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Best Freestyle Skis For 2021-2022 | Durable And Playful Skis Built To Lap The Park

Built to take a beating in the park, here's our pick of the best freestyle skis for the 21/22 season

Tired of skiing with two planks firmly on the ground? Looking to spice up your skiing? Grab yourself a pair of freestyle skis and get airborne. Designed to bring out the most creative, playful, and stylish elements of your skiing, a pair of freestyle skis really can turn the mountain into your playground (excuse the cliché, but it exists for a reason).

“Freestyle skis really can turn the mountain into your playground”

Despite what the monumental level of trickery currently displayed in freeskiing films and competitions might suggest, freestyle skis tend to be pretty inclusive in terms of ability level (with a few competition-specific exceptions). This accommodating nature comes from their soft to medium flex range, relatively light weight, and optimal manoeuvrability.

Best Freestyle Skis For 2022

  • Head Oblivion 84
  • Faction Prodigy 1.0 X
  • K2 Poacher
  • Armada ARW 86
  • Faction Prodigy 2.0
  • Scott Scrapper 95
  • Line Honey Bee
  • Faction Prodigy 2.0
  • Atomic Bent Chetler 100
  • ON3P Jeffrey 96
  • Volkl Revolt 87
  • Armada ARW 86
  • Armada ARV 86

Here’s a bit of a dive into the features to look out for when making your freestyle ski purchase:

Camber

Lay a pair of skis flat on a surface and you’ll most likely see the ski rise up from said surface. The rise, most prominent from the waist, is something we call camber. This rise means that when the ski is weighted, it will have an even distribution of weight throughout the whole length of the ski rather than exclusively at its midpoint. If you’re looking for skis with a lot of energy and bite in firm snow, then look for skis with a liberal use of camber underfoot.

Rocker

Rocker is essentially the opposite to camber. It’s the upwards curve into the ski profile, usually in the tips and tails. Rocker shortens the contact length of the edges, requiring less effort to steer your skis into turns. Fully ‘rockered’ skis will have minimal contact points on the snow, as the tips and tails are heavily raised above the surface. This makes for extremely manoeuvrable skis that sail through deep snow, at the cost of bite on firm snow.

Credit: Ed Blomfield

Camber/Rocker Mix

Similar to all-mountain skis, most freestyle skis these days combine camber underfoot with rockered tips and tails. This blend combines all the good stuff of camber and rocker together to create an extremely versatile rocker profile. Camber underfoot ensures the skis can hold an edge at speed on kicker take-offs and landings. Meanwhile, rocker allows you to whip, press, and swivel your skis around at will. Plus, lift in the tips and tails also minimises the chances of your skis snagging on rails or features.

Generally speaking, if you’re looking for an ultra-stiff park ski for exclusive use on larger park jumps, opt for maximum camber. A healthy dose of rocker will help you out if you fancy a more playful ride trying your hand at natural features, jumps and jibs.

Sidecut

Presented by brands as ‘120 / 95 / 115’ (numbers will vary) this figure shows the width of the tips (first number), waist (second number), and tail (third number) in millimetres. When combined (also taking the amount of tapering into account), the sidecut also gives the radius (in metres) of the ski in question.

This radius is the distance the ski would travel to make a turn, if you were to put it on edge and follow the shape that the sidecut creates. For example, the set of numbers in the paragraph above represent a radius of 25 metres for 180cm ski. Skis with a longer radius are stable at speed through long turns, while skis with a shorter radius are easier to turn and create shorter snappier turns.

Freestyle skis tend to have a medium radius making them easy to handle, but stable at the higher speeds required for ultimate control on kicker in-runs and landings.

Shaping

Unlike traditional skis (often referred to as ‘directional’ skis), freestyle skis feature near symmetrical shaping in the tips and the tails, which is why you’ll often hear them referred to as ‘twin tips’. This symmetrical shaping is what allows freestyle skiers to ride switch (backwards) as effortlessly as forwards. Skis intended for exclusive use in the park tend to have a more symmetrical sidecut, whilst freestyle skis designed with all-mountain versatility in mind feature more directional shaping for downhill and powder performance.

