Moguls, halfpipe, ski cross, aerials, ski slopestyle… Have you ever heard these words? They all refer to freestyle skiing disciplines. If you want to know more about skiing and the Olympic Winter Games while learning English, read this article.
Freestyle skiing is a winter sport that combines skiing and acrobatics. The origins of this sport trace back to the 30s, when stunt skiing appeared. Since then skiers have continued to experiment with different ways of jumping and moving on skis. All this creativity enabled the emergence of a new sport known as ‘hotdogging’ or ‘freestyle’.
Freestyle skiing started to grow in the mid-60s but it wasn’t until 1988 when it first appeared at the Winter Olympics, as a demonstration sport. Finally in 1992, Freestyle skiing became an official sport and it was added to the Olympic program.
The freestyle skiing competition at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 is divided into five disciplines: Halfpipe, ski cross, moguls, aerials and ski slopestyle.
Halfpipe: A halfpipe is a U-shaped high-sided ramp. Skiers execute spins, flips and grabs while going down the pipe. Each competitor has two runs in the qualifying round, but only the best score of the two runs counts. This discipline became an Olympic event for the first time at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.
Aerials: Aerial skiing consists in performing various on-air tricks. Competitors ski down a steep slope towards a take-off ramp which propels the competitor up in the air. Once in the air they have to perform on-air tricks like flips and twists. Skiers receive a score based on jump take off, jump form, and landing.
Ski Cross: Unlike the other freestyle skiing disciplines, the Ski Cross is purely objective. It’s a downhill race in which multiple skiers race on a designed course that features natural terrains as well as artificially built jumps, banks and rolls. The scoring for this discipline is easy to understand. Whoever finishes first comes in first.
Moguls: Moguls are a series of bumps, created for this discipline, formed on purpose by piling mounds of snow. Competitors speed down a course while navigating through moguls, and make two jumps during the descent. Skiers receive a score based on techniques used for turns, aerial manoeuvres and speed.
Ski Slopestyle: In Slopestyle competitors have 150 meters to impress the judges. They ride on a course with different types of obstacles, such as rails, jumps and other terrain features. Skiers score points for amplitude, originality and quality of tricks. The tricks that competitors perform in this discipline fall mainly in four categories: spins, grinds, grabs and flips. The primary focus is more on the technical aspect rather than on speed.