Freeriding (from the English free "free" and ride "ride", in German "Tiefschneefahren") is skiing in its purest form. In recent years there has been a real boom in so-called off-piste adventures. More and more skiers are drawn to the untouched snow slopes away from the marked and controlled slopes.
Deep snow skiing or freeriding can be done off-piste with the right equipment and if there is enough snow. The Stubai Glacier, for example, is one of the top freeride areas in Austria with the Powder Department created especially for freeriders.
In addition to 13 off-piste runs, the Powder Department also includes an ORTOVOX avalanche transceiver training area as well as so-called avalanche transceiver checkpoints on the Eisgrat, Gamsgarten and at the Rotadl mountain station - because in an emergency, trained handling of the avalanche transceiver is crucial.
After having already looked at the numerous variants and freeride possibilities on the Stubai Glacier and having always wanted to explore them myself, the Freeride Camp for women is finally getting underway.
Even if the sun was a little restrained on this day, the mood and anticipation among the ladies was euphoric. The entire group had already gotten to know each other the night before at the Welcome Evening - and everyone agreed: on the boards, on the skis and let's go!
So while the team from Faction set up skis including bindings in record time, we already got acquainted with our experienced guides. After a short welcome, the groups were divided up so that everyone could get their money's worth, depending on their ability. Perfect start, especially for newcomers like me.
However, in order to fully enjoy freeriding, it is of course SAFETY FIRST! Therefore, the right equipment is also an absolute MUST at our Freeride Camp in Austria. In addition to skis, boots, helmet and ski poles, the clothing should also be breathable and water-repellent. In addition, avalanche beacons, shovels, probes and avalanche airbag systems (ABS) backpacks are essential to minimize the risk to yourself and others. So before it was time to strap on the skis, the equipment check and safety briefing were first on the agenda. After all, knowledge of avalanche awareness and the use of freeride safety equipment are basic requirements for freeriding. Equipped with the Faction freeride skis and the ORTOVOX safety equipment, we headed off to the powder department.
The golden rule in skiing and also in freeriding is: Keep your composure! Because speed, direction and snow conditions change constantly in the terrain. In order to be able to quickly and safely adapt one's own skiing style to the respective conditions, the correct body posture is particularly important. That's why it was a matter of repeating alpine skiing behavior. After a short warm-up on the slopes to get a feel for the new skis (even after years of skiing experience, the wide Faction skis were a short change for me) and to recall the good-old ski course exercises, we finally went off-piste.
Unfortunately, Frau Holle was not entirely on our side, which is why we had to fight our way up the fresh untouched slopes. However, the ascents (partly on foot with skis shouldered) were definitely worth it and a few tracks in untouched slopes we may also call ours. The experienced guides navigated us super through the terrain, gave us helpful tips and explained the respective situation on the slope. Even before lunch, all participants showed visible progress in terms of freeriding.
After a well-deserved refreshment in the reserved seminar room at the Eisgrat, the ladies and I started the afternoon highly motivated. With the experience of the morning, we now already mastered the first steeper freeride slopes and even a small gully we could successfully force with the help of our guides. "We did it" - proudly secured greet me as I descend at the end of the day at the bottom station. Tired and completely satisfied, I go home, while the participants relax at the hotel and prepare for the next day.
I have to say, even though the day was very intense, the time flew by. I can only recommend the Freeride Camp on the Stubai Glacier to every lady, to get a taste of powder skiing or to expand your existing knowledge. I was able to learn so much in just one day - whether it was about my skiing technique or avalanche awareness. I was definitely hooked on freeriding and I'm already looking forward to the next season. Because: practice makes perfect!
My tip: for all those who have now got the desire for a powder experience, the FreerideTestival will take place from 11 - 12 February 2023 on the Stubai Glacier! Here's besides the latest test material also exciting courses, workshops and much more! All info and registration here .