come highly recommended and are some of the best freeride skis you can find.
- Best For: Overall
- Key Features: Rockered tip and tail, stable freeride performance, quality construction
- Sizes: 170, 177, 184
- Ability Level: Intermediate to expert
- Cost: $$$
The Volkl Kendo 92 gets my vote as the best overall freeride skis. These are a blast to ride off-piste and will give you excellent performance under a variety of conditions.
They have a wide profile that comes in useful when you need to charge over deep snow, while tip and tail rocker gives you the ability to float over everything.
They also have a very solid construction that leads to stable performance across the mountain, whether you are deep in the backcountry or just trying to find a freeride line within resort boundaries.
The Kendo isn’t very beginner-friendly, but if you’re up for the challenge, you won’t be disappointed.
- Best For: Touring
- Key Features: Lightweight, durable, easy to handle uphill and down, solid construction
- Sizes: 175, 182, 189
- Ability Level: Intermediate to expert
- Cost: $$$
They have a lightweight construction that helps you go deep into the backcountry while not compromising downhill performance along the way.
A powder rocker profile gives you the ability to crush deep lines with a smile on your face, and these float through fresh snow with the best of them.
Their lightweight nature does come with a bit of a trade-off in power, but if weight is a big concern, this is a recommended option.
- Best For: Intermediate
- Key Features: Powerful, fun to ski, caters to high performance, great for freeriding
- Sizes: 164, 172, 180
- Ability Level: Intermediate
- Cost: $$$
The Atomic Bent Chetler 100 makes the list as the best freeride skis for intermediate ability levels, and they will help push your skills to the next level.
These skis will float over crud and crust with ease while allowing you to take advantage of every inch of powder you are lucky enough to find.
They hold up really well at higher speeds, so you can push yourself to the limits and explore some challenging terrains.
The Bent Chetler is a reasonably aggressive ski, so it’s not suitable for beginners, but they will deliver if you’re beyond that level.
- Best For: Beginners
- Key Features: Very stable, cork damplifier tech, lightweight, solid performance in a variety of conditions
- Sizes: 181, 188
- Ability Level: Beginner to intermediate
- Cost: $$$
Beginner freeriders will love everything that the Salomon QST 106 has to offer. These skis are very capable without being too aggressive.
The QST 106 is easy to turn and will give you solid float in deep snow and edge control when on harder pack – an ideal combination when diving into variable conditions.
Advanced skiers will be left wanting more, and these are still expensive, but it’s hard to find a better beginner freeride model.
- Best For: Women’s Model
- Key Features: Bombproof construction, fun yet powerful performance,
- Sizes: 155, 162, 169
- Ability Level: Beginner to advanced
- Cost: $$$
The Icelantic Maiden 91 is the best women’s specific freeride ski around. These are a blast to ride on and one of my personal favorites.
They have a sandwich construction and come with Icelantic’s legendary bombproof construction, making them a good value and investment.
A rocker/camber/rocker profile gives you excellent control and stability at high speeds and technical conditions while still providing float and playful characteristics.
This is a relatively expensive ski but worth it for female skiers who want to rip through freeride lines and other off-piste situations.
How to Choose The Best Freeride Skis
Here are some essential factors to keep in mind when shopping around for the best freeride skis to match your needs on the mountain.
When picking out skis, you always need to be aware of how much they weigh. The one you pick depends on what you want from your time in deep powder.
Heavier skis are not as easy to use as lighter ones, but they tend to give much more control. They are usually stiffer as well. Always choose a weight that best suits the way you ski.
When embarking on a freeride, you need skis that can handle bumps and uneven snowbanks without shaking or losing control. As such, you want a product that can absorb or “dampen” shocks and vibrations.
That means stiffer skis built with tough materials. Wider options help in this area, too, especially models that utilize a strong core.
Most freeride skis tend to be larger than standard options, which offers more power and control in unpredictable terrain. However, the size you choose depends on your ability.
While large skis are great at high speeds, not every freerider wants to go fast. Newcomers to the style should look for smaller skis to start, while advanced freeriders want longer options that provide extended lift and stability.
Here are some quick answers to a few common questions about freeride skis.
Are freeride skis good?
If you like freeride skiing, then freeride skis are more than good. These skis are capable of handling challenging conditions that exist outside of the resort. While that makes them a bit harder for beginners to handle, experienced skiers will love them.
Who is the best freeride skier in the world?
This question always brings up a debate and depends on who you ask. Shane McConkey gets my vote because he was an innovator and helped bring freeride skiing into the public spotlight.
What is the difference between freeride and touring skis?
Freeride skis are generally a little wider and more aggressive than touring skis. Touring skis will be lighter and built for the backcountry. While nearly every touring ski could be considered freeride, not all freeride skis are touring.
Can you use freeride skis for touring?
You can technically use any type of skis you want for touring, but freeride options make for a good choice because they are built to handle the variable conditions that you’ll find in the backcountry.
Useful Freeride Ski Tips
Freeriding is a great way to enjoy the winter. However, it can also be a bit dangerous if you aren’t fully prepared. This guide will help you better understand the discipline.
In addition, if you want to get more out of your freeride skiing, this video has a few handy tips on how to enhance your off-piste experience.
Freeriding is one of the best experiences you can have while cruising around the mountain, and the Volkl Kendo 92 are some of the best skis you can have on your feet while doing so.
All of the models in this guide provide you with great feedback, control, and stability. Though there are slight differences between skis, each one has the performance characteristics to get you plowing through deep powder or bouncing across hard-packed snow.
Do you have your own favorite pair of freeride skis? Are there any you wanted to see in this guide? Let us know below.