The Top 10 Male Freeskiers of All-Time:

SnowBrains |
Shane McConkey, freeskiers
Shane McConkey

The top male freeskiers of all-time. A tough list to make – both as a skier and an editor. Which factors come into being one of the best freeskiers of all time? Simple.  Innovation, skill, drive, balls, style, impact, and the ability to take a damn hard crash. The people on the list below brought something to skiing that wasn’t there before. We thank them for everything they contributed to the past, present, and future of skiing.  



Shane McConkey

Shane was a pioneer in park skiing, big mountain skiing, mogul skiing, fat skis, rockered skis, ski humor, and snowllerblading. Shane made us laugh at him and laugh at ourselves. Shane popularized fat skies and skiing naked, created rockered skis, gave us the game of GNAR, brought us Saucer Boy, and skied like a god. Shane was the first guy to do so many things in skiing… there’s simply no way he’ll ever be forgotten. Thanks, Shane.

Candide Thovex

Candide Thovex, freeskiers
Candide Thovex

Candide is the guy who put it all together. He watched what the McConkeys and JP Auclairs were doing, copied it, perfected it, and took it to the next level. He saw what the snowboarders were doing, tweaked it, then surpassed them. Candide has won big air comps, superpipe comps, slopestyle comps, and the Freeride World Tour despite not liking competition. Candide can just plain ski. His skiing defines smooth. There’s likely not a single skier on snow that wouldn’t want to be able to ski and shine the way Candide Thovex does.

Seth Morrison

freeskiers , Seth Morrison
Seth Morrison

“Ski Angry,” says Seth. Seth has demons deep within him, and he uses them to fuel his skiing. 160-foot double front flips. 80-foot backflips to stomp.100-foot lincoln loops.  He charges Alaska in a way that no one has before and no one has since. You can see the anger in his skiing. He unleashes it, harnesses it, and uses it to propel himself to speeds and heights unseen in the ski world. Seth has no fear and seemingly no limits.

Glen Plake

Glen Plake, freeskiers
Glen Plake

Glen Plake…Ultimate Extreme Skiier…Original BAD BOY” – Blizzard of Aahhh’s. Flare. Glen Plake brought flare to skiing – not to mention skill, balls, a huge mohawk, and style. Glen Plake broke onto the scene with the movie “Blizzard of Aahhh’s” and proceeded to take the industry by storm. There has never been a skier who can market himself the way Glen can. Glen claims that every dollar he’s ever made was made from skiing.

Scot Schmidt

Scot Schmidt, freeskiers
Scot Schmidt

Extreme skiing in the USA started with Scot. Scot Schmidt has dropped lines at Squaw Valley that rarely get skied today, and that’s not just because it doesn’t snow in Tahoe anymore. He was one of the first to see lines on mountainsides that others couldn’t. He took his skills worldwide and blew us away with his ability to charge big mountains with speed, agility, and big air.

Doug Coombs

Doug Coombs, freeskiers
Doug Coombs

Doug Coombs changed big mountain skiing with his confidence in ridiculously steep terrain. He was the leader of the Jackson Hole airforce before Jackson opened their boundaries. He’s credited with founding heli-skiing in Alaska and being one the first to charge Alaska’s big lines. He won the first-ever World Extreme Skiing Championships in Alaska in 1991 & won it again in 1993. He was the first to ski the Otter Body on the Grand Teton, WY. Doug was the stunt ski double for TJ Burke in “Aspen Extreme.” Doug very likely was the most comfortable skier to ever slide on skis in some of Earth’s steepest places.

JP Auclair

JP Auclair, freeskiers
JP Auclair

JP was a legend and an innovator. JP was a part of the New Candian Airforce and helped design and launch the first twin-tipped skis in 1998. He co-founded Armada skis, the world’s first freeskiing only ski brand. JP could do it all. The guy was one of the best park skiers globally and one of the best freeskiers in the world. His urban segment from the movie “All. I. Can.” is legendary, infectious, and unforgettable. JP expanded his skill set to include extreme skiing towards the end of his career and was gifted in that arena as well.

Sylvain Saudan

Sylvain Saudan, freeskiers
Sylvain Saudan

Sylvain Saudan skied the world’s steepest terrain on 210cm skis, and Salomon bindings with the DINs maxed out. He invented the “Windshield Wiper” ski turning technique, later used by many to ski intensely steep terrain. Sylvain is considered the father of extreme skiing. He was called the “skier of the impossible.” Sylvain brought extreme skiing to the world when he skied the Spencer Couloir in France in 1967. He went on the ski couloirs are steep as 65º, including the Aiguille de Bionnassay, Couloir Gervasutti, Whymper Couloir, Couloir Marinelli, The Eiger, 20,320-foot Mt. McKinley Alaska in 1972, 23,080-foot Nun Kun in India, and more.  Sylvain even skied the 26,470-foot Gasherbrum 1 in Pakistan at the age of 46. “It was the longest 50-degree ski descent ever accomplished—and very well might still be.” – Wikipedia. On his 50th birthday, he skied Japan’s Mt. Fuji…  with no snow. Sylvain is beyond a legend. He was quite simply the first.

