Welcome To Freeride
What Is The IFSA?
The International Freeskiers and Snowboarders Association (IFSA) is the primary sanctioning, judging, and ranking organization for junior and adult big mountain Freeride events in North and South America.
The IFSA is a governing and sanctioning body.
The IFSA DOES NOT produce events.
We operate in partnership with the Freeride World Tour (FWT) and mountain resorts that host IFSA-sanctioned Freeride events. The IFSA has built and unified a network of events that allow athletes to earn points and compete in regional, national, and world tour events. The IFSA represents the interests of athletes and allows them to have a voice in their sport. Your membership with IFSA supports our mission, our staff, and allows you to earn points for a ranking against riders in your division, and earn recognition in the sport of Freeride. To learn more about the organization, visit the About Us section here on our website.
The IFSA is still very much a grassroots organization, relying on the support of coaches, athletes, parents, volunteers, and event partners to execute our mission. Currently, the IFSA staff work year round to support:
- The Scheduling & Organization of 120+ Freeride Events
- 500+ Freeride Coaches
- 2,900 + Junior IFSA Athletes + Parents
- 1,200 + Adult FWQ Athletes
- 60+ Event Organizers
- 100+ Freeride Teams
- Registration for all Freeride Events
- Social Media Coverage
- Syncing Rankings for All Events (up to 10 per week!)
- All Marketing + Athlete & Coach Communication Emails
- Answering up to 120 Emails Per Day in Peak Season
- Maintenance of IFSA Website + Event Page/Registration Page Listings
- Maintenance of the Rule Handbooks & Documentation
- Event Organizer Training Materials
- Scorekeeper Training
- Serving the Volunteer Board of Directors
- Conducting Monthly & Bi-monthly Board Meetings
- Coordinating Logistics With Event Organizers
The remainder of tasks and projects are tackled by our Volunteer IFSA Board.
To compete in IFSA-sanctioned events, you must have an active and current IFSA membership.
Memberships are required and offered for juniors (under-19), Freeride coaches, adult Freeride World Qualifier (FWQ) athletes, and FWQ Collegiate athletes.
To determine which IFSA membership type you need, see the diagram below.
To view a schedule of upcoming Freeride events, click the EVENTS tab on our homepage. The schedule is typically unveiled in September or October of each year.
HELPFUL FREERIDE LINKS
PURCHASE ADULT MEMBERSHIP – CLICK HERE
PURCHASE JUNIOR MEMBERSHIP – CLICK HERE
I’m ready to purchase my IFSA membership.
Coaches, juniors, and FWQ adult athletes must purchase an annual IFSA/FWQ Membership to compete in sanctioned events in North and South America. Once a member, you can sign up for events with your username and password. As you compete, you'll rack up points against riders within your division.
IF YOU ARE A JUNIOR...(FWQ Athletes scroll down lower)
In which age division do I belong?
Athletes who are 18 years of age can compete in FWQ Adult/Collegiate Series events OR continue to compete in the Junior Series. However, once an athlete competes in an Adult FWQ event or turns 19 years of age, they can no longer compete on the Junior Series.
IFSA Junior Athletes are broken down into three divisions:
- 12-14 year olds
- 15-18 year olds
Athletes competing in the Junior Series will compete in the age category that relates to their age as of December 31 leading up to that competition season.
Athletes cannot advance a division, even if their birthday is mid-season.
Athletes 11 years of age or younger on or prior to December 31st are eligible only for the U12 age category.
Athletes 12-14 years of age on or prior to December 31st are eligible only for the 12-14 age category.
Athletes 15-18 years or age or older on December 31st are eligible only for the 15-18 age category.
Take a look at our IFSA Junior Regional map below. Your geographic region is determined by the location of the states where you will be competing most often. This designation dictates how the points for your Regional Series finishes are calculated.
- Eastern US: Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and New York
- Rocky Mountain: Colorado and New Mexico
- Intermountain: Idaho, Utah
- Northern: Montana, Wyoming
- Far West: California, Nevada
- Pacific Northwest: Oregon, Washington, Alaska, (and Sandpoint + Schweitzer Mountain Resort, ID)
- Western Canada: Alberta and British Columbia
- Eastern Canada: Ontario, Quebec
- South America: Chile, Argentina
NOTE: Teams and athletes out of Sandpoint, ID and Schweitzer Mountain Resort have been assigned to the Pacific Northwest geographic region rather than the Intermountain geographic region. The Schweitzer Mountain Junior Regional 2* will be considered a Pacific Northwest Regional Series event.
JUNIORS: Join A Big Mountain Team Or Club if Possible
As a Junior competitor, joining a big mountain team or club will teach you how to safely participate in Freeride while providing you with invaluable mountain sense, heightened decision making skills, and a supportive community that shares your love for Freeride. You will also benefit from learning alongside riders that will be competing at your level. Joining a Freeride team provides valuable insight pertaining to line choice, IFSA judging methodology, and how to succeed in Freeride.
BROWSE LOCAL TEAMS - CLICK HERE
JUNIORS: If You Can’t Join a Team, Register as an IFSA Independent
If joining a team as a Junior isn't feasible or there isn’t one in your area, that’s OK; simply sign up as "IFSA Independent" when registering. We encourage independent athletes and parents to proactively seek information about freeride safety and judging protocol. This information will help athletes make sound line choices with safety as a priority in competition and practice. For more info, click here.
