Freestyle skiing is a winter sport which puts aerial ability, technical finesse and showmanship to the test. During the Winter Olympics, millions tune in to watch freestyle skiing, as it is considered to be one of most competitive individualistic winter sports. Developed in 1950, freestyle skiing has been an Olympic Sport since 1992, and continues to be an event which draws amazement from millions worldwide.
The History of Freestyle Skiing
In the early 20th century, Freestyling, or “hot-dogging” was very common among skiers. The ability to do aerial tricks, flips, and spins showed a freedom of expression for skiers who wanted to break away from the norms of traditional downhill skiing. The first form of competitive freestyle skiing was developed by Norwegian ski racer Stein Eriksen. Eriksen is credited with introducing “aerials” to the international community, a major component of skiing. In 1979, the International Ski Foundation (FIS) tailored the sport by including regulations which maintained safety, and also created rules of governance for all competitors. The following year, the FIS World Cup staged this event and it was an immediate success.
After the success of the FIS World Cup, freestyle skiing next took itself to the Olympic Stage. At the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, freestyle skiing was demonstrated as a sport for both men and women in three events – moguls, aerials and halfpipe. Once again, the response by judges and ski enthusiasts alike was rousing. In 1992, freestyle skiing attained medal status. At the Winter Olympics in Vancouver 2010, Ski Cross made its debut, also to the delight of fans everywhere.
The Rules of Freestyle Skiing
Although Freestyle Skiing is considered to be a sport of creativity and individualist expression, the International Olympic Committee has a set of stringent guidelines for the sport:
• Skis can be of any length.
• Ski poles are used to assist skiers in maneuvering (acceleration, turning and balance).
• Ski wear must meet guidelines This can assist the judge in identifying skier capability.
• Ski boots are required to be worn to maintain safety when landing.
• Helmets must be worn to protect skiers from potential head injuries.
Tricks of the Trade – The Forms of Freestyle Skiing
Freestyle skiing is judged on difficulty of the trick, finesse and showmanship. There are many forms of aerial skiing which involve the skier to display moments of brilliance and composure.
• Aerial Skiing – Skiers make jumps as high as 20 meters above the landing height, while doing several flips and twists before landing on a hill that has a 34 to 39-degree incline.
• Mogul Skiing – Skiers experience a trail with short bumps which require them to make short-radius turns. This tests a skier’s balance and strength towards staying on course.
• Ski cross – This timed event incorporates downhill skiing across different terrains (natural and artificial).
• Half pipe – Well known in snowboarding and skateboarding, the half pipe incorporates flips and tricks on skis.…