Freeride school. Course “Off-piste skiing, basics”


Have you ever paid attention to the fact that among hundreds of riders on the slope, only a few really differ (no, not with the bright clothes) in their riding style that catch the eye?
At first, it is not clear what exactly their style stands out for, but if you take a closer look, it becomes clear that their movements are smooth and harmonious even at high speeds, they do not have unnecessary twitching and swinging with their hands, and the body position looks natural.

They do not ride like most. They do it RIGHT. This is a Riding TECHNIQUE! And oddly enough, technique, along with other factors, also directly affects avalanche safety.

The ability to fluidly ride the slope without loading it, the ability to safely pass “no fall”-zones, the ability to assess all risk factors: weather conditions, snow conditions and relief, competently and safely lay your own descent line and drive according to the planned plan – this is a freeride tactic.

“I want to try freeriding” – innumerable skiers and snowboarders go off the piste without the slightest understanding of the possible dangers. How many of them are ready to blindly and without hesitation entrust their safety to a good guide at best, and at worst to a more charismatic comrade who takes with him on a seemingly fun adventure. In any case, it is necessary to understand that everyone bears responsibility for his personal safety himself. And so that you yourself can make your own right decision, you need to learn – to conduct regular training on the slope in avalanche hazard assessment and prospecting, working with avalanche equipment .

My name is Andriy Nenko, I am the founder of the freeride school GoldenRide.
I have been snowboarding since 2007. I am a certified instructor of the Association of Professional Ski Instructors of Ukraine and for the last 10 years have been working as a freeride guide. I have dozens of backcountry programs under my belt in the highlands of the Carpathians and in the large mountains of the Caucasus.

Our Freeride Basics course was developed in accordance with the methods of ISIA, IFMGA, CAA. With our team of guides, you will learn 1) freeride techniques 2) tactics of behavior in the mountains 3) avalanche science and safely ride the best routes and locations under the supervision of a reliable guide.

5-day course


for 1 rider

  • 5 days of practical training
  • Working with a guide / instructor on freeride routes
  • 1 day of catskiing (freeride tour on a snowcat for the whole day)
  • Technique: (alpine skiing / snowboarding) vertical work, carving, Steep riding, drops, fixing mistakes
  • Studying snow layers. Stability tests.
  • Working with avalanche equipment, finding a target (rent included)
  • 4 lectures: freeriding techniques, avalanche safety, terrain and line selection, rescue
  • Analysis of work on video

Additional costs

  • Accommodation and meals (breakfasts and dinners) – we advise and help to book
  • Transfer from Yasinya to the hotel at Dragobrat and back (300 UAH) – we organize

The place

Dragobrat, the Svydovets ridge (the Carpathians)

Upcoming dates:

  • 14-18 of December
  • 21-25 of December
  • 30.12-03.01 New Year
  • 5-9 of January (Easter)
  • 11-15 of January
  • 18-22 of January
  • 25-29 of January
  • 1-5 of Febuary
  • 8-12 of Febuary
  • 15-19 of Febuary
  • 22-26 of Febuary
  • 1-5 of March
  • 8-12 of March
  • 15-19 of March
  • 22-26 of March
  • 29.03-2.04 of April

Minimum requirements for participants

Advanced level: ability to flip on piste, confident descents on red tracks, control on black tracks
3-8 participants in a group

Freeride technique.

Two groups: skiing and snowboarding

There is no freeride technique! These are all marketing terms that various freeride schools use to attract customers. Are you surprised? But it’s true. “How so? I confidently ride on-piste, but have problems riding off-piste, ”- you say. So: freeride technique is the most common FULL basic set of CORRECT elements used on-piste. It means that you have an unCOMPLETE set of technique elements or they are inCORRECT, i.e. you ride with mistakes that are unnoticeable on-piste.

Complete base. This is a set of elements – a stand, weight transfers, vertical work (unloading up, unloading down and combined), carving, tilting, angulation, turns with slip and carving, closed and open turns, direct guidance; for skiers: independent footwork, slipping, work of hands.
Right technique. It’s a common practice when riders pull along a whole ballast of mistakes, received from self-taught friends or acquired by them. As practice shows, in most cases it seems that we have already learned how to descend and even do it confidently and intuitively, but with increasing speeds, difficulty of the tracks, entering freeride, these mistakes start to manifest themselves clearly in the form of loss of control, incomprehensible falls, muscle numbness.
What’s wrong? Maybe you’ve got the wrong board, or the slope has already been ridden into bumps? Is the snow different? How can you feel confident in any conditions? How to ride the steep slope?

