Freestyle Skiing

Think fast and become a moguls instant expert

Moguls skiing at the Olympics is a bit of a misnomer, since there are also two jumps, a running clock and a panel of judges to deal with. Here's everything you need to know to quickly become a moguls expert.

Everything you need to know to be a freestyle pro

Justine Dufour-Lapointe is currently at the head of Canada's first family of moguls. (Rick Bowmer/Associated Press)

​By Benjamin Blum, CBC Sports

Moguls skiing at the Olympics is a bit of a misnomer. Sure, navigating through the rounded bumps on the course is a major part of it, but throw in two jumps, a running clock and a panel of judges and you have a sport that requires multitasking, creativity and split-second reaction time.

Here's everything you need to know to instantly become an moguls expert:

History and format

  • Discipline within freestyle skiing
  • Olympic debut in 1992 in Albertville (demonstration sport in 1988)
  • Men's and women's individual events

How the event works

  • Two rounds of qualifying (top 10 in each advance to finals)
  • Three rounds in finals (top 12 advance to second round, then top six advance to final round)
  • Seven judges evaluate turns and aerial manoeuvres; speed also factored into score
  • Highest score in final run wins

Plenty of Canadian content

Canadian skiers — particularly those from Quebec — have been mainstays on freestyle podiums for as long as they've been handing out medals. Jean-Luc Brassard earned Canada's first moguls gold in 1994 and 2006 champion Jennifer Heil, while originally from Alberta, moved to Quebec to further pursue her moguls career.

Oh, and don't forget back-to-back Olympic moguls gold medallist Alexandre Bilodeau.

That trend carries on today in the form of the Dufour-Lapointe sisters and men's star Mikael Kingsbury. Justine (the youngest of the three sisters) and Chloe (the middle child) won gold and silver in Sochi, respectively, while eldest Maxime has been with the national team for a decade and rounded out a sibling sweep at a World Cup event in 2016. Maxime, though, did not make the Canadian team for Pyeongchang.

As for Kingsbury, he literally and figuratively has won everything in the moguls world besides an Olympic gold, something he hopes to achieve in South Korea.

Whole lotta shakin' goin' on

Skiers need to navigate through the moguls hill with speed and flawless technique, all while gauging the course in anticipation of the two jumps they need to execute. So, yes, Jerry Lee Lewis would probably enjoy this Olympic sport.

Since the moguls themselves change depending on the weather and previous runs, adapting to these variables is critical to a successful run.

"I've been very good in my career changing my strategy last minute," Kingsbury told CBC Sports in September. "I'm able to watch the events on TV or at the top of the course or hear the score, hear the times, kind of plan my strategy from that when I'm in the start gate."

Then there's the scoring: how well the athletes ski through the moguls counts for 50 per cent of the final score, the form and difficulty of the jumps count for 25 per cent and the speed in which the run is completed counts for the remaining 25 per cent.

Secrets to sounding smart

Still need more moguls morsels? Here are a few things to tell your friends to make you sound like a ski savant

  • When you've got it, flaunt it. In addition to winning Canada's first freestyle gold, Brassard wore bright yellow knee pads to show off his impressive form on the moguls. You can even see contrasting cutouts on Canada's current uniforms.
  • Real or fake? The moguls you see on competitive courses and at your local hill are artificially built, but they also occur naturally when the blowing winds push the snow together into drifts.
  • Uncorking something special. Just like that nice vintage you've been saving for a big moment, Kingsbury has yet to break out the famed cork 1440 trick in competition. Will fans finally see it at the 2018 Olympics?