Freestyle Skiing

Learn about this Winter Olympic sport

January 10, 2014


Freestyle skiing became popular in the United States in the 1960s. It became an official Olympic sport at the 1992 Games in Albertville, France. Freestyle skiing combines elements of traditional skiing with those of newer sports such as snowboarding and skateboarding. In Sochi, there are five Olympic Freestyle skiing events for men and women: aerials, moguls, halfpipe, slopestyle and ski cross. Two of these events — halfpipe and slopestyle — are making their debut in Sochi.

The Rules of the Game

Each Freestyle event has its own set of rules. The aerials event is all about the jump. Skiers compete in a two-jump qualifying round, then a two-jump final round. Athletes are judged on the quality of their take off, their form, and their landing. During the moguls competition, athletes ski down a steep slope, and over a series of large bumps, completing two jumps on the way down. Skiers can choose from a variety of jumps. Each move is given a percentage score. In the ski cross event, four skiers head down a bumpy course of hills, turns and jumps in a timed qualification round. The first two athletes to cross the finish line advance to the next round. In slopestyle, skiiers perform on a slope with various obstacles. The competition has an elimination format which leads to semifinals and finals in each round. The top scored finisher wins.

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