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We pick the best freeride skis for dreamy days spent floating through deep powder snow in your own off-piste paradise.

Best Freeride Skis

Once the outcasts of the ski world, freeride skis now form a huge part of the market. And it's not just the major brands who are getting in on the action - scores of independent manufacturers are giving the big guys a run for their money, building skis that compare, compete and sometimes even outgun them. We tested over 80 pairs of skis and have whittled down our selection of the best freeride skis for the 2022-2023 season. 

Best Freeride Skis 2022-2023

 

Black Crows Justis

Black Crows Justis

Best for Aggressive freeride skiers who want to push the limits on all terrain

RRP £795

The Justis will suit aggressive all mountain freeride skiers that want to charge. Despite the powerful feel, they are remarkably playful in all conditions and handle variable snow conditions well. The traditional camber comes with a tip rocker that helps turn initiation, creating a lively feel, and with a smaller tail rocker, this directional ski feels more ‘alpine’ than the others in the range. The Polar wood core is backed up with a double Titanal H-Plate that runs most of the skis’ length.

Verdict Great for hard-charging, powerful skiers looking for aggressive turns.

Overall rating 8/10

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Faction Dancer 3X W

Faction Dancer 3X W

Best for Strong women skiers looking for a full on freeride ski 

RRP £629

London/Verbier based Faction Skis has replaced its Dictator range with the new Dancer collection and the women’s specific 3X is 106mm under foot, making it one of the widest skis on the women’s market. These are full-on, hard charging, powerful freeride skis that demand respect from riders of all levels. They will handle high-speed descents on virtually all kinds of terrain, including epic, deep powder days. Despite this, they are still playful enough in all conditions, all over the mountain.
 – but when it comes to dancing, think more mosh pit than ballet.

Verdict Advanced female freeride skiers will get the most out of the Dancers.

Overall rating 8/10

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Scott Pure Mission

Scott Pure Mission

Best for Aspiring Jérémie Heitz' 

RRP £580

Scott has taken elements from its Superguide range, such as beech wood core, but added carbon stringers and a layer of titanal to reinforce the ski. All of this goes into making a freeride-specific model that nonetheless feels super grippy and solid on piste. Their natural playground is found away from the marked runs, however. Yes they might be on the narrower side for deep powder but the floatation is remarkably good. Most skiers will be more than happy with these skis when it gets snorkel deep.

Verdict An accessible freeride ski that’s powerful yet playful in the deep stuff.

Overall rating 9/10

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Nordica Santa Ana 93 

Women's best freeride ski

Nordica Santa Ana 93

Best for Women wanting to have a lot of fun on a mix of terrain.

RRP £525

Nordica’s true tip technology makes the Santa Ana stable but playful, with a lighter wood tip than traditional ABS plastic. It also has a blunt nose profile and partial twin tip which is great for impromptu backwards skiing.

Full ABS side walls from tip to tail give enhanced edge hold in any conditions and the ski is surprisingly responsive, making for fun short and snappy turns.

The Santa Ana’s sympathetic profile make it ideal for off piste fun but with the bonus of high-performance features for harder conditions.

Verdict Somehow cheaper than the others in the category but skis a little better.

Overall rating 10/10

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Salomon QST 106 

Men's best value

Salomon QST 106 ski

Best for Playful, fun-loving freeride skiers.

RRP 630

Tweaked for the 2022-23 season the 106 holds onto many of its well-known characteristics – playful, easy to turn, and nicely balanced, with a little piste versatility. Push them hard and they respond, pull back and they won’t feel overly demanding. Although 100 percent a full-fat freeride ski, the QST’s love  to be ridden hard by technical skiers that know how to carve, whether off piste or on. If you’re looking to progress to deeper stuff the QST’s will ease you in to your freeride dreams.

Verdict An amazing freeride ski with maximum versatility but few compromises.

