Free-riding is using the natural terrain of the mountain for recreation, without focusing on technical tricks or racing. Most snowboarders aspire to be freeriders and will explore the mountain through trees, in powder bowls or anywhere else they feel comfortable riding. Freeriding is also known as all-mountain snowboarding. A variant of freeriding focusing on extremely difficult lines is known as extreme snowboarding or big mountain snowboarding.
Freeride snowboarding, where the focus is on riding cleanly and enjoying the freedom to go and explore anywhere is influenced significantly by surfing. Many freeride purists attach an almost spiritual connotation to carving down the mountain. The Freeriding is mostly for periods of relaxation, due to the relative "calmness" one feels going down a slope at one's own speed.
Freeriders board on all types of terrain for fun: no contests, no halfpipe, no gates, no rules.