Tanner Hall

Tanner Hall, freeskiers
Tanner Hall

Tanner Hall has done nearly everything in skiing, and he’s not done yet. His influence and impact on the ski industry is undeniable. Tanner won 7 gold medals in the X-games 7 years in a row and 4 silver medals in slopestyle, superpipe, and big air.  After 2 ferocious injuries, Tanner began focusing his energy on big mountain skiing.  He bought a cat skiing operation in Canada, Retallack, and explored all it has to offer. Tanner is just opening his next chapter, and it promises to be a great one, and we’re looking forward to his wildcard entry to this year’s FWT.

Mike Douglas

MIke Douglas, freeskiers
Mike Douglas

Mike Douglas is the Godfather of Freeskiing. One of the smoothest, most frequently thrown tricks in the industry is named after him: the “D-spin.” Mike’s experience on the World Cup mogul tour propelled him onto the New Candian Airforce, where he helped create the first-ever twin-tip skis, the Salomon 1080. Mike is never without style and grace. His legacy and impact on the industry will never be forgotten.

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70 thoughts on “The Top 10 Male Freeskiers of All-Time:

  1. Tom Day for his contributions on both sides of the camera. Also Robb, the G in GNAR, deserves a mention. I’m partial to my home mountain, Squaw.

  2. Great choices! I’d love to see an updated list with some of the new blood. Marcus Eder, Sam Kuch, Angel Collision to name a few.

  3. Great list Here i would like to add some important guide for newbies.

    Don’t go alone. ..

    Wear protective equipment (and make sure it fits properly). ..

    Wear warm clothing. ..

    Follow the rules and use proper technique. ..

    Be aware of your surroundings. ..

    Know your limits. ..

    Do warm up exercises. ..

    Drink water.

  4. CR Johnson had unprecedented skills – left us too early to see them to full potential; honorable mention

  5. CR had unprecedented skills – left us too early to see them to full potential; honorable mention

  6. I love this list. I have memories of every one of these guys (except Sylvain, I’ll need to look him up!) inspiring me growing up, even as a snowboarder! I used to see Seth at Crested Butte, super humble and nice dude and holy cow he skied alone because not even anyone at CB could anyone keep up with him. Thanks for sharing the article again! RIP to our guys not with us anymore

  7. These lists are always ridiculous, no Trever and Eric? Jon Olsson? Rahlves? Nobis? Vallençant? Davenport? Tardivel? Killy? Hucking air and straightlining is a weak criteria when this list was made up. Tanner Hall? Hah!

  8. HHmmmm… maybe. Seems the time line is only within the writers life or exposure. Some true legends have been left off. these were true mountain men and pioneers: Steve McKinney, The Beck Brothers (Day Dreams) and Billy Dutton.

  9. I’m a little particular to Squaw skiers after 40 years of ripping this mountain..For a solid decade no one could touch the abilities of Kevin Andrews.After shredding side by side with him in his prime very few could touch the pure speed and power of his skiing..And when the bottom dropped away was when he was at his best..Mind you this was in the late 80s and into early 90s on skinny boards..The young talent now though makes us all look like a joke..

  10. Good list, but missing CHRIS DAVENPORT for being much more than a skier… a true ski mountaineer and Climate Change activist.
    And also JEREMIE HEITZ, a local from Chamonix who skis 55 degree slopes like the Hahnenkamm downhill race at Kitzbuhel. Also missing CODY TOWNSEND and SAGE CATTABRIGA-ALOSA.

  11. Yea agree, since he was 10 I have witnessed Tanner Hall’s big mtn talent. He just did the park thing because if your from Montana you do what is not available to you, and pioneer it. Hello Schmit, Coombs, Voisin, Costain. By the way Douglas and crew didn’t invent freeride and switch, it was the Montana boys who showed up in whistler for summer training and showed them the new stuff, Micky Price, Donovan Power, Tony Gilpin. True

  12. This list is spot on, nice work. Tanner Hall 100% deserves to be in the mix along with every other name up there.

  13. Must be slow around the Snowbrains office? I hate the reposted content. Can’t you just make a flashback section and keep the reposted material that you use over and over again?

