Big mountain freeride is a unique discipline of skiing and snowboarding. It encompases any riding that takes place in natural terrain and snow conditions, and does not include groomed surfaces or man-made terrain features.
history of freeride
Though the name is newer, the soul of big mountain freeride has been around since humans first began sliding on snow. As recreational skiing gained poularity in the early 1900's, the earliest forms of freeride competition began to pop up around the country. Some early examples include the American Inferno (1930's) on New Hampshire's Mt. Washington, and the Silver Belt race (1940's) at Sugar Bowl resort.
1990 marked the first modern freeride competition, the World Extreme Skiing Championships. It took place in Valdez, AK and incorporated a multi-category judging system that laid the foundation for the current one. The original system incorporated 6 categories: 1. Degree of difficulty 2. Agressiveness 3. Technique/style 4. Air 5. Control 6. Fluidity The WESC continued until 2000, and was revived for a year in 2011.
In 1996, skiing legend Shane McConkey saw a need for athletes to have a voice in the development and governing of all the emerging disciplines of freeskiing (big mountain freeride, slopestyle, half-pipe, big air, and skier-cross). To achieve this he established the International Freeskiers Association (now the International Freeskiers & Snowboarders Association or IFSA), which now focuses specifically on freeride. The Shane and IFSA played an integral role in establishing freeride as the sport it is today.
Since then the sport of big mountain freeride skiing and snowboarding has evolved to include thousands of adult and junior athletes, and hundreds of interconnected events wordwide.
For more information on Tahoe Freeride's role in the development of big mountain freeride, visit the TJFS History page.