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With freeride skiing becoming ever so popular in the Resort Sidecountry, I found it necessary to compile a list of  freeride skis that can actually perform on the frontside of the mountain. Let’s face it you have to get to your favorite powder stashes somehow. Those groomers look less than appealing for you big mountain freeride types so why not make things a little more interesting with a ski that can rip on them.

Skis pictured (from left): Nordica Patron, Nordica Unleashed Hell, Icelantic Shaman, Line Sir Francis Bacon, Head Inferno, SkiLogik Howitzer.

Nordica Patron/Unleashed Hell

Dimensions: 143/113/132

Radius: 18m @ 185cm

Finally a ski to conquer the entire mountain. So saddle up partner and take these planks for a ride (Note badass cowboy skeleton graphic). Nordica took their powder ski The Radict and shaved off a few millimeters creating the most versatile freeride ski on the market today, the Patron. Nordica’s Highrise camROCK rocker in the tip and tail provide float in the powder and pin point precision maneuvering in the trees. Traditional camber underfoot allows for  deep trench laying carvability on the frontside of the mountain. Twin tip construction allows you to take off or land switch. Super versatile and super stable in any condition. The Unleashed Hell is identical in shape with the same turning radius as the Patron however it features Nordica’s iCore technology reducing the weight of the ski by 20%. This makes it the ultimate tool for backcountry big mountain adventures.

Icelantic Shaman

Dimensions: 160/110/137

Radius: 15m @ 173cm

The most versatile powder ski on the market today…period. A massive 160mm shovel propels you through any snow condition known to man. The 110mm waist keeps you afloat in even the deepest of powder days. Combine this with the most aggressive sidecut in the market and you’ve got a ski that allows you to literally lacerate the groomers. Look back upon those trenches you’ve laid down with pride. Niiiice. Tight trees? No problem. This is one of the nimblest skis out there. Bob n’ weave through the pines like a champ. This ski packs one helluva punch.

Line Sir Francis Bacon

Dimensions: 140/108/136

Radius:17

Ski designer Eric Pollard made some changes to the Line Sir Francis Bacon from last winter. He knocked 7 mm off of the waist of the ski, bringing it down to 108 mm underfoot while also dialing back the Early Rise tip and tail to make the ski rock in any conditions. While it’s still a beast in the powder, now you can kick around all over the mountain and have a good time doing it. One of the most playful skis on the market. The tip and tails serve as spring boards. Perfect to nollie off of any feature you can find on the hill. The traditional camber underfoot allows you to rail these puppies. Short turns, long turns, ice and hardpack these skis have unwavering edge grip and stability.

Head Inferno 104

Dimensions: 130/104/120

Radius: 25m @ 181cm

Brand spanking new for 2012 Head introduces its Rock inspired Big Mountain series. The Inferno features Flow Rise rocker technology to help bust through crud and keep your tips up in the deeper stuff. Sandwich construction guarantees stability and performance when screaming down the front side. Don’t let the 25m radius scare you away. When I demoed them, these skis felt much more nimble and were very quick edge to edge on the hardpack.

SkiLogik Howitzer

Dimensions: 137/110/131

Radius: 22m @ 186cm

The Howitzer takes the very best of Ski Logik’s Big Ski technology and puts it in a more versatile package. Featuring 110mm underfoot and the Rocker Logik profile (a rockered tip with traditional camber underfoot) this ski can float with the best of them and plow through the afternoon crud. Despite its powder ski profile, the Howitzer is notable for its temperament on the hardpack. Due to construction, including full hardwood sidewalls, hardwood core, and Vektor 8 carbon/fiberglass core layering, this ski remains torsionally rigid enough to handle all mountain conditions.

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