Mounting point

Freestylers learn early on that keeping your body weight evenly distributed over your skis is the key to stability and control. Freestyle skis are usually ‘centre mounted’, meaning the boot is placed almost directly in the middle of the ski to help you remain centred.

For those used to directional skis where the binding is situated closer towards the ski tails, this requires some adjusting, but a centre mounted ski makes switch skiing, spinning, and landing tricks a whole lot easier.

‘Freestyle recommended’ mounting points are a fail-safe mounting option for those who are new to freestyle. Make sure to ask your ski technician if you want your ski mounted in the true centre, as this often differs slightly to the recommended mounting point.

Width

Freestyle ski widths tend to fall within a range of 80 – 100mm. Smaller waist widths (approx. 80 –  88mm) offer more bite on firm snow as power from your boot can be directly driven to the edges of the skis – great for generating speed and power off booters.

Wider waist widths (90mm +) create a larger surface area underfoot, providing stability on rails and enabling the ski to act as a launchpad for buttering around. A waist width of 95+ starts to take you into the realms of an all mountain/freestyle ski.

You don’t really want to go wider than 100mm for a freestyle ski, however, as too much width and swing weight underfoot will feel clunky on features and hard to handle in the air.

Head Oblivion 84

Best For: Lightweight durability
Sidecut: 120 / 84 / 109 (176cm)
Radius: 19m (176cm)
Price: £335 / €350 / $475

Head are ‘beefing-up’ their current Caddy freeski line and relaunching the revamped skis under their revived Oblivion range name. Developed alongside park and pipe legends Jesper Tjäder and Aaron Blunck, Head have focused their efforts on crafting a ‘virtually indestructible ski’ to withstand the numerous beatings thrown upon any park ski. They have achieved this increased durability by incorporating thicker impact resistant ABS sidewalls, their toughest base material, and a laminate sandwich core construction.

If the Oblivion survives Jesper Tjäder’s monstrous rail tricks, we’re pretty sure it will work for us. The Oblivion’s narrow 84mm waist is paired with a significantly wider tip and tail, making it easy to throw around on hardpack but difficult to destroy.

Selected for the 21/22 Mpora Ski 100. Check out our full Head Oblivion 84 Review here

Note: Faction Prodigy 1.0 pictured (same ski, different topsheets)

Faction Prodigy 1.0 X

Best For: Playful performance
Sidecut: 120 / 88 / 112 (164cm)
Radius: 16m (164cm)
Price: £469 / €469  / $500

There isn’t a more dominant ski on the women’s freeski podium than Faction’s Prodigy 1.0 X, repped by the likes of Swiss-trio Mathilde Gremaud, Sarah Hoefflin and Giulia Tanno (to name just three of the leading athletes sporting this ski). The Prodigy 1.0 combines playfulness with performance, making it a hit with those just dabbling in freestyle skiing to those topping podiums.

A poplar core makes for a medium flex ski and the relatively short turn radius (12 metres at 164cm) enables smooth and relaxed steering. But make no mistake, the Prodigy 1.0’s directional twin shaping ensure that when pressure is applied, these skis deliver maximum pop and enable explosive skiing. The Prodigy 1.0 model features an identical construction to the 1.0 X – only the top sheet and minimum/maximum lengths differ – which, of course, also lands the Prodigy 1.0 on our selection of best freestyle skis.

Selected for the 21/22 Mpora Ski 100. Check out our full Faction Prodigy 1.0 Review here

K2 Poacher

Best For: Burly durability
Sidecut: 163 / 170 / 177 / 184 (184cm)
Radius: 19m (180cm)
Price: £435 / €500 / $500

We agree with K2’s assessment of the Poacher: their ‘twin-tipped freak’. From X-Games podiums to urban shoots and everything in between, the Poacher leaves its mark loud and clear. This is no flimsy park ski. Thanks to K2’s twin tech sidewalls, the Poacher is intended to withstand serious impact.

