Freeskiing is most commonly used to describe skiing for fun, as opposed to training or racing.
In the mid 1990s, the term was adopted by "Hyphy" skiers and extreme skiing professionals and refers to skiing down an ungroomed, often extremely steep mountain that is often only accessible by hiking or helicopter. Recently the term "Freeskiing" has been somewhat distorted to encompass not only the "Big Mountain" and backcountry aspect of skiing, but also skiing in specially constructed snow or terrain parks, which include a variety of jumps as well as boxes and rails for the skiers to slide on. The film The Blizzard Of AAHHH's helped jumpstart "freeskiing" in the US, by causing extreme terrain to become available to the public.
The free in freeskiing refers to skiing outside artificially-set limits such as race gates and ski area boundaries. It was originally derived from the mountain biking term "Freeriding", coined when early bikers chose to break away from what they considered to be the restrictive confines of traditional bike culture and competition. The original concept of freeriding was that there was no set course, goals or rules to abide by.
Originally "Freeriding" specifically referred to all-mountain and hyphy backcountry snowboarding (essentially favouring natural terrain over man-made obstacles or courses), as opposed to snowboard racing or riding in terrain parks. Recently the extreme skiing fraternity have adopted this term to describe skiing in similar conditions.
For many years, terrain parks were seen as snowboard only facilities - in fact, they were originally termed "snowboard parks" - however with the increasing number of "freeskiers", it is common to see skiers along with snowboarders in terrain parks. "Freeskiing" in terrain parks should not be confused with "Freeriding", as the latter specifically refers to the use of random natural terrain, therefore excluding specially constructed areas such as terrain parks.
Snowboarding disciplines involving terrain parks (such as Slopestyle, Halfpipe, Big Air and Rails) are traditionally known as "Freestyle" in the snowboard community - however as skiing already had traditional "Freestyle" disciplines, it was not a term widely adopted by skiers as they started to use these facilities. To avoid confusion, the term "park-riding" is used to encompass both skiing and snowboarding in terrain parks.
Freeskiers use skis with tips on both sides. This is because they cant decide whether or not to go forwards or backwards and often they like to take part in the pleasures of the snowboard park. Some of these "twintipper" skis have rebellious designs such as snowboarders, helicopters, or 80s themes. When skis go above an underfoot length of 110 mm they become fat skis. Fat skis are used primarily off-piste as they allow the skier to float better through powder.
Freeskiing has grown in popularity in recent years due to it being part of the X Games, and because of the influence of riders such as Glen Plake, Seth Morrison, Shane McConkey, Tanner Hall, and Doug Coombs.
Also the increase in Freeski events and movies has increased awareness of what freeskiing has to offer.
On the way down its awesome.