«There is no bad snow, there is a bad rider»

In this Freeride Technique course, we will learn:
1. Basic technique elements that will help you explore your own optimal riding style and feel confident on any snow – from crust, ice to meter powder.
2. Advanced skills: control and speed, drops, descent from steep slopes (Steep Riding)

  • In the lecture “Freeride Technique” we will consider all the basic technique elements.
  • Discuss the main mistakes and their causes.
  • Work on-piste with special practical exercises to eliminate mistakes, correct technique and study the “base” that could help you ride almost any snow and slope condition.
  • Work out the elements to control the speed.

This is not an entry level school – for those who are new to skiing/snowboarding, we recommend to get an individual instructor.
The course would perfectly suite riders who need to upgrade the level of skiing and start confidently ride off-piste.

But in addition to the technique, you still need to get a knowledge about the specifity of skiing off-piste.

Freeride tactique. Choosing the right descent line

— Where to go here? – the most frequently asked question by the riders on the top of Gandarm (one of the popular freeride spots) on Dragobrat, at the time when snowcat took everyone on a freeride. It is hard to call such an approach to off-piste skiing as a freeride, the reckoning for negligence will not be long in coming.

Freeride is the highest level in riding hierarchy – it requires a certain level of skills, which are based on mastering the correct technique, understanding the mechanisms of interaction with the slope, the ability to see and choose the descent line, that is, the ability to “think” in the mountains. In freeriding, every ascent must be worked out, every descent must be calculated, every line must bring the very emotions and adrenaline and at the same time be safe. The freeride line is your signature on the slope, and how harmoniously and safely it is laid and how it is passed will show how competent you are.

Dragobrat has in general calm relief, but there are also areas with difficult ones. Therefore, Dragobrat is a perfect place for attending the freeride school and improve skills both for advanced riders and experts.

In the section “Freeride tactics” we will analyze what riders can face off-piste, what decisions to make and how to act:

  • Freeride weather conditions: from sun to whiteout.
  • Snow conditions: crust, ice, powder. Sluff management.
  • Macro-relief: stress contours, couloirs, relief traps, cornices.
  • Choosing the optimal safe line of ascent and descent
  • Psychological factors: what interferes, what helps, how to work with both

Avalanche safety.

In Europe and US, people involved in off-piste skiing – freeriding – take the issue of safety in the mountains very seriously. Since the 19th century, a whole science of glaciology and its direction – avalanche science has developed.
Rider who just visit ski resorts don’t have to worry much about lots of things – specially trained teams of pro’s do a tremendous job every day to ensure the safety of people within the resort. However, when the riders go off-piste, they will have to face lots of unknown elements …
So what to do? What do riders need to know and do to stay safe riding off piste?
Dragobrat is an area with relatively stable avalanche conditions and is a great place to get answers to these questions and prepare for the more serious mountains.

  • In the lecture, we will analyze the types of avalanches, the causes of occurrence, ways to determine the possibility of avalanches, which lead a rider to a key decision to go / not go.
  • In practice: studying of snow layers, snow pit. Snow stability tests.
  • Forecasting. What factors of avalanche formation to look for.
  • Working with avalanche equipment. Search for an avalanche victim.

Our team:

Detailed school program:

day 1

10:00 — 16:00 — Acquaintance with the group and participant’s level of riding. Basic technique elements. Correction of errors.

20:00 — Lecture “Freeride Technique”

day 2

10:00-13:00 — Freeride technique elements. Off-piste skiing.
13:00-14:00 — Lunch break.
14:00-16:00 — Off-piste skiing. Working with avalanche equipment. Search for a target.
20:00 — Lecture “Avalanche Safety”

day 3

10:00 — Catskiing day. Off-piste riding using elements of freeride technique. Reading the relief, choosing the line of descent. Speed, drops, steep riding.
20:00 — Lecture “Freeride tactics. The choice of the descent line “

day 4

10:00 — Warm-up runs at the resort. Fixing the technique elements. Carving
12:00 — Backcountry. Freeriding in the descent places. Choosing the right descent line. Ibid – Shurf: analysis of the stability of snow layers.
20:00 — Lecture “Organization of riding in a group. Rescue work: algorithms for finding a victim in an avalanche ”.

day 5. Exam day

10:00 — Backcountry. Bootpacking on remote slopes. Simulation of various situations, group work. Search for an avalanche victim. Further recommendations to the participants.
In case of favorable conditions, it is possible to rent a snowcat for the program.

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