What's it all about?
Can you imagine doing a flip on a trampoline with skis on? Take a touch of skateboarding, a sprinkle of ski jumping, a dash of gymnastics and you’ve got freestyle skiing. With spectacular stunts and high flying moves, this is an event you don’t want to miss.
How it's played
The sport: Men and women compete in some of the flashiest Winter Olympic events on skis. Speed, jumps and tricks are the name of the game.
The events: A whopping 13 events make up freestyle skiing. Those include aerials, moguls, ski cross, halfpipe, slopestyle, big air and mixed team aerials. (See pictures below.)
The equipment: Skis designed specially for stunts and big air. And don't forget the helmets!
The strategy: Pull off the best trick without wiping out. Freestyle skiing is fast and high flying, but safety is still important.
The points: Most events are scored out of 100 by the judges. Impressing them with hard tricks, perfect landings and big jumps is the way to win.
The athletes: Freestyle skiers need timing, focus, balance and muscle control. It's kind of like gymnastics, but on skis.
Did you know? Thanks to its exciting combination of acrobatic tricks, jumps and speed, freestyle skiing used to be affectionately known as hotdogging.
Things to watch for
- In moguls, athletes have to perform two aerial tricks as they race down the course using quick turns.
- A mogul is a bump in the snow that skiers must steer through.
- Aerial moves have names like the Mule Kick, the Helicopter and the Backscratcher.
Do a McTwist!
- The halfpipe is all about tricks with cool names like the Double Cork, the McTwist and the Flair.
- The term halfpipe refers to the course, which is shaped like a cylinder that’s been cut in half.
- Judges score each skier out of 100, based on the variety and difficulty of their tricks.
- New to freestyle skiing this year is the big air event.
- Skiers launch down a long ramp and then perform one big aerial trick.
- It's a bit like the ski jump, but with a fancy stunt which is scored out of 100.
You'll see special skis with both ends slightly bent up. These are called twin-tips. They're designed that way so that athletes can ski both forwards and backwards when competing in halfpipe and slopestyle.
Canada is really good at freestyle skiing. Since it was added to the Olympics in 1992, Canada has won 25 medals.
Ski cross is the only event without judges. Instead, skiers race each other on a course with jumps and turns.