Added to its impressive durability, an aspen and fir core construction with additional carbon stringers woven throughout the ski, make for a stiff, energetic, and damp ski. At 2kg per ski (at 177cm), the Poacher is best suited to those who prefer a bit of burliness underfoot. This substantial weight does not, however, prevent the Poacher from more playful riding. The Poacher’s 96mm waist and considerable tip and tail rocker, will have you buttering, smearing, and slarving away. The Poacher is aggressive in its performance and serious fun.

Selected for the 21/22 Mpora Ski 100. Check out our full K2 Poacher Review here

Scott Scrapper 95

Best For: Tough, but lightweight
Sidecut (mm): 131 / 95 / 119 (178 cm)
Radius: 19m (178 cm)
Price: £490 / €550 / $700

The Scott Scrapper 95 builds on the now-legendary Scrapper profile in a 95 mm all-mountain waist width. This results in a freeride-specific shape with a lightweight and highly responsive construction for those who like to keep things playful both in the park and beyond the resort boundaries.

This lightweight build started from the top down with Scott’s award winning carbon and aramid construction. This construction utilises the lightweight power of carbon with the dampening qualities of aramid to produce a highly responsive ride, with a very slight weight penalty.

Selected for the 21/22 Mpora Ski 100. Check out our full Scott Scrapper 95 Review here

Line Honey Bee

Best For: Tough, but lightweight
Sidecut (mm): 120-92-116
Radius: 16.5
Price: £290

Line modified their Honey Badger park ski to create a shorter, flexier, and lighter weight women’s model. Despite the reduced weight, the result is one of the toughest park skis out there. Line’s trademark Fatty Base and Edge construction ensures ultimate durability: the 4D Fibrecap construction – layering four directions of fibreglass over the core – increases resistance, without adding weight.

A 1.7mm thick base and 2.5mm high steel edges equip the Honey Bee to take on the streets and all manner of rails. At 92mm underfoot, the Honey Bee offers a stable base for pipes and rails, and a larger ski surface for smooth, stylish, transitions. Lightweight enough to float out spins but beefy enough to conquer metal, the Honey Bee is a deceptively gnarly ski. Watch Taylor Lundquist’s 2021 X Games Real Ski edit for a true testament to the Honey Bee’s combination of style and strength.

Selected for the 20/21 Mpora Ski 100. Check out our full Line Honey Bee Review here

Faction Prodigy 2.0

Best For: All-mountain playfulness
Sidecut (mm): 127 / 98 / 119 (183 cm)
Radius: 20m (183 cm)
Price: £470

Faction’s Prodigy 2.0 brings the park performance of the 1.0 with a good sprinkling more versatility thanks to its all-mountain friendly width. The 2.0’s 98mm waist is more than enough to keep you afloat during heavy powder days, yet not so much that it becomes a nuisance when you’re putting these skis on edge, or stomping spins in the park.

Gracing this shaping is some pretty standard rocker built into both the tips and tails, with 3 mm of camber underfoot, which’ll help you bite into those piste carves or booter takeoffs. Those who like their skis with a stout flex will enjoy the feedback generated by the 2.0’s responsive but light weight poplar core. In short, the Prodigy 2.0 can handle first lift powder frenzy just as smoothly as it handles cruising through the park.

Selected for the 20/21 Mpora Ski 100. Check out our full Faction Prodigy 2.0 review here.

Atomic Bent Chetler 100

Best For: Playfulness across the entire mountain
Sidecut (mm): 129.5 / 100 / 120 (180cm)
Radius: 19.5m (180cm)
Price: £450

We can’t get enough of the Bent Chetler 100. Featured in our Best All-Mountain Skis of 2021, we are now claiming it as one of the best park skis out there. Sure, at 100 mm underfoot the BC 100 is a good deal wider than your traditional park ski, but since it performs just as well, the added width only makes the BC 100 that much more versatile and more stylish.

Since the BC 100 features a directional rocker, sidecut, and recommended mounting point, we were surprised by just how smoothly these skis ride switch. Need convincing that this ski excels in the park like it does everywhere else? Just watch Annika Rava and Lukas Mullauer cruise through the park on their BC 100s. As we’ve said thrice before, if you’re an advanced skier looking to combine freestyle and freeride, the BC 100 is pretty damn close to a perfect one ski quiver.