JUNIORS: Sign Up For Events
Once you have an active IFSA membership, you can begin earning points by competing in events. Athletes under 18 years of age will compete as Juniors, those older than 18 will compete in our Adult Qualifier Series. Register for IFSA events through the The Driven platform. Information about registration times and links to The Driven registration pages can always be found on our event pages. Upon purchasing a membership, you will be added to our email list to receive updates about registration dates, important deadlines, community announcements, etc. Please also follow us on Instagram and Facebook for important updates.
Your points and rankings from the previous season will determine if you are extended a Pre-Qualified invitations to register for our 13 Junior National Series events. Registration for Nationals Series events always takes place in early-mid December. Registration for Regional Series events typically opens 6 weeks prior to the event date and runs first come, first served. (For more information, please see the IFSA Junior Handbook).
Each season, in mid-March, the top ranked juniors will receive an invitation to the North American Championships (NorAm Champs). The IFSA also provides a championship event specifically for our U-12 athletes and limited registration is rolled out on a first come, first served basis.
NOTE: The demand for competitive IFSA junior events is incredibly high. We are struggling to add new events to match the explosive growth of our junior community.
Event registration often sells out on the same date (or hour) that registration opens. We HIGHLY recommend reading our emails and making note of the dates and times that registration opens to increase the likelihood that you gain entry to the events of your choice. Purchase your IFSA membership well before event registration opens and have your login information handy. For more information on registration for junior events, please click here.
IF YOU ARE AN ADULT QUALIFIER ATHLETE...
If you are new to Freeride, you’ll need to earn points to establish a ranking on the FWQ Global Seed List. Invitations to Qualifier 2*, 3* and 4* events in Region 2 are dictated by your Global Seed List ranking, sometimes refered to as your 52-week ranking. Registration priority is given to ranked athletes in the order in which they are ranked. Once the ranked athletes who have applied either accept or decline, invitations to unranked riders are extended in the order in which they have registered. Earn points while competing, and your 3 best scores in a 365 day period will be used to calculate your seed ranking. In Region 2, 6 top tier athletes will receive an invitation to compete as an athlete on the Freeride World Tour for a shot at earning the Freeride World Tour Championship title.
For more information on rankings and registration, please see the Region 2 Adult Qualifier Handbook.
If You Are A Full-Time College Student…
If you are a full-time college student affiliated with a registered IFSA Collegiate team, you will compete in the same FWQ events as any other FWQ athlete. With an FWQ Collegiate License you can attend events, rack up points towards your world ranking, qualify for the Freeride World Tour, and also earns points toward your member school's ranking. The university with the greatest points at the end of the season is crowned the Champion of the Collegiate Freeride Tour.
Check our listing of Collegiate Freeride teams.
When you go to purchase your IFSA Adult Qualifier Membership license, be sure to select: FWQ Collegiate Tour and select your institution from the dropdown menu.
On Adult FWQ Rankings: What is the Global Seeding List?
The Global Seeding List (also called the 52-Week Seed List) is designed to ensure a high level of competition at FWQ 4* events while providing registration priority to athletes with prior competition experience. The seed list ranks every athlete according to their top 3 finishes within a 52-week period. The seed list provides registration priority to competitors who have accrued more points and experience. The more points a competitor has, the easier it is for them to attend 4* events. Freeride World Tour finishes earn the most points, followed by FWQ 4*, 3*, and 2* events. For more information, please see the Region 2 Adult Qualifier Handbook.
NOTE: If you are an unranked athlete, you should not rely on admittance to 4* events, you are much more likely to recieve admittance to a 2* event.
JUNIORS & ADULTS
How Is My Competition Run Judged?
Rankings are segmented by divisions (snowboarding and skiing) as well as gender (male and female. Further the Junior Series is divided into age categories (U12, 12-14 and 15-18). Upon entering Freeride competitions, you earn points based on your performance. The type of event will also dictate the amount of points earned. Junior National events award more points than Junior Regional events. For adults, FWQ 4* events earn more points than 3* or 2* events.
IFSA wants to remind all our riders and athletes that the sport of Freeride is subjective. We strive to promote a fun and creative environment where athletes are comfortable pushing themselves safely and responsibly. We want to see athletes both having fun, skiing with soul, and most importantly, riding in control and within their ability.
Our Expert Judges Score Your Performance On 5 Criteria
Line Choice: Higher scores are awarded to athletes choosing more difficult routes. Difficulty is determined by steepness, exposure, air, drops, snow, and course conditions.
Control: Competitors must remain in control at all times; loss in control will result in a lower score. Skillful recoveries will reduce penalties.
Fluidity: Constant direction towards a goal. This includes continuity, pace, and smooth transitions between sections of the course. Falling or stopping can have a negative impact.
Technique: Competitors are judged on style and turn quality relating to big mountain Freeriding.
Style & Energy: This encompasses the pace, energy and creativity with which a competitor attacks or descends his/her chosen line or route. Style focuses on execution of maneuvers.
Judges score rider between a 0-10 scale in each category. Each category score is added together to get the athlete’s total score for the run. To see more detailed information please visit our Athlete Handbook section.
The Main Focus of the IFSA is Safety and Fun in Freeride
We recommend the following gear list and toolkit for all of our athletes to minimize risk and potential injury.
- Helmet (mandatory)
- Back protection (mandatory)/ body armor
- Backpack with sturdy avalanche shovel and probe
- Avalanche transceiver
- Mouth guard