Tired of resort skiing?
If so, you may be looking for one of the best big mountain freeride skis.
There’s a few things you should think about before making a purchase and I’ll show you what’s most important.
By the time you’re done reading I’m sure you’ll see a pair of skis that you love.
Let’s get into it.
How To Choose Big Mountain Skis
A big mountain ski isn’t for everyone and is specifically designed for extreme and ungroomed terrain. There’s more risk involved out there and because of this you must get the right ski. Here’s what you should think about when making your selection:
- Must be wide enough to handle powder
- Should be “dampening” or reduce chatter/vibrations
- Get the right ski profile
First off, the product you’re considering needs to be able to handle deep powder. When you’re off trail you can face snow that’s waist high. In order to have a ski that can perform in these conditions it’ll have to be pretty wide – 110mm to 120mm. Anything narrower you may be in trouble.
Next, you’ll want a product that can absorb shock and vibrations. The snow is unpredictable in the backcountry and you’ll be attaining fast speed out there – you’ll want features that keep you stable. A ski that’s dampening tends to be stiff, heavy, have metal laminates and have other things like that to help in this department. There’s other construction factors that come into play too.
Lastly, you need the right ski profile. You don’t want too much sidecut – this tends to pull the ski off the snow and gives you less control. Control is important when you’re freeriding and you want as much as possible.
If you’re not sure if you need a big mountain ski, watch the video below. If you plan on doing stuff like that you’ll need one of these skis:
Let’s take a look at my top picks now!
The Blizzard Cochise is an excellent product and can be labeled as an all mountain ski (you can check out my top picks for all mountain skis here) and big mountain – you can use them on groomed trails and take them into the backcountry.
This ski is about as narrow as you’d want to go too. The waist is 108mm and that’s wide enough to handle powder. Anything less and you might run into problems.
Some features that you’ll like include:
- Rocker camber rocker ski profile ensures this product is easy to control and you’ll get easy turns. Plus, it enables you to surf powder more effectively.
- Anti shock laminates eat up vibrations and adds stability. You’ll be able to focus on the trail and not be distracted because of this.
- Sintered Graphite Base is durable and easy to maintain. This base makes sure you’ll be able to use these skis year after year.
- Dura Tec top sheet is another reason these skis are so durable.
Here’s a video that goes a little more in depth:
As you can see this gentleman gives the Cochise a 5/5.
Since most freeride skiers are skilled it shouldn’t be that big of a surprise you need to be pretty advanced to rock these. If you’re a beginner or mellow intermediate you should avoid this product.
High end ski equipment is never cheap and that’s the case here. I personally think they’re worth every penny, though.
Volkl V-Werk Katana
The Volkl V-Werk Katana is one of the lightest products on this list. Usually a lightweight ski is a detriment for a big mountain skier but the Katana is an exception to the rule – you’ll still feel stable when you’re speeding along.
This product really is only made for the backcountry too. You can take them down groomed trails but it doesn’t excel there.
If that’s not an issue, you’ll enjoy that they come with:
- Multi Layer Wood Core is made from ash and poplar wood. This core keeps this ski snappy and resilient.
- 3D Ridge Tecnology ensures this product is agile and easy to handle.
- Full rocker is good for maneuverability and comes in handy when you’re facing deep powder.
- Carbon Short Sidewall thins out the ski profile.
The Katana’s are pretty expensive, though, and should be left to people that know what they’re doing out there.
If you don’t have much to spend or just don’t want to spend that much, there’s other products on this list that are cheaper.
K2 Pinnacle 118
K2 is well known in the ski world and their Pinnacle 118’s are a fairly affordable product for off trail skiing – they’re made to tackle the untamed, ungroomed nature of these trails.
One thing you’ll notice and like about the Pinnacle is how wide it is. These skis are 118mm at the waist and this ensures powder will not be a problem.
Some other features that make this piece of equipment worth it are:
- Powder rocker helps even more when you’re facing powdery conditions. There’s still plenty of camber which comes in handy when you’re skiing firmer conditions.
- Tapered tip reduces deflection and makes turn release in the tail easy.
- K2 Konic Core puts the weight of the ski on the edges. What this does is give you more power and stability.
- Triaxial Braid laminates add stability and reduce chatter – this leads to a much more smooth ride.
