At first only the preserve of snowboarder types, riding the pipe and snowpark is now just as accessible to those on two planks.
With the explosion of terrain parks cropping up resort wide over the past few years, it's not surprising that more and more ski brands (and now snowboard brands too) are jumping on the band wagon to create ever better performing freestyle skis.
|Freestyle skis |
Freestyle skis are shorter and lighter than regular carving skis, facilitating aerial tricks and spins. They also have twin tips (are kicked up at the back as well as the front) so that you can land and ride backwards, or "switch".
Where long, long ago in the land of the 90s we saw ski brands launch the snowboard, we're now seeing snowboard brands re-launch the ski.
Veteran snowboard manufacturers Hammer launched a line of freeskis in winter 2007 and APO, the very brand that caused the explosion of snowboarding in Europe, launched their range of freestyle skis in winter 2008.
Search for freestyle skis here
Photo: Salomon men's park ski "Suspect"
Photo: Salomon women's park ski "Mai Tai"
|Freestyle snowboards |
Freestyle snowboards are also shorter, lighter and have twin tips, making them easier to manoeuvre and ride fakie.
Freestyle snowboards can be subdivided into those which are best for the half pipe, being the most flexible and responsive, and slopestyle boards that are designed for jibbing around the pistes.
Search for freestyle snowboards here
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Photo: Nikita Clothing
The strap line for R.E.D's skycap II helmet is "learn tricks and remember your name". This seems to pretty much sum up why it's advisable to wear a skid lid when riding the park.
Wearing a helmet is no longer seen as being in any way "geeky" either, with brands such as Burton's R.E.D offering a selection of helmets based on the street "skate" style, which incorporate many an exciting feature such as built in audio.
Salomon have also introduced a Custom Air range which essentially incorporates an inflatable air bag for your head, thus enabling you to fit your helmet to your exact head shape at the touch of a button
|Body Armour |
Those hitting the big air and riding rails may also want to invest in some body armour. There's now a good selection on the market, ranging from lower back armour to full back armour and impact shorts to knee pads.
Search for protective wear here
Put a Lid on it:
Pro rider Shaun White protects the grey matter