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What is Freestyle Skiing

The sport of Freestyle Skiing is made up of the following disciplines:

  • Slopestyle

    Slopestyle

    Slopestyle athletes make their way down, through and over a course comprised of a variety of obstacles including rails, jumps and other terrain park features — scoring points for amplitude, originality and quality of tricks. The discipline has its roots in action sports like skateboarding and BMX biking and has very successfully crossed over into the snow sports worlds of skiing and snowboard.

    Slopestyle is one of the most accessible snow sports, as virtually every ski resort has a terrain park where aspiring athletes can learn to jump, slide and jib.
    Already an X Games and Dew Tour favorite, the Olympic Games will become the jewel in the crown of this burgeoning sport that has seen its tricks evolve year after year.
    Slopestyle tricks fall mainly into four categories: spins, grinds, grabs and flips.

    In competition athletes are judged on:
    Amplitude: How much air athletes get off the jumps
    DD: The degree of difficulty of the tricks they perform
    Execution: How well the athletes perform their tricks
    Overall: The whole package, including the athlete’s personal style. It includes the grabs and positions athletes add to the tricks to make them their own.

    Terminology
    Slopestyle has a language all its own with new names for tricks and features evolving every season. Here are a few terms to get you started:
    Switch: Taking off or landing a a jump backwards.
    Leftside/Rightside: The direction in which athletes spin
    Switchup: After locking on to a rail, hoping off a rail, rotating and landing back on the rail
    Locking on: An athlete has placed themselves on a rail with strong balance and control
    Rodeo: Backwards initiated off-axis flip
    Grab: Any part of the ski or binding that is grabbed by the hand — there are Tail, Mute, Japan and Toxic grabs in addition to a whole mess of others, all which add flavor to the tricks
    Corked: Describes any kind of spin or flip that is performed between the vertical and horizontal axes (either upright or inverted).
    540, 720, 900, 1080: 1.5, 2, 2.5 and 3 spins, respectively.

  • Big Air

    Big Air
    One big jump, two tricks - consisting of various spins and grabs. It is usually judged on categories such as difficulty, creativity and style.
  • Single Moguls

    Single Moguls

    Speed, turns and air … competitive mogul skiing has it all. All skiers have had to negotiate bumps, or moguls, at some point and know how challenging they can be. The incredible skill, athleticism and courage of the world’s top mogul skiers makes it look easy, as they race straight down the fall line at lightning speeds. The top skiers are covering as many as four moguls per second!

    The Course
    Mogul courses are between 200 and 270 metres with an average grade of 26 degrees. The moguls themselves are set approximately 3.5 metres apart. The course includes two small jumps which are used as a take-off for aerial maneuvers. Athletes can perform upright or inverted tricks off these jumps in the course of a competition run.

    Judging
    Competitors rip down the mogul course and launch themselves off two jumps under scrutiny of a panel of seven judges. Marks are awarded for the technical quality of the skier’s turns (50%), the two aerial maneuvers (25%) and speed (25%). While speed is a factor, the fastest skier across the finish line does not necessarily win.

    Competition Format
    Usually competitions include a qualifying round with a single descent, where the top 12 or 16 athletes move on to a finals round. Only scores from the final run count for final results.

  • Dual Moguls

    Dual Moguls

    Head to head action … In dual moguls competitions, skiers race head-to head in knock out rounds. The added adrenaline of racing side-by-side means skiers often push themselves beyond their limits, resulting in either spectacular crashes or some of the most awesome bump skiing you will ever see. Results from the Dual Moguls competitions on the FIS World Cup tour are combined with single moguls results to determine the overall World Cup Mogul Champion and Crystal Globe winner at the end of each season.

    Judging
    A panel of seven judges award marks: four judges score the turns, two judges score the air (jumps), and one judge scores the speed. Each judge has five “votes” which can be allocated between the two skiers according to the course colour they have skied in (i.e. 5 Blue/0 Red; 4 Blue/1 Red; etc). Those votes are added up to total of 35 with a majority of18 being required to move on to the next round or win the event.
    Competition Format
    Competitions are either:

    • Single run qualification round (as per single Moguls) to seed the Duals, which would usually be sixteen pairs of Duals or;
    • Elimination rounds of the entire field of competitors based on seeding from either the results of a prior Dual competition or a prior Single Moguls competition.