- Hybritech sidewalls add some performance and ensures you get smooth turns.
I mentioned earlier that these are pretty affordable. If you can’t afford some of the more expensive products, the Pinnacle will work just fine for you.
Keep in mind, like most big mountain skis, you need to have a good amount of skill to strap these to your feet. Any beginner or low intermediate will find them too hard to control.
Salomon QST 118
Like the last skis you saw the Salomon QST 118’s are very wide and can handle powder with ease (if you want you can check out my top picks for powder skis here). These are a bit more expensive, though.
One aspect that makes this ski worth it is the Twin Rocker. This rocker makes skiing in deep, fluffy powder very easy and you’ll be in control – you’ll be able to turn simply too.
If that’s not enough, take a look at some other top features, which include:
- Spaceframe 3.0 shape is another reason this product is so maneuverable and agile.
- Inverted 3D Woodcore is extremely stable and reduces vibrations. With less chatter you can focus more on the trail and not be distracted.
- Koroyd Honeycomb Tip and Tail gives you more flotation and adds even more shock resistance. There’s nothing better than a smooth ride.
- CFX Superfiber laminates reduce vibrations even further and does so without adding too much weight.
- Pulse Pad incorporates rubber layers and this improves durability and the life of these skis.
Like many of the other products on this list you have to be skilled to purchase them – you’ll find yourself overwhelmed if you’re not advanced enough.
So how much are they going to cost? They’re a little expensive. They’re definitely worth consideration if you can afford that. Any person would be lucky to own these skis.
Line Supernatural 115
There’s a lot of expensive pieces of equipment on this list – that’s just the nature of these types of skis. The Line Supernatural’s, however, aren’t too expensive and is a product most people can afford.
What makes the Supernatural so effective in the powder is the wide waist (115mm) and the Early Rise tip and tail. You’ll be able to handle yourself well and turn easily.
Also, they come with:
- 5 Cut sidecut ensures you are in control and can take any carve you desire.
- The tips are designed to be lightweight and you get reduced swing weight because of this.
- Maple MacroBlock core is made from maple and aspen wood and this adds more strength. It also dampens vibrations and chatter.
- Carbon Ollieband gives you more energy and makes sure this ski is lively.
- Sintered Fatty base allows you to reach fast speeds and is extremely durable – you’ll have this product for many seasons.
If you’ve gotten this far in the article you already know that you need a good amount of skill to purchase a freeride ski. All you have to do is look at the terrain you’ll be facing to know this is true.
This applies to the Supernatural too.
Here we have another very wide ski (118mm) and the Blizzard Bodacious is also more nimble than most freeride skis. This is because it’s lighter than usual.
The Bodacious is one of the better big mountain skis in tight spots but is still meant to charge hard – it’s strong enough and made with very stabilizing materials.
It’ll also comes with:
- Rocker tips and camber underfoot ensures you get precision handling and the ability to float on powder. You’ll grip the snow well too.
- Carbon Flip Core Technology reduces swing weight and limits chatter. You’ll get a very smooth ride because of this.
- Sandwich Compound Sidewalls improves the durability of these skis so they last for a while. This feature also adds a bit of power.
- Sintered Graphite Base is easy to maintain and fulfills your need for speed.
Wide skis are too hard to handle for beginners and weak skiers. Since these are one of the widest you can get, you’ll need quite a bit of skill to have fun with them.
Also, the price isn’t terrible either. This product is basically on the same level as the more expensive skis on this list and that makes the Bodacious’ a great value.
Head Skis Cyclic 115
Here we have another ski that can pretty much handle anything in the backcountry. If you’re facing deep powder the Head Cyclic can handle that because of the wide width (113mm) and rocker camber rocker profile. This type of ski profile is good in powder and keeps the edge in contact with the snow – this means more control which is a necessity in sketchy terrain.
This product also has a Tip and Tail Stabilzier and this pulls weight to the outer extremities. This means you won’t get wobble or chatter.
Some other features you’ll like include:
- Independent Suspension System is another reason this ski delivers a smooth ride. You won’t be bothered by annoying vibrations because of this.
- Has the ability to cut through crud and tackle hard packed snow.
