Participants of the Arc‘teryx Freeride Academy 2023. Carlos Blanchard/Arc’teryx

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Step up your backcountry game at the Arc’teryx Freeride Academy

By: Klaus Polzer January 19, 2024

The Arc’teryx Freeride Academy settles in St. Anton for the third time from February 1st to 4th, 2024. The concept is simple yet hard to beat: Bring some of the best freeride athletes and mountain guides to a place with a perfect playground, let them share their experience in on-mountain clinics and off-mountain lectures, gather a crowd of enthusiastic snowriders and have a blast. Does this sound like the right event for you? Then hurry up and book your clinics now before they’re full!

Ask any good freerider, mountain guide, alpinist or otherwise engaged mountain person what the most important factor in being safe and enjoying your time out in the wild is, and the answer will be unanimous: experience! Unfortunately, experience is something that’s hard to get, particularly if you want to do so without putting yourself at risk. The best advice you can get is to go out with people who have more experience than yourself and learn from them. This is where Arc’teryx, the legendary Canadian outdoor brand, steps in to help. With an extensive athlete and ambassador team that comes together for the Arc’teryx Freeride Academy at St. Anton am Arlberg, they provide an excellent opportunity for you to raise your level of on-mountain experience in a big way.

The central focus of the Arc’teryx Freeride Academy: learning how to enjoy places like the powder mecca of St. Anton am Arlberg safely. Jacob Slot/Arc’teryx

Now in its third edition in St. Anton, this powder hound academy is bigger than ever. It starts on Thursday, February 1st with a selection of courses, where you can refresh your on-snow skills or avalanche basics with local mountain guides. The event’s Freeride Village also opens on Thursday where you can get free test equipment from Arc’teryx and partners Atomic, Oakley, Jones, Yeti, GoPro, Gore-Tex and Recco for the weekend.

On Friday and Saturday, an extensive program of courses features Arc’teryx athletes and mountain guides offering the chance to learn from the best and get insight to unrivaled mountain knowledge. For example, Craig Murray or Colin Ballet-Baz could show you how to get the most out of any terrain, Max Kroneck might teach you how to feel comfortable in the steeps, Stian Hagen could help you to be more efficient on tours, and big mountain legend Eric “Hoji” Hjorleifson might help you learn why it’s even worth it to embark on a full-on ski tour in the first place. You can find the full program of courses on the official event website, where you can also book those courses online. You better be quick, though, because the courses are filling up fast!

One of last year's courses analyzes the terrain. Carlos Blanchard/Arc’teryx

Even if you’re too late to book your course of choice, it’s still well worth going to St. Anton on the weekend of the academy. You can still get informed about the latest products in the freeride village, take advantage of free workshops and mingle among the crowd during the evening program. There are avalanche safety talks with Paul Mair and Stian Hagen on offer, more casual talks about backcountry missions with Max Kroneck and Hoji, or movie screenings showcasing various projects from the attending pro athletes. Have a look at the full program here. Not to mention the afterparty on Saturday night with DJ Sweet6teen. In case you get up in time on Sunday, there are still general courses available, or maybe you can take advantage of slightly less crowded slopes. What’s for sure though: If you don’t head to St. Anton am Arlberg on the first weekend of February, you’ll miss out on one of the best freeride gatherings of this season. See you there!

Enjoying the freeride life! Carlos Blanchard/Arc’teryx