What is the perfect freeride ski? This question is not so easy to answer, because every skier is different, skis differently - with different strengths, weaknesses and preferences. And not all freeride skis are the same. Before buying a new pair, you should therefore naturally think more carefully about how they will probably be used most. Should the new slats shine exclusively in the deepest powder or will they also experience the one or other piste outing? Do I want a maneuverable ski for tree runs in the woods or for steep open slopes? What are the conditions in which I ski the most?
While we can't influence some things, like the weather forecast or whether the biggest powder falls actually coincide with the weekend, we do have some options when it comes to choosing our freeride skis.
In the annual freeride ski test organized by Bergstolz Ski & Bike Magazine Freeride Ski Test industry, athletes and ski journalists meet to put the latest models and thus these different options through their paces. We from ISPO.com were also on site at the Hintertux Glacier in the Zillertal to sound out the best freeride skis from the manufacturers for you.
The test in the Zillertal was not about picking a winner, but above all about determining the strengths and weaknesses of the broad field of freeride skis from over 30 brands. Over the course of three days, the skis were tested in a wide range of conditions, from hard slopes to deep powder snow.
Is there no such thing as the perfect all-rounder? Not quite right, because there are already really good all-rounders. If you're looking for a ski for all freeride moments, you should still make sure you choose the right one. Some all-rounders are more for fluffy snow and short turns, while others are primarily stable plowing through vegetables. But the favorites from the test have one thing in common: their versatility.
For many of the testers the Armada Declivity 102Ti was the very definition of a balanced freeride all-rounder. Smooth in the turn, easy to control and at the same time with no speed limitations. The weight (1950 g at 180 cm) and damping of the Declivity 102Ti also speak for a variety of uses. At the same time, the ski wants to be actively driven, so also requires a technically at least advanced freerider.
Also called a tank by some testers, it quickly becomes clear what advantages the Völkl M6 Mantra brings with it. This ski likes long radii and speed, while offering excellent stability and control. In addition, it can also be seen super on a GS turn on the slopes for a freerider.
The DPS Pagoda 100 RP is at home in diverse snow conditions, it offers super floatation and surfs through fluffy soft powder as well as through slush and firn in spring. With its 15-meter radius, it also manages short slalom turns on the slopes or waggles elegantly between the trees. Very sporty speed fanatics may find the radius a bit too small. But all others should enjoy the flattering Pagoda.
The inclined female freerider has long since ceased to be satisfied with a shorter, lighter, softer and pinker men's ski. This was also evident in the diverse freeride models in the women's segment that were used in the test - both in terms of design and the considerations and technologies that have gone into the development of models for women.
The Nordica Santa Ana 110 Free is due to its width under the foot already rather something for deep snow days and ambitious female drivers. The testers have put him in euphoria, because the Santa Ana brings a great smoothness, as well as lift and stability. In short radii it is wedelfreudig, at speed it gives confidence. Conclusion of the female jury: An all-around beautiful ski for the sporty freerider.
The K2 115C Mindbender Alliance is also not exactly a narrow freeride ski of the all-round variety, no, it gives the rider confidence and lift with enough material underfoot even in deeper snow. At the same time, it is also good-natured enough for light or new female freeriders. At higher speeds, it still gives the rider enough control and does not throw her off at the first mistake, even in muddy snow.
Who does not know and love them - deep snow days with powder up to the waist. Snorkel is optional in the powder clouds, in reality it's the really wide skis that want to be brought out of the basement on such occasions to let their riders* float through the fresh snow and put a fat grin on their face.
Sophisticated shape and yet with 117 mm enough width underfoot when it snows and snows and snows. The Line Outline was voted No.1 Freestyle Powder Ski by Freeskier Magazine and invites with its soft tuning and rounded twintip to knock out the one or other backcountry trick. For playful terrain and creative riders absolutely the right ski. For piste heaters rather not - but who likes to stay on the slopes when there is fresh snow?
Looking for the right slats to push the limits on thick powder days? Then the ZAG Slap 122 is possibly the right find. Due to its width, the Slap 122 has the upper hand even in the deepest powder, floats sovereignly, circumnavigates obstacles in a playful, turning manner and shows stable damping even in drops. The French ski brand pays tribute to its place of origin Chamonix with this model, because the Slap 122 is a fantastic base when it gets steep and the powder deep.
Ski touring has definitely been on the rise for a few years now. It is clear that it is not only about the ascent, but above all untracked descents make freeride hearts beat faster. Freetouring skis offer the perfect symbiosis of lightweight material for the ascent and unbridled performance on the descent.
For the most part, a good freetouring ski should have certain all-rounder qualities, because you often don't know what conditions you'll encounter on the descent. A wind-blown or hard-packed snowpack occurs almost as often as immaculately untracked, light powder snow. The Faction Agent 3.0 therefore brings excellent all-round properties paired with light weight on the plate and offers with 106 mm center width smooth downhill pleasure in the most diverse situations.
Pleasantly easy to turn and ride controlled with little effort, even if you have already climbed a few meters, this message sends the Scott Superguide Freetour with every turn to his*n Pilot*in. Good floatation in powder, playfulness in short turns and tracking in long radii make the Superguide good to ride - for different types of riders in different conditions.
Weight-wise, the Majesty Supernova Carbon really pleasant to carry up the mountain. For its lightweight construction, it is nevertheless balanced even in downhill. Even in tough conditions, the freetourer scores with great edge grip, wants to be driven actively and moves confidently in any terrain and in virtually all conditions.
If you want a detailed overview of all models, you should take a look at our colleagues at Bergstolz Ski & Bike Magazine. There you will find in the issues on bergstolz.de detailed test reports on all models of the 2021/22 season.