Freestyle skiing really began to take off in America during the 1960s, when social change, freedom of expression, and the advances in ski equipment led to the development of new and exciting skiing techniques. Freestyle skiing was affectionately known as ‘hotdogging’. The name seemed to perfectly capture the breathtaking mix of acrobatic tricks, jumps, and the sport's sheer adrenalin rush.
Freestyle was recognized as a discipline by the International Ski Federation (FIS) in 1979. The governing body brought in new regulations to curb some of the more dangerous elements of the infant sport. The first FIS World Cup series was staged the following year.
DIFFERENT OLYMPIC DISCIPLINES
Freestyle entered the Olympic programme, as a demonstration sport, in Calgary, in 1988. Today, six disciplines are part of it. In Moguls, athletes ski down a steep course full of bumps, combining very technical turns, aerial maneuvers, and speed. In Aerials, skiers make jumps several metres long, during which they perform aerial acrobatics before landing on a section of the slope inclined at 34 to 39 degrees, about 30 metres long. The Ski Cross includes a qualification phase in which the athletes have to ski down a natural slope, modified with artificial elements, such as jumps, bumps, and parabolic curves, in the shortest possible time, and an elimination phase in which four athletes compete at the same time for each heat. In Slopestyle, athletes descend a course that includes various obstacles while being judged on their range, originality, and the quality of their stunts. In the Half-Pipe, competitors perform a series of evolutions as they descend a slope in the shape of a semi-cylinder. In the Big Air, athletes descend a slope with a ramp, which is used to make a single jump of several meters during which they perform several aerial evolutions.