Overall rating 9/10

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K2 Mindbender 108Ti 

K2 Mindbender 108 Ti ski

Best for Freeride purists for whom the mountain is a playground

RRP £635

K2’s bright Mindbender 108Ti is a mid-fat banana that is simply bursting with life and feels super eager to take you for a ride. It’s fun all over the mountain, and on test proved surprisingly strong through crud for a ski with so much give in the flex, as well as being way more agile than it has any right to be. This model has a Y shaped titanal plate that softens the edges at the back, and this combined with a tapered shape means you can easily force the tail around in tricky snow. While off-piste you will love the ability to recover turns in crud and smear them out in powder, but on hard pack the tail is far too inclined to slide out and does take some getting used to.

Verdict This is clearly going to be many people’s dream ride for fun in all conditions.

Overall rating 9/10

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Salomon QST LUX 92

Women's best value

Salomon QST Lux 92

Best for Adventurous skiers who are keen to progress

RRP £450

Salomon have included a number of cutting-edge technologies in the QST Lux, and the result is added power and dampening properties while remaining lightweight. To tackle the common ‘chatter’ in softer freeride skis, Salomon have used a lightweight honeycomb koroyd tip, reinforced with ABS. The increased dampening with super-light materials gives a ‘more float, less flop’ performance. The Salomon all-terrain rocker 2.0 has a slight rise in the tip and tail, giving added control in variable snow off-piste and helping with easy turn initiation, while the camber of the ski gives full-length contact for stability and edge hold in firmer conditions and on groomed pistes.

Verdict The QST LUX is a great value freeride ski for intermediate to advanced skiers. 

Overall rating 8/10

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Head Kore 105 

Head Kore 105 freeride

Best for Dedicated freeriders tackling a variety of conditions.

RRP £665

Head’s freeride range of skis – the Kore family – has scored highly with our testers in recent seasons, but does it still hold up? The key factor in the high performance of Head’s Kore range of skis in recent years has been largely down to their LYT technology, which seems to give remarkable stiffness and power transmission to a ski which should feel twice as heavy. Despite the power bristling beneath your feet, the Kore 105 is not exactly playful. There is certainly pop in the construction, and it’s pretty easy to manoeuvre the ski but it’s just not as lively as say the Kore 99. Nevertheless, it charges. Not the best on piste, but that’s not what it’s for. 

Verdict Powerful, with excellent float, and responsiveness. Great on all backcountry terrain.

Overall rating 9/10

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Freeride Ski Buyer's Guide

Powering through powder requires a very specific type of ski, namely long and fat. This gives you maximum flotation for those effortless, dreamy turns. Whether your ripping around within ski resort boundaries or sending it in the backcountry.

What is a freeride ski?

The key difference with freeride skis is that they feature generous sidecuts with wide waist sizing between 95 and 140mm. They have a directional shape and often come with big rockers in the tip and a flat tail for more control in deep powder.

How to choose a freeride ski

The overall rule when choosing the best freeride ski is 'go long'. Most people tend to go for a ski that is between 5 and 15cm over their height to give them the best performance off piste. Also consider that if you're particularly heavy or light for your height you should go up or down a few centimetres in ski length to compensate.

A freeride ski will have a shallower turn radius than say a piste ski - this is the curve as you look down the length of the ski. This allows freeride skis to be much wider underfoot making them very stable off-piste but potentially difficult to handle on-piste.

It’s also important to know how well a freeride ski performs on groomed slopes so that you can get home after your epic day in the backcountry without looking like Bambi on ice, an element of versatility here can be useful.

How we review freeride skis

We test for float in the powder, how stable the skis are at speed, how playful they are on variable terrain and how responsive they can be in tricky situations.

The skis below represent the very best within the freeride category for the 2021-2021 season, go forth and buy a pair from the selection below - you won't be disappointed.

These skis are our pick of the best for the job.

All our reviews are independent and unbiased. We may earn a commission when you buy from links to Amazon and other affiliates on this page.