From mega moguls to eye-popping aerials, Kidzworld checks out the wild world of freestyle skiing.
Freestyle Skiing - What Is It?
Freestyle skiing was born in the 1930s when skiers from Europe began adding flips, twists and other acrobatic moves into their skiing training. Freestyle skiing now includes moguls, ramp aerials and slopestyle routines involving obstacles like rails, table tops and half pipes.
Freestyle Skiing - The Events
- Moguls - This freestyle ski event is all about speed, quick turns and big air. The object of moguls is for skiers to ski down a steep slope covered in moguls (huge bumps) as quickly and effortlessly as possible. Skiers must perform two different aerial maneuvers on the way down the hill off specially built launch pads. Skiers are given points for both their time going down the course and their technique.
- Aerials - Aerials are the most exciting of the freestyle ski events to watch. Skiers will fly off jumps or kickers at speeds of 35 miles (60 km) per hour, fly up to 50 feet in the air and perform somersaults, backflips and twists, before landing on a steep landing hill.
- Slopestyle - Athletes ski through a course that includes a variety of obstacles including rails, kickers, gaps and table tops.
- Half Pipe - Skiers perform a series of tricks and jumps in an icey U-shaped pipe. Skiers are judged on the height and difficulty of their tricks and landing.
Freestyle Skiing - Getting Started
Freestyle skiing is a high-adrenaline sport that can be fun, healthy and blow-your-mind exciting. You should be a pretty good skier to start with and should only try freestyle tricks under the supervised instruction of a certified teacher. Most ski hills have some sort of freestyle ski program for youth, so check with your favorite ski or snowboard area for more information.
Freestyle Skiing - Fun Facts
- While many people think that freestyle aerial skiers are totally insane - they're usually not. Skiers must follow very specific training routines so they can try their tricks relatively safely. Skiers try their tricks by flying down an artificial ski hill and landing in water. Athletes must pass strict skills tests before they are allowed to try their tricks on snow.
- Moguls and ramp aerials are both freestyle ski events at the Winter Olympics while slopestyle and half pipe events are part of the Winter X Games.
- Freestyle skiing has also been called "hot dog skiing" - because the skiers who pioneered the sport were known as "hot dogs" on the slopes.