    Keep Snowbrains repost FREE!

    1. Hey Aaron,

      Thanks for the feedback. We do have a few articles that we publish twice a year since interest remains high. We hadn’t published this one since May 2016.

      This feedback helps.


  14. Suggest taking Tanner Hall off the list to Trevor Petersen for his skill, style and guts for many extreme first descents with his skiing partner and friend Eric Pehota. RIP Trevor and Cheers Eric!

    Cummings, Vallecant and Gaffney definitely rank higher than Tanner Hall also.

    1. I agree… My brother Trev certainly belongs. Same for Eric. But as soon as you create a top 10 list you open the doors for a whole bunch of guys that deserve to be on….. and that aren’t. While the original “Extreme skiers” certainly deserve to be on it, their game is a different one. But without all the French guys there would be no “Freeriders”.

  15. I agree with the anti Tanner sentiments. Names Missing;
    Sean Petit, I mean if you want a tanner-like skier who absolutely kills it.
    Hoji (I mean c’mon, right)?
    Oh, and this guy named Daron Ralves

    Their top three were well chosen: Seth, Candide, and Shane are all on the Mt. Rushmore of free skiing

  16. Purely based on skiing ability, not considering charm and fame, clearly taking out Tanner and Glenn, who was missed and goes in? If you don’t have the massive high speed steep face air, then you’re not on the list, right?

  17. Jebus, Robb Gaffney prob had more technical skills than half on this list. If he didnt ride squaw during Shane’s reign and gone on to earn a medical degree he would have been tops on this list.
    Schmidt was a true pioneer before fats so should be 2nd on that list.
    Miles, U ever do the sweep on 68mm underfoot in low tide conditions? Didnt think so.
    Tom Day should get at least a mention. Just cause Plake had the hair made him more marketable, tho legit badass skier.

    1. Hey Laughable, I hear ya. Nope, I haven’t done the sweep on 68mm unnderfoot. 86mm was a close as I got. Robb G is a true badass and a friend and I agree, we should sneak him into this list…

    2. when you see Tom Day at a distance on the mountain and have no idea who it is, it’s the Iconographic vision of perfect skiing, line, form, speed.

    1. Being a sweet dude such as Tanner. Ya know, someone who deserves to be on a list of legends because he is earning it.

  18. Dean Cummings really should have been on this list. But it is a pretty good list and yes, Tanner definitely deserves to be on this list as he keeps progressing and cementing himself into the history of big mountain skiing. Who gives a damn if he rips the park and got his name out that way.

  19. What would our heros do here? First let’s write it correctly.

    What would our heroes do here?
    Hmmm, the photograph is a run named super spines in Alaska and being that Snowboarder Noah Salasnek bagged that one first in 1996. Not sure who’s heroes we are talking about?

  20. Doesn’t make much sense?

    The title says The Top 10 Freeskiers of All-Time:
    #9 has won a bunch of park and pipe medal. Good for him, yet he now owns a cat skiing operation and is set open the next chapter.

    How did he make the list?
    It says OF ALL TIME, FREESKIING! Confusing article is confused.

    1. Agreed. What about the originals like Tom Day, Deslauriers brother’s etc. See Warren Miller’s first films to get an idea on these guys who started it all…..

  21. Dean Cummings seems to be forgotten on a lot of these lists and he could be the mot buts ripper of all!

  22. I think you two missed the point about being one of ‘the best skiers of all time’. Tanner deserves to be on everyone’s top10 list and if he isn’t, you’re wrong. His attitude has nothing to do with the criteria. Plus he’s more stoked to ski daily than you are and it shows.

    1. Show me why Mr. Hall deserves to be on the list of ALL TIME freeskiers? Show me? Dude was a park skier and has come around to skiing the mountain. So a couple seasons out of the park and he is now a top ten contender? Hardly! Maybe someday, but I can think of several skiers who have bagged lines for decades that are not on this list,

      Get your lips off Tanner’s nutz, DUDE.

      1. Because my self along with thousands of other skiers were heavily influenced by Tanner Hall in the early 2000s and his don’t give a fuck attitude.

      2. Why wouldn’t he be? Inspired multiple generations. Arguably the best pillow skier of all time. Not arguably top 3 pillow skiers ever.

  23. #9
    So you get to be in the same group as shane mcConkey , for being unlikable by pretty much everybody in the ski industry ? How much of a dick do you have to be to be dropped by red bull !!!

    1. He revolutionized freeskiing. He was just on a whole different level back then over everyone else. I don’t have a problem with his inclusion.

    1. Awesome list I feel they nailed it with Candide, but I wished they could have added Chris Benchtler and maybe Sage

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