When you are ready to tackle big-mountain lines, steep and deep conditions, and technical terrain, you’ll need quality freeride snowboarding equipment to keep you company. Bindings are an essential part of that puzzle.
I have many years of experience as a snowboarder and snowboarding instructor. I’ve used various freeride bindings and know what to look for in the best options out there.
The Jones Apollo is the best freeride binding you can get your hands on at the moment. They are built for high-performance and will live up to the demands of the style.
In this post, I’ll provide you with a quick review of all of my top choices for bindings in the freeride category. The goal is to help you make an informed buying decision to increase your abilities on the mountain.
Time to strap in and get started.
- Who Should Get This
- Top Freeride Bindings
- How to Choose Freeride Snowboard Bindings
- Useful Tips & Resources
- My Verdict
Who Should Get This
Freeride snowboarding is the ultimate experience for many riders. Whether you love the backcountry or are on the search for big lines and fresh tracks within resort boundaries, freeriding allows you to push your limits while exploring natural, challenging terrain.
The bindings listed here will help you in these pursuits and are made to match the high-flying, high-end performance needed with freeride equipment.
Freeride bindings are not good for beginners. They are stiffer and less forgiving, two aspects that can be difficult to handle for snowboarders who don’t yet have the skills and expertise to utilize more advanced traits.
If you are new to the sport or simply interested in freeriding but have not yet tried it, you might be better off with an all-mountain model.
Top Freeride Bindings
Here are my top choices for freeride bindings. All of the options you see below come highly recommended.
1. Best Overall: Jones Apollo
- Best for: Overall
- Key features: Carbon flax highback, high-performance focus, EVA footbed, swappable bushings, forward lean adjustment
- Flex: Stiff
- Style: Strap-in
- Cost: $$$$
The Jones Apollo is an impressive freeride binding. These are built to excel in challenging conditions and meet the high-performance needs you want and expect when freeriding.
They come with a NOW Skate Tech baseplate that helps effectively transfer power to the board’s edges, similar to a skateboard deck. This results in precise control that is fun to ride.
Swappable bushings are another nice touch engineered into the design of the Apollo. You can customize your experience for a more surfy feel with softer bushings or crank things up when lines get technical.
A forward lean adjustment feature and effective and strong straps lead to reliable performance in various situations.
The Apollo is a great option to look into, but it’s also a very expensive one.
2. Best Freeride with All-Mountain Versatility: Union Atlas
- Best for: All-Mountain Versatility
- Key features: Duraflex construction, 3D aluminum heel cups, responsive performance, grade 8.8 hardware
- Flex: Stiff
- Style: Strap-in
- Cost: $$$
If you want the ability to explore other areas of the mountain after your freeriding for the day is done, the Union Atlas will give you the versatility and performance you need to do it all.
A Duraflex material built into the baseplate and highback is solid and responsive and translates into dynamic control and power when you need it most.
3D aluminum heelcups add comfort and keep your boots in place even when you are charging the most difficult lines.
The grade 8.8 hardware used throughout the construction increases strength and durability and gives your versatility and serious performance.
The Atlas may not be stiff enough for freeride purists, but that makes them more versatile in the long run.
3. Best for High Performance: Burton X EST
- Best for: High Performance
- Key features: Carbon fiber base plate, EST binding system, SpringBED suspension, asym hammockstrap
- Flex: Medium Stiff
- Style: Strap-In
- Cost: $$$$
If you want a high-performance freeriding companion, check out the Burton X EST. These will meet the needs of experienced riders of many varieties.
The carbon fiber construction of the EST makes them very responsive, resilient, and reliable. You can expect high-end season after season performance.
These are also some of the most comfortable high-performance bindings in the game, thanks to the EST binding system and SpringBed Suspension.
Hammockstrap straps keep your boot in place without being restrictive and increase your power across the board.
The EST is another option that comes with a very high price tag.
4. Best for Carving: Nitro Machine
- Best for: Carving
- Key features: Excellent power transfer and response, Vibram toe grip, carbon fiber base frame, cable reinforced ratchet straps
- Flex: Stiff
- Style: Strap-in
- Cost: $$$$
The Nitro Machine is a carver’s dream. These bindings will give you the freedom of control and movement you want to slice turns down steep faces with ease.
These are some of the most responsive bindings on the list, which means you can expect precise power transfer when you want to dig into a deep carving turn.
A Vibram toe grip is another cool feature that keeps your toe in place as you carve. It also molds perfectly to just about any boot shape.
The carbon fiber base frame keeps the Machine lightweight but super strong, and a cable-reinforced ratcheting system adds lasting durability and exact adjustment.
The Machine is a little bulky and also costs a pretty penny.
How to Choose Freeride Snowboard Bindings
Keep these crucial factors in mind when you are choosing a set of freeride bindings.
As I mentioned above, freeride snowboarding isn’t for beginners. You want to consider your ability level before buying a setup that caters to this riding style.
If you’re an intermediate or advanced rider, these bindings will help you perform at the highest levels and give you the most from your gear.
A stiffer binding can help you push yourself to a higher ability level, but only if you are already an intermediate to advanced rider. If you’re not, it can easily hold you back. When in doubt, start with something that will work with you rather than be too challenging.
Flex vs. Comfort
Freeride bindings are stiff by design. This gives them serious performance and excellent response, but it can also mean that they aren’t quite as comfortable as other softer models. If you’re an expert rider, comfort is not the main priority.
You want your equipment to perform its best over anything else.
If you aren’t used to a stiff binding, these can take some getting used to. However, once you see how much control and response freeride bindings provide, it’s easy to make the comfort sacrifice in pursuit of peak performance.
Freeride bindings tend to be more expensive than other binding styles. Due to the increased performance and need for strength, their construction demands exceptionally high quality. That means better materials with a higher price tag.
Sticker shock can be a real thing when shopping for freeride bindings. However, in my experience, freeride bindings are also the most durable and longest-lasting binding style you can get your hands on.
You might pay a little more upfront, but these bindings should last you for many seasons of serious riding. It’s an investment, no doubt, but worth it when you take durability and long-term value into account.
Here are some quick answers to a few common questions about freeride snowboard bindings.
What is a freeride binding?
A freeride binding is a high-performance binding capable of handling the technical terrain and challenging conditions you’ll encounter when you are freeride snowboarding. They are a stiffer binding that is intended for experienced riders.
What is the difference between freeride and all-mountain snowboarding?
All-mountain snowboarding includes a broader range of styles than freeride snowboarding. While all-mountain can include freeriding, the latter focuses on challenging, technical riding over typical resort and park styles.
Useful Tips & Resources
Freeride snowboarding is a broad term that doesn’t have an exact definition. That’s why it’s hard to narrow down precise tips and techniques to help you pursue the riding style. In general, you need to be a pretty good snowboarder to freeride.
The more time you spend on the mountain, the better you’re going to get. Here is a good video that shows some tips that will help you develop the skills to become a better freerider.
If your freeriding takes you into the backcountry, you need to make safety a top priority. One wrong move or mistake can lead to severe consequences, and it pays to be prepared in case the worst happens to you.
Familiarize yourself with backcountry avalanche safety and always carry the proper equipment to help locate you or your fellow riders if you get caught in a slide, such as probes, shovels, and beacons.
A good set of freeride bindings is crucial to have if you plan to pursue this riding style seriously. The Jones Apollo is the best freeride binding option on the market and will more than meet the needs of any freerider.
All of the freeride snowboard bindings listed here will help you perform at the highest levels during any of your on-snow adventures. You need to get yourself properly equipped to handle everything that comes your way on the mountain if you want to improve your abilities.About Lorraine