“It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves” – Sir Edmund Hillary
The SCOTTISH FREEDOM SERIES (SFS) is the UK's established freeride competition series offering:-
- THE ROOKIE FREEDOM SERIES: Two separate entry-level freeride events at Glencoe & Glenshee, open to all age and ability categories
- THE SCOTTISH FREEDOM SERIES: A 4-stage performance competition series, for competitors ages 18yrs
All Scottish Freedom Series events are delivered in Scotland jointly by British Freeride and Snowsport Scotland - for full information please visit www.scottishfreedomseries.co.uk
The FREERIDE WORLD TOUR (FWT) is recognised as the legitimate pinnacle of world-class freeride competition offering:-
- The JUNIOR FREERIDE TOUR (JFT) for 12-18yr olds
- The FREERIDE WORLD QUALIFIER (FWQ) series for 18+
- The elite level FREERIDE WORLD TOUR (FWT) open by invitation to those who have proven themselves with solid results on the FWQ series.
Both the tour and the qualifiers have a series of events run as stages in different countries.
GETTING STARTED IN FREERIDE COMPETITION:
The ROOKIE FREEDOM SERIES entry-level events are accessible to anyone with strong off-piste skills in steeps.
Each competition event is unique. The different venues, topography, snow and weather conditions all culminate in competitions that differ greatly, offering very individual and exciting opportunities to participate.
For more information please visit www.scottishfreedomseries.co.uk
THE FREERIDE PERFORMANCE PATHWAY
To train and prepare for success in freeride competition, a rider will need to develop skills and knowledge in the 5 judged components of a competitive freeride run, namely:-
- Line Choice
- Air and Style
In addition a rider will need to develop physical strength, movement literacy and athleticism as well as safety skills and knowledge of freeride judging and scoring systems.
BRITISH FREERIDE deliver the freeride performance training pathway in Scotland. Each year they recruit new talented and aspiring freeriders onto the programme, supporting them to develop their performance skills and compete.
British Freeride run a junior and senior training squad. Each focuses on developing 4 core areas:-
- Offpiste Technical Riding Skills: Line Choice, Fluidity, Air & Style, Techniques & Control
- Psychology: Managing pressure, Managing Exposure, Decision Taking.
- Knowledge - Competition Formats, Environment, Safety, Line Choice
- Lifestyle - Strength and Conditioning, Sleep, Nutrition, Lifestyle
As well as receiving training and support, each squad member uses the British Freeride performance tracker which allows trainees to self-assess their skills and knowledge and then monitor/track their progression and improvement over time. It is designed to promote autonomous, self-motivated learning, which is dovetailed with the structured, coached training programme.
From each squad, British Freeride selects a junior and senior British Freeride team. Team members receive competition support at events as they go on to compete for British Freeride and their Nation.
The British Freeride performance training pathway not only guides athletes to the top, but it also provides a route for information to cascade down from the performance teams, in order to provide the most current learnings for local coaches to use at ground level.
To find out more about the British Freeride performance programme please visit www.britishfreeride.co.uk or contact Ashley Milne, Programme Manager
Freeride is just one component of "Backcountry" skiing or snowboarding , a term used to loosely define all aspects of venturing out of patrolled ski areas and touring on foot, ski or snowboard into wild, unpisted and often remote snow-covered locations.
When in the backcountry a skier or snowboarder will inevitably have to ascend (UP), traverse (ACROSS) and descend (DOWN) terrain to get to their destination and these three components, the "UP" "ACROSS" and "DOWN" help us break down the different snowsports components of backcountry touring activity.
- Ascending (THE UP) - Depending upon how extreme the ascent might be it could involve either:-
- HIKING in boots, with or without crampons or snowshoes, with your equipment on your back.
- SKINNING by putting natural or synthetic skins on the soles of your skis or snowboard so as to be able to slide across flat and up gentle inclines. Skinning requires special ski bindings that allow the heel of the boot to rise off the ski to facilitate a more natural walking motion and keep the skin constantly engaged with the snow. Skins cannot be used with a standard snowboard but can be used on a splitboard, which is a snowboard that splits down the middle (lengthways) to form two "skis". Splitboards have special bindings. (See short explanatory video)
- CLIMBING with ropes, harnesses and carabinas etc
- Traversing (THE ACROSS) - usually done by walking on foot or more commonly with skis on (with or without skins) and pushing with poles. It is impossible to do on a snowboard unless you have splitboard and poles. Every touring venture into the backcountry will inevitably involve a mix of climbing descending and traversing, and for many people, they are not looking for gnarly climbs or extreme descents but simply, a day out in the mountains enjoying the scenery company and touring around the mountains. Whilst skins are associated with the climbing component, for any touring excursion, crampons, snowshoes and skins will all greatly enhance your speed and safety.
- Descending (THE DOWN) - This is where the term freeride becomes relevant and for many adventurous skiers and snowboarders the tour and ascent are simply a means to an end, which is freeriding down a specific challenging slope or gully in some far off remote location.
Whatever your backcountry preference there is lots to consider from a safety and skills perspective and we strongly urge anyone venturing into the backcountry to consider undertaking training on:-
- Offpiste freeriding technique
- Equipment (Rope Skills, Skins, Ice Axe, Crampons, Snowshoes, Transceiver etc etc)
- Weather & Navigation
- Avalanche Awareness and Rescue
- First Aid
Snowsport Scotland works closely with Glenmore Lodge, the National Outdoor Centre, to shape a set of backcountry safety training modules that cover these areas. These training modules form part of the Snowsport Scotland Qualifications and awards portfolio.