Par CLARA QUAY-THEVENON (AGENCE HUBWISER)
Published on https://www.skiinfo.fr
What are the reasons for the success of freerando? What exactly does this new practice consist of and how to get started?
With the evolution of the equipment, skis have become wider and easier to ride. Freeriding has become more democratic, as it requires less technique than before. Thus, skiing in powder snow is no longer reserved for good skiers and the practice has spread widely. Near the slopes, it is becoming rare to find virgin slopes and it is now necessary to push a little further to make its mark. Extending the ascent of the chairlift by your own means to reach the top of the domain and further unspoilt slopes is the credo of the freerando.
<Freerando, the birth of a new practice.
The origin of the term Freerando comes from the contraction of the words “freeride” and “randonnée“, thus presenting a new practice mixing the best of these two disciplines.
Contrary to classic ski touring, which advocates physical effort more than the pleasure of sliding, freerando reverses this trend by favouring sensations on the descent. The ascent is shorter and only becomes a stage to reach the virgin slopes targeted. The best freerando itineraries have an ascent/descent ratio of around 1/4 positive altitude difference (ascent) for 3/4 negative altitude difference (descent).
Motivation is therefore all you need when climbing 250 meters of positive altitude difference allows you to ride a virgin slope which totals 750…
Since the focus is on the downhill, freerando riders can afford to use wider skis and to enjoy the descent in deep snow, and much lighter than freeride skis to make the ascent easier.
As a result, a new, younger and trendy profile of skiers has emerged off the beaten track, alongside seasoned classic tourers.
How do you explain the fact that freeriders want to go hiking when they are usually more in favour of minimum effort? Their main quest is to ride virgin slopes. You can recognize them by their wide skis and their colourful technical outfits. How can you imagine them moving upwards with their heels up?
Simply, freerando has been able to address these modern skiers by using the codes of freeride and the latest freeskiing trends to create a practice much sexier than classic ski touring. Freerando is, indeed, a practice in the air of time that meets the current trends of return to nature, freedom and escape from the crowds of ski resorts. “Nowadays, the trend is to have a healthy lifestyle and a good physical condition… so with the arrival of freerando, every skier tries to indulge in this new practice,” says Charles Dubouloz (marketing manager Wintersports at Scott).
The trend towards a return to naturalness is obviously not the only explanation. Brands have had a hand in this and have played a decisive role. Before the popularity of freerancers, the freerando phenomenon started with the development of the equipment and the enhancement of products by the brands. “The practice is very different from traditional skiing and requires a better knowledge of the mountain and adapted equipment,” says Charles. On the second point, the brands are indeed the bearers of the craze ” by communicating more about their innovative products and this new way of skiing “.
Equipped, professional riders have followed suit by turning images around the world in search of virgin slopes with less helicopter and the advantages of freeriding. The image of freerando quickly became trendy and fun. Even the snowboard manufacturers started with the creation of the splitboard.
Taking the plunge when you don’t know the equipment or the risks involved in travelling off the marked trails can often get cold. Faced with a growing demand, supervised discoveries and dedicated areas have been created in most of the massifs. Before wanting to practice alone, it is important to acquire a certain knowledge of the mountain and the risks linked to the practice of strong.
Initiated in 2013 in Chartreuse, the concept ” Ski touring area ” is now in place in 3 resorts: Saint Pierre de Chartreuse (Isère), l’Alpe du Grand Serre (Isère) and Réallon (Hautes-Alpes). This concept was created to initiate beginners in complete safety by offering an educational area, very affordable routes, equipment on loan (skis, safety kit, clothing), a DVA-park to train in search of avalanche victims, …
In Maurienne, a team of guides based in Orelle called ” Maurienne Hors Pistes ” offers several Freerando packs of different levels, from 63 euros per day. The service includes the accompaniment by a guide and the loan of equipment (safety kit and adapted skis).
There are also introductory freerando courses in Les Contamines, Les Menuires, Albiez, Courchevel, Saint-Gervais… supervised by professionals (guides or ESF instructors) to improve your freerando skills in complete safety.
Ski shops also organise events to test new equipment. The Grenoble shop “Montagne, Nature et Style” organized, for example, at the beginning of the season the “Freerando Day” in Les 7 Laux.
Ski touring is quite technical and requires specific equipment to be able to go anywhere. Snowleader offers you a large choice of touring skis, often proposed in pack with skins and bindings for a complete freerando equipment.