Freeski 101

In the early days of freestyle skiing the sport was named for the “free” and creative element introduced by athletes who resisted traditional alpine and nordic skiing.

Freestyle skiing was added to the Olympic program in 1992 for moguls, aerials in 1994, and skicross in 2010. In 2011, halfpipe and slopestyle skiing became the latest additions as freestyle Olympic disciplines, which will make their debut in Sochi, Russia at the 2014 Winter Olympics. Finally, the world will see what freeskiing is all about.

Freeskiing is the ‘newschool’ style and discipline of skiing that took to the world stage in the late 1990s. In 1998, Salomon introduced the first mass-marketed twin-tip ski which revolutionized the sport. A typical alpine ski is only curved at the tip, while twin tips are curved at both the tip and the tail – designed to facilitate skiing forwards and backwards. Freeskiing was born and quickly catapulted into the limelight.

The popular adoption of freeskiing has given rise to a range of its own competition disciplines – halfpipe and slopestyle skiing. Freeskiing disciplines are unique in that they showcase distinct terrain and emphasise the expression of style, creativity and freedom. Internationally, approximately 30 countries have developed active competitive freestyle programs.

With the burgeoning interest in the newschool disciplines of halfpipe and slopestyle, freeskiing continues to evolve. Freeskiing is now one of the fastest growing actions sports in the world today: the recent growth in alpine skiing statistics has been attributed to the popularity of freeskiing (SnowSports Industries America, 2008); Twin-tip ski sales have increased at a greater rate than conventional skis (SnowSports Industries, 2007); There has been almost 50% in halfpipe competition entries since 2004 (FIS, 2008); The number of national participating in halfpipe competitions has doubled (FIS, 2008).

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