Scroll down to the bottom of this page for additional program and scholarship information.
The Freeride program is designed for skiers and snowboarders ages 12* to 18 (as of December 31st) who want to improve their big mountain riding through training for, and competing in, freeride competitions sanctioned by the International Freeskiers Association (IFSA). Prospective athletes are expected to be able to ski most of the terrain on Lone Mountain safely and confidently prior to trying out for the program.
Freeride Program Options: BSSEF offers Regional and National level training options. See details below. On Sunday afternoons, the training groups will mix allowing for time to ski with friends.
First-year participants must obtain approval from the Freeride head coach after completion of an on-mountain skills assessment to be held on December 3-4, 2022. See the FAQ section below for additional information.
Freeride Team members will develop skills ranging from foundational ski techniques to air awareness, risk vs. reward tactics, terrain feature assessment, avalanche safety, and on-mountain travel. The program is designed around the IFSA judging criteria: line, control, technique, fluidity, style, and energy.
See the Freeride Equipment Requirements section under the FAQs for details on essential gear.
*Eleven (11) year old athletes may be accepted under special circumstances.
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- The Sport of Freeride
- Regional Team Option
- National Team Option
- Frequently Asked Questions
- More Program Information
The Regional Team option is designed to strengthen fundamental skiing and freeride techniques and expose athletes to competition. Participants will gain comfort and confidence around the mountain while developing their skills.
The coaching philosophy is geared towards having fun and enjoying being on the mountain while increasing each athlete’s skill set in a healthy and safe manner. Athletes on the Regional Team are required to participate in at least two (2) competitions.
Included in the Regional Team fee:
- Weekend training sessions from December 3, 2022 – March 26, 2023 (8:45 AM – 3:00 PM)
- Midweek sessions on Wednesdays and Fridays from December 14, 2022 – March 3, 2023 (12:30 PM – 4:00 PM)
- Lease of a team jacket for the season
- Christmas Camp
The National Team option is designed for competitive athletes who aspire to improve their IFSA ranking and compete in at least four (4) events during the season. Athletes will further progress their skiing/riding skills while developing a deeper understanding of competition strategies, tactics, and judging.
The National Team will be led by the most experienced coaches and will have more specific training objectives relative to the Regional Team. National Team athletes will be put into the most competitive groups possible and are held to a high standard in terms of their commitment and training. The National Team trains more hours on snow per season.
All National Team athletes must pass an on-snow tryout. If you have not yet passed the tryout, register for the Regional Team and type “National Team tryout” in the comments field. If you pass the tryout, you will be invoiced for the difference between the National Team and Regional Team program options. If you are unclear as to your status, contact Wallace Casper prior to registering.
Included in the National Team fee:
- Weekend training sessions from December 3, 2022 – April 9, 2023 (8:45 AM – 3:00 PM)
- Midweek training sessions on Wednesdays and Fridays from December 14, 2022 – March 17, 2023
- Lease of a team jacket for the season
- Christmas Camp
All participants in the Freeride program are expected to participate in at least two (2) competitions during the season. National Team athletes are expected to participate in at least four (4). Freeride athletes who do not wish to compete are encouraged to consider the Big Sky Resort Rippers program.
In order to compete, athletes must have an International Freeskiers Association (IFSA) membership/license, a helmet, and a back protector. IFSA membership, competition fees, lift tickets, lodging, and transportation costs related to competitions are not covered by the program fee.
For everyone’s safety, prospective first-year Freeride program participants must pass an on-mountain skills assessment before they will be allowed to join the Freeride team. The Freeride Head Coach will determine the sufficiency of an applicant’s skills at his or her sole discretion. Those athletes who aren’t yet ready for the Freeride program will be encouraged to participate in one of BSSEF’s Alpine programs (e.g. Youth Ski League or Buddy Werner) or Big Sky Resort’s Rippers program.
All Freeride program participants are required to have the following equipment:
- A digital, two or three-antenna avalanche transceiver
- An avalanche probe
- A metal avalanche shovel
- A sturdy and comfortable backpack with straps for attaching and carrying skis or a snowboard
- Back protection (must be separate from a backpack or vest)
- Skis suitable for freeride training and competition having no more than 108 millimeters underfoot with camber profile or a snowboard designed for freeride training and competition
- A skiing certified helmet (googles must be worn over the helmet, and the chin strap must be tight)
- Properly fitting ski or snowboard boots, preferably without walk mode
- Mouth guards are highly recommended
There are a number of resources related to Alpine and Freeride competitions:
- Start with the events calendar. We do our best to keep information on the event pages up-to-date, relevant, and complete.
- The definitive source of information for Northern Division Alpine races is the Northern Division website. The race calendar there includes links to race announcements and results.
- The IFSA website includes information regarding Junior Freeskiing competitions.
- During the course of a competition, coaches will send updates and communicate with parents and athletes via the TeamReach mobile app.
- Check the hotel reservation page for information about accommodations for out-of-area races.
- Subscribe to email notifications.
- “Like” the team’s Facebook page.
With appropriate clothing, kids can ski and train in below zero weather. Sometimes, however, the start of training will be delayed in order to allow the temperature to rise a bit. In all cases, coaches will bring kids into the lodge for warm-ups as necessary. As always, check the TeamReach app for the latest updates regarding training.
The team typically eats lunch between 11:30 AM and 12:30 PM. Timing can be a bit flexible, depending on conditions and the day’s training agenda. Coaches accompany the athletes, but athletes are responsible for getting their own lunches. Athletes will have lunch in the BSSEF Team Room.
The head coaches of each program are responsible for posting and updating training schedules to each program’s respective TeamReach group.
We feel your pain. We’re helped immensely by our sponsors, and we do our best to keep our overhead low in order to keep program prices in check. Nevertheless, program fees, equipment, and travel conspire to make skiing and ski racing expensive.
To make it less so, take advantage of early season program pricing and multi-program purchase discounts. Installment payment plans may be available on certain transactions.
Purchase used equipment via Montana Ski Racing Classified on Facebook and area ski swaps. (Bridger Ski Foundation hosts a great swap every Fall in Bozeman.) Last, but not least, make an application for a scholarship.