Selected for the 20/21 Mpora Ski 100. Check out our full Atomic Bent Chetler 100 review here

ON3P Jeffrey 96

Best For: Handbuilt performance
Sidecut: 125 / 96 / 119 (176cm)
Radius: 18.5m (176cm)

Originating out of founder Scott Andrus’ garage and now based out of Portland, Oregon, ON3P continue to shake things up in the world of freeskiing by entirely handbuilding every single one of their skis. The narrowest ski in their best-selling Jeffrey line, the Jeffrey 96, is a high performing park ski, which handles everything else on the mountain thanks to its 96mm waist.

ON3P’s trademark bamboo core, UHMW sidewalls, double thickness base, and 2.5mm steel edges make the Jeffrey 96 incredibly strong and resilient. This durable construction and unique build has earned ON3P favour with the most creative and stylish skiers in the game, in particular when it comes to rails and jibs. We’re stoked that ON3P’s equivalent women’s model, the Jessie, is returning to production in 2021/22. Watch Giorgia Bertoncini’s SuperUnkown edit to see what these skis are capable of.

Check out the ON3P Skis here:
on3pskis.com

Volkl revolt 87

Best For: Fiercely technical
Sidecut: 129.5-100-120 (180cm)
Radius: 19.5m (180cm)
Price: £450

For freestylers looking for maximum stability and stiffness, look no further than Volkl’s Revolt 87. Built to conquer competition podiums, the Revolt 87 is a fiercely technical freestyle ski. Uniquely for a freestyle ski, the Revolt 87 features 100% camber (no rocker in sight.) The result is a ski that delivers ultimate edge control and, thanks to the inclusion of Volkl’s highest level race base, performance at speed.

The Revolt 87’s fully symmetrical sidecut means you can expect equally high performance riding switch. While the Revolt 87 is on the heaver side of freestyle skis at 2kg per ski (at 185cm), you get heaps of support underfoot in return. Its not only the Revolt 87’s explosivity that’s turning heads. The entire Revolt series is kitted out in Ben Brough’s eye-catching spirit animal inspired artwork.

Check out the Revolt 87 here:
voelkl.com

Armada ARW 86

Best For: Lightweight responsiveness
Sidecut: 122 / 86 / 107 (156cm)
Radius: 16.5m (156cm)
Price: £340

The ARV’s sister series – the ARW – consistently provides a leading line-up of women’s specific freestyle skis from Armada. Our top pick, the ARW 86, is a stunt machine that makes light work of tricks from those first 180s up to dub 12s on the professional scene.

The ARW 86 is remarkably light underfoot, making it the ideal partner for airtime, spins, and flips. It’s also a pretty soft ski (Armada rate it 5.5/10 at its stiffest point underfoot), giving the ski heaps of playfulness and making it easy to throw around.

Despite their light weight and accommodating flex, the ARW 86 feels incredibly responsive and generates a whole lot of performance both in and outside of the park. A generous 17-metre turn radius (at 163cm) with rockered tips and tails allows the ARW to rip through soft chop, bumps, and tree lines just as well as it carves off kickers.

Check out the Armada ARW 86 here:
armadaskis.com

Armada ARV 86

Best For: Buttery smooth playfulness
Sidecut: 115 / 86 / 109
Radius: 17.5m (170cm)
Price: £365

An iconic freestyle ski year in, year out, the ARV 86 has been going strong since Armada’s inception in 2002. The ARV 86 hits the freestyle skiing jackpot by bestowing its riders with equal measures of style and send.

With its reliable and lightweight poplar core, bolstered with ash stringers for responsiveness, the ARV 86 offers plenty of pop and stability for hitting features. But – as with all things Armada – the ARV 86 is most renowned for its style.

The soft tail flex, even softer nose, and rockered tips will have you non-stop buttering and jibbing all over the mountain or streets. You only have to watch Noah Albaladejo’s 2020 X Games Real Ski edit to get a hint (or, actually more of a blast) of the ski’s manoeuvrability and the creativity it encourages.

Check out the Armada ARV 86 here:
armadaskis.com

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