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Freestyle Skiing

It is thought that freestyle skiing came about following the increased popularity of snowboarding, where anything other than traditional alpine skiing falls under the banner.

Whilst skiers and snowboarders have been pulling tricks and performing somersaults since the start of the 20th century it wasn’t until 1979 where the term freestyle was officially recognised by the International Ski Federation (FIS). It is worth noting however that rules were put into place to improve safety by removing some of the more risky elements of the sport.

The term freestyle has evolved from an Olympic perspective, beginning with a demonstration in 1988 at Calgary where moguls, aerials and ballet were contested by both men and women. Following this the mogul discipline became a medal event in 1992 and the aerial in 1996 before the debut of ski cross in 2010. Sochi also saw the introduction of both slopestyle and halfpipe.

Mogul skiing: Moguls are mounds of snow which are sometimes created naturally from when skiers and snowboarders turn sharply. In the context of the Olympics there is a downhill course with numerous moguls constructed along the way where each participant has to jump, trick and spin their way onto the podium.

Ski cross: This sees competitors racing downhill across a series of natural and man made obstacle with the winner being the first to cross the line.

Half-pipe skiing: Debuting in 2014 the discipline, as the name suggests, sees competitors racing down a halfpipe with points awarded for tricks performed. The person with the highest score wins.

Slopestyle: Basically a snow version of a skate park, with competitors performing tricks and jumps over obstacles on a course where points are awarded.

What is on when?

The official Winter Olympics programme can be viewed here.

Qualifying begins on Friday 9th February for the Moguls event, with 12 days of Freestyle Skiing overall throughout the competition.