Freeride and all-mountain skis are two popular styles that many skiers use today. Freeride skis can basically be seen as advanced all-mountain skis, but there is more to it than just that straightforward comparison.
I’m a life-long skier who has tried nearly every type of ski out there. I know the difference between freeride and all-mountain skis and have gained this knowledge through my years of experience in the snow.
This post will dive into the details of freeride versus all-mountain skis. I’ll explain how these two types of skis are similar and how they are different. It’s good information for every skier to understand, especially if you want to get a new set of skis.
Time to get started.
What are Freeride Skis?
Freeride skis are also known as big mountain skis, and I think that name provides a better description of what they actually are. Skiers who like to tackle challenging terrain inside and out of the resort will use freeride skis to get it done.
Freeride skis are therefore best suited for experienced skiers who have advanced to expert level skills. Some intermediate skiers might be able to handle freeride skis, but it’s really not a beginner version of the sport.
From steep bowls full of powder to aggressive lines that only a few skiers can even think about, freeride skis are essential for taking on this type of terrain. They are built to be versatile, aggressive, and capable in just about every situation.
Also Read: Best Freeride Skis of 2022
What are All-Mountain Skis?
All-mountain skis are probably the most popular style of skis you’ll see on the mountain these days. This is primarily due to how versatile and practical they can be all over the mountain, just as their name implies.
This versatility pays off in a lot of ways. Beginners will like all-mountain skis because they allow you to grow as a skier without holding you back. You can learn the basics and then move onto more challenging terrain and conditions without switching skis.
Intermediate and advanced skiers also appreciate this versatility because it lets them stay ready for anything that might come their way on the mountain. All-mountain skis allow you to adapt to changing conditions, and they perform well in nearly every situation.
Also Read: Best All-Mountain Skis of 2022
Freeride vs All-Mountain Skis: The Differences
|Freeride Skis||All-Mountain Skis|
|Construction||Aggressive/large||Intermediate to aggressive|
|Profile||Rocker and camber||Variable but heavy rocker|
|Conditions||Big mountain/powder||Nearly everything|
I always like to describe the difference between freeride and all-mountain skis like this – think of freeride skis as all-mountain skis on steroids. That means they are a beefed-up and more aggressive version of an already capable ski.
Freeride skis are often larger, wider, and stiffer than all-mountain options. This enhances performance and allows the skis to be highly effective in very challenging terrain. They are built to handle extreme conditions, and they do it very well.
All-mountain skis are still very capable and versatile, but they aren’t always built to handle the most extreme conditions. All-mountain models are usually smaller than freeride skis in height and width. They also will be a little more flexible.
This makes freeride skis a good option for experienced and advanced skiers looking for high-end performance in highly challenging conditions. If you want to get the ultimate performance in off-piste terrain, freeride skis are an excellent way to go.
Freeride skis can be better in deep powder because of their larger size, which offers more surface area to float over the snow.
All-mountain skis are a better choice for the average skier. They also have a wider range of ability levels that they will work well for. Everyone from complete beginners to seasoned veterans can use all-mountain skis.
Freeride skis will tend to be more expensive than all-mountain options as well. This is due to their larger size, but also the materials and technology used to create them. Some all-mountain skis can be expensive, but freeride models will cost more on average.
Freeride vs All-Mountain Skis: The Similarities
If you are new to skiing and saw freeride and all-mountain skis lined up next to one another, you probably wouldn’t notice much of a difference in terms of how they look. They have a similar shape and profile to one another.
Most freeride and all-mountain skis have the classic modern twin-tipped shape to them. Both have decent amounts of rocker in the tip and tail while incorporating camber underfoot for increased power.
Related Article: Rocker vs Camber
Both freeride and all-mountain skis also offer a lot of versatility. You can easily go from one condition on the mountain to another without worrying about if your skis will be able to handle it effectively.
Freeride skis are good for helping you push your ability levels because they are aggressive, capable, and very versatile. All-mountain skis may not always be as aggressive, but they still allow you to grow as a skier because of their versatility.
Many skiers choose all-mountain and freeride skis as their most frequently used skis because of their versatility. This allows you to reliably use the skis all season long because they will offer solid performance through it all.
Freeride and all-mountain skis both offer tremendous amounts of versatility on the mountain. If you want a single pair of skis that will get the job done all over the place, you can’t go wrong with either of these options.
Beginner and intermediate skiers will do better with all-mountain options because they aren’t quite as aggressive. Advanced skiers who really want to rip through difficult terrain should explore freeride models.