SkiFree was created by Chris Pirih, a Microsoft employee that developed the game using C for his own personal entertainment. He was discovered playing his own game during work hours, which eventually led to the game being included in the Microsoft Entertainment Pack in 1991.
All players have to do in SkiFree is to ski down the slope in one of the four available lanes, using either the mouse or keyboard. When using the mouse players simply move the mouse and the skier will turn towards it. Players can also right-click to jump. When using the keyboard the arrow keys are used to turn the skier. There are several different objects for to interact with, these include ski jumps, dogs, skiers, trees, and ski lift poles.
At the start of the game there are three lanes to choose from, each one giving different tasks to complete during the run.
- The free-style course - Collect style points by doing flips and other tricks.
- The slalom course - a slalom course where the goal is to ski on the correct side of red and blue flags.
- The tree slalom course - The same as the normal slalom course except that trees are scattered along the course, making it more difficult.
Alternatively, players can skip all of these courses and just ski free. After completing the chosen course players are left to "ski free" until being inevitably chased by a yeti at 2000 meters; it is almost impossible to escape being eating by one of the yetis.