- Hybrid Sandwich Cap Construction and ABS Tuffwall Sidewalls that reduce weight and helps you in tight spaces.
- A lively wood core that gives you more responsiveness and a UHMC Base improves your ability to reach high speeds.
This is one of the more affordable products on this list too. They’re at a price that’s basically good for everyone and you really don’t want to go much lower than that. If you do you run the risk of getting low quality equipment.
Black Crows Anima
The Black Crows Anima is another product that freerider’s will love to own. In fact, there’s professionals that rock them including Kristofer Turdell. Here’s a video of Kristofer in action:
Crazy, right? If you click Kristofer’s name above the video you’ll go to his website where he lists Black Crow as his sponsor. He also lists Hestra (who makes great ski gloves) and POC (they make awesome helmets and goggles).
As you can see there’s a lot of reasons to love this product. If you’re not convinced by the video, take a look at the top features:
- Double rocker means you’ll surf powder and get nice turn initiation. The camber underfoot ensures the edges stay in contact with the snow so you get maximum maneuverability.
- Extended sidecut means you’ll be stable even if you’re going quite fast.
- Carbon Kevlar Laminates eat up vibrations and reduces chatter for a better ski experience.
- Semi Cap Construction adds some durability and you’ll have these puppies for a long time.
Because this is such a high quality ski it’s going to cost a little extra but worth it.
Below are two versions of these skis. You’ll also see previous years besides the 2018’s that are a little less costly. If you want to save a little extra you can buy the 2017 or 2016 version. There’s minor differences but they’re similar in almost every way.
Rossignol Super 7 HD
I love Rossignol and I try to purchase their gear whenever I get the chance. I’ll be rocking their skis this year and I just bought my mom one of their heated gloves.
Their Super 7 HD lives up to the high standard they’ve set for themselves and is a product that I know you’ll love. If you’re looking for a stable ski for steep, powdery and unpredictable terrain, the Super 7 will work for you.
That’s because it comes with:
- Powder Turn Rocker helps in many different departments. You’ll be able to cruise on powder and you’ll have excellent control, even if you’re going fast.
- Centered Sidecut ensures you’ll grip the ground well and get the carves/turns you desire.
- Air Tip 2.0 eliminates deflection and improves stability through out the entire ski. It lightens swing weight and adds control.
- Carbon Alloy Matrix reduces chatter and absorbs vibrations. This makes sure your attention is where it needs to be.
- Sintered Base allows you to satisfy your need for speed and is easy to maintain.
Like the last product, I linked this one so you get multiple options and you’ll get your choice between the 2017 option (blue and black) and the 2018 option (Black and green).
They’re similar in a lot of ways and the main difference is the air tips have been improved this year.
You’ll be happy with either option.
Fischer Ranger 122
I know I’ve said a few of the products on this list were wide but the Fischer Ranger takes wide to a whole new level – the waist on these skis are a whopping 122mm.
They say there’s a few thing you can be certain of and death is one of them. The other is the Ranger’s will be able to handle any amount of powder it comes in contact with.
Usually wide skis aren’t good in tight spots but that’s not the case here. That’s because of the camber underfoot which keeps the edges of these skis on the snow. You’ll get precise carving with this.
Some other features you’ll like include:
- Wood core ensures these skis are playful and they remove unnecessary weight.
- Air Tec Honeycomb pattern delivers a stable, chatter-free ride. You’ll feel nice and smooth out there.
- Can handle crud and hard stuff as well as it handles soft, new powder.
Despite all this, the Ranger’s are pretty affordable.
You know what makes this price even better? It comes with a 4 year warranty! You rarely see a guarantee like that with big mountain skis – there’s just so many hazards that can chip, crack or break a ski.
So it’s pretty remarkable to see a product like this with such a warranty.
Any One Of These Skis Can Work For You!
There’s something exhilarating about watching one of those videos of the freeriders bombing cliff sides and sailing down the mountain. Very few people have the skills (or guts) to do something like that and my hat goes off to anyone that can.
If you’re one of these brave skiers you already know you need top of the line equipment – like the skis on this list.
No matter your needs or budget, there’s something here that you’ll love.
If you have any questions, you can comment below and I’ll make sure to respond as fast as possible. You can search around the ski section up top for more tips and gear reviews.
Are you excited to test your limits this year?