Freeriding or back country skiing – not for the faint-hearted!

The skiing season is upon us once again in Europe, North America and Japan, when hundreds of thousands of people will be getting acquainted (or re-acquainted) with the thrills and spills of skiing. There are a huge number of different disciplines in this field, whether we’re talking snowboarding, cross-country skiing or downhill skiing. One increasingly common, but very challenging sport is freeriding, which applies to both a certain style of snowboarding and a discipline in skiing. Generally involving off-piste skiing, often on relatively steep gradients on ungroomed snow, this kind of skiing demands a very special kind of ski: freeride skis. These skis are usually a little wider than many other types of skis, and feature a tip rocker. They’re designed for versatility and optimal floatability and shock/vibration absorption.

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Zag’s freeride ski shop in Chamonix is the place for skis

One big name in this field is Zag, based in the French Alps, in Chamonix. They produce both freeride patrol and freeride powder skis, which are designed for slightly different environments. The first are more versatile, and may be used both off-piste and for rapid skiing on-piste. The latter are ideal for deep snow and are designed for short turns. All these designs are made on the spot in Chamonix and are produced using very advanced materials and manufacturing techniques. Carbon Kevlar, fibreglass double layers and poplar and paulownia wood cores are all on the menu. If you’re not sure which is the best choice of ski for you, there’s a dedicated section on the Zag website to help you make up your mind. This will make suggestions according to the answers you’ve given in relation to your gender, age, preferred skiing environments, snow conditions, preferred ski weight and more. You can even test your skis before you buy them at the totally redesigned Concept store located in their base in Chamonix!

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