Get out of the lift lines and into the deep, untracked powder of Arlberg with a heliski trip!
In the last few years, the team from Arlberg Alpin has taken on the task of certifying and testing freeride equipment. Together with our partner Sport Jennewein from St. Anton, which surely is one of the best specialists in the Arlberg area of Freeriding, we have tested a variety of products and have decided on the best products in our opinion.
The Ideal Freeski
The freeride-skis or Allmountain-Carver are different from the original piste-skis in the special shovel. The shovel (tips) are softer than those of the piste-skis, whereby it will be much lighter for deep snow skiing. A hard shovel like that of the Race-Carver has the result that the ski digs itself lightly into deep snow and can cause a tumble. Furthermore, the freeride-skis of today (75mm to 100mm in the middle of the skis) are in total wider than the piste-skis, whereby you get better buoyancy. Also the length of the ski should be matched to body height. A soft shovel allows a longer ski. A relatively hard shovel, a shorter one. In the rules the freeride-skis can go up to a max of 10cm above body height. So the correct width skis (up to 130mm) in the middle are not only acceptable for freaks, but also for the beginner. Hence, the wider the ski, the easier and faster one learns the deep snow technique. Aside from that you save a lot of energy and boost the fun factor.
The Rocker – technology is the quantum spring in the transformation of pretension, i.e. the arching under the ski. Each ski has a pretension, which should cater for a simple handling performance. By a Rocker model the shovel and sometimes the ski-ends are bent like waterskis. This form allows the ski more upward buoyancy in deep snow. The stronger a ski is bent the better it is in deep snow. Careful all deep snow skis naturally have considerable disadvantages on the piste. Therefore one should carefully consider in what kind of area they want to ski. There are different models either 50% piste 50% terrain or 80% terrain and 20% piste. Each model of skis you can choose for yourself. You can find more information in our Freeride shop or at a specialist dealer about yourproper skis. You have the possibility to test freeride-skis with us.
The Stormrider 95 from Stöckli is a wider All-Mountain-Ski for pistes and powder snow. Through its soft-rocker construction the skis feel shorter and thereby are more versatile. On the piste the shorter running surface makes it easier to go on the edge of the skis.
Side cut e.g. length 183 cm 128 - 95 – 117 radius 22.2 m
The Stormrider VXL from Stöckli is a multifunctional ski for all curve variations on or near the piste. Thereby the skis have a relatively hard pre-tension, one can ski shorter runs on them without problems.
Especially for the ladies or light-weight people this is an advantage, when this type of ski features a soft-flex. See the description of construction.
Side cut e.g. length 179 cm 126 - 88 - 111 radius 21.2 m
SOFTFLEX: SOFTFLEX models are designed lighter and more flexible for optimal load transfer. They provide comfortable and yet dynamic skiing pleasure – a feature especially appreciated by women skiers.
POLYAMID-INSERT-TECHNOLOGIE (p.I.T):Developed and continually improved by Stöckli, this technology prede- fines parts to be lasered out of specific premeasured locations on the Titanal surface. Soft, elastic polyamide inserts are then placed into the resulting cavities. In addition to achieving weight reduction, this feature changes torsional behavior as the skier puts his weight on either the left or right ski (Stormrider PRO).
3AX: The sidewalls of the newest Stormrider Models 95 and 110 are built with a three-component glassfiber-reinforced synthetic to make them more robust, shock-resistant and undamageable. This exclusive ski revolution from Stöckli turns freeriding into an unforgettable experience!
ROCKER: With the introduction of its new Stormrider models 95 and 110 Stöckli now has two innovative freerider models in its program which are equipped with state-of-the-art rocker technology. This curve in the shovel improves lift in powder snow and prevents the ski from burying itself so easily underneath the snow. In addition, the contact surface is shortened because the curve is located in the front part of the ski. The ski thus feels shorter which makes it more maneuverable. On the piste the shortened contact surface makes it easier for the skier to get a good edge grip.
Functional clothing (onion-system) is an advantage, because one skis very energetically and sometimes wants or must surmount short climbs. The outer clothing should be light and be breathable. A two-layered Gore-Tex-membrane is adequate, of course three-layered is better. Gloves should be water-tight or better still be made of Gore-Tex material. The ends of the gloves should go high up over the sleeves; thereby the snow doesn’t immediately go into the interior. The ideal pants are those with a high waistband, whereby the back and kidney region are well covered. Through falls or from backpacks, short cut pants tend to slip down and expose the back. That can be very uncomfortable in cold snow. A helmet is a MUST for freeriders. The question is which? In principle it doesn’t matter, the main thing is that it fits, isn’t too tight and doesn’t have restricted vision. Sunglasses or skigoggles? Ski-goggles sit better with the helmet and compared with sunglasses, don’t let snow get between the eyes and the goggles. And the eyes don’t get teary when skiing fast.
Every freerider must have LVS- apparatus (avalanche equipment), shovel and sensor. The LVS apparatus should have the international frequency of 457 kHz. Ideally it should be the latest 3 antennae device. Compared with the old apparatus its search results are better and faster. The handling should already have been tested at home. The shovel should be light and compact, however, the shovel blade should be sufficiently stable that with hard snow, such as can be from an avalanche, can be optimally used. The sensor should be 240cm and stable. The new ‘I Probe’ from the manufacturer PIEPS is revolutionary and definitely an increased assistance in avalanches. Whoever would like to have another joker up their sleeve should choose an ABS-backpack. There are many different systems, like the Avalanche-ball, snorkel, etc. Still our mountain guides swear by an ABS-backpack. In the event of an avalanche two balloons will be blown up by the compressed air, whereby the chances of staying on the surface of the avalanche are very good and one can be found faster. The ABS backpacks of today have change systems of 10litre – 50litres volume capacity. The base plate for the actual ABS is the same. This comes in two sizes S and L. A protector is a great advantage, because the spine is well protected from any falls.Protectors with a connected vest are recommended.