    Terminology
    Iron cross: Ski tips cross as skier remains upright. Tips drop, but heels are kicked to either side.
    Spread Eagle: Starting position for making snow angels: arms extended and legs split, usually 90 degrees or more to the side.
    360: Upright aerial spin of 360 degrees often called a helicopter or chopper.
    720: Double helicopter.
    Off-axis: A true flip is one that turns around the horizontal (zero degree) axis. A true spin is one that turns around the vertical (90 degree) one. An off-axis spin or flip is one that deviates from these norms.
    D Spin: A back flip with an off-axis twist, named after the ‘godfather’ of newschool, Canada’s Mike Douglas.
    Back full: A back flip with a full twist, both true to the ‘normal’ axis
    Lincoln Loop: A sideways flip
    Corked: Describes any kind of spin or flip that is performed between the vertical and horizontal axes (either upright or inverted).
    Grab: Any part of the ski or binding that is grabbed by the hand — there are Tail, Mute, Japan and Toxic grabs in addition to a whole mess of others, all which add flavor to the tricks.
    Flat Spin: Another off-axis trick, where the skier looks like they are spinning like a horizontal wheel.

  • Aerials

    Aerials

    Aerials is one of the most technically challenging and spectator-captivating sports in the world. At the World Cup level, competitors hit the jumps, or ‘kickers’, at speeds of 60 km/h or faster, launch themselves some 20 metres in the air and perform up to three back somersaults with as many as five twists, touching down on a landing hill so steep that most people would be nervous just skiing down it. Aerialist’s tricks are the most difficult maneuvers performed in any acrobatic sport.

    Judging
    Competitors must perform two different jumps consisting of single or multiple somersaults with or without twists. Each jump must vary by one somersault or one twist. Points are warded for takeoff (20%), form in the air (50%) and landing (30%). Scores of both jumps are combined for a final total mark.

    Competition Format
    Competitions usually include a qualification round and a final round with one or two jumps in each. The exact format for each event is determined by the FIS and the event organizing committee.

  • Halfpipe

    Halfpipes originated from surfing and then skateboarding when surfers in California decided that trying to skate in some huge storm drains and empty swimming pools might be a fun thing to do when the waves weren’t pumping. This eventually evolved into skate-specific halfpipe so the athletes could “drop in” (start off on the lip of the pipe).

    Skateboarding moved over to the white waves when the snowboard was introduced and the boarders decided they wanted to bring what they had perfected on concrete over to the snow. To make a long story short, skiers saw the boarders flying out of the pipe and felt the desire to go higher. Voila! A new discipline was born.
    As the sport has evolved, so have the tricks. Whereas a few years ago 1 1/2 spins and a bunch of grabs were the tricks of the day, now it is not uncommon to see two or three tricks involving two-and-a-half spins as well as double flips or variations of singles in one run. To match the evolution of the tricks, the pipe has been getting bigger and the standard competition pipe is now 22 meters wide..

    In competition athletes are judged on:
    Amplitude: How much air athletes get out of the pipe
    DD: The degree of difficulty of the tricks they perform
    Execution: How well the athletes perform their tricks
    Overall: The whole package, including the athlete’s personality and style. Itincludes the grabs and positions that athletes add to the tricks to make them their own.

    Pipe Specs (Average)
    Length: 150 meters
    Slope: 16 degrees
    Vertical incline: 83 degrees
    Width: 22 meters

    Terminology
    Flair: Back flip with a half-twist.
    Corked: Describes any kind of spin or flip that is performed between the vertical and horizontal axes (either upright or inverted).
    McTwist: Tilted front flip with one-and-a half spins.
    540, 720, 900, 1080: 1.5, 2, 2.5 and 3 spins, respectively.
    Grab: Any part of the ski or binding that is grabbed by the hand — there are Tail, Mute, Japan and Toxic grabs in addition to a whole mess of others, all which add flavor to the tricks. Most halfpipe tricks include grabs.
    Ally-Oop: A trick that spins away from the fall line of the pipe.
    Coping: The edge of the pipe.
    Deck: The flat areas on the sides of the pipe.
    Walls: The sides of the pipe.
    Flat: The bottom of the pipe.
    Transition: The area between the Wall and the Flat.

 

Freestyle Manitoba

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info@mbfreestyle.com

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