A Short History of Freestyle Skiing

Freestyle skiing has gained tremendous popularity not only to those parts of the world that snows but to the tropics as well. This reputation is perhaps due to the recent and fast developments and innovations of the sport that enticed many followers to try it out. Although considered as a dangerous sport even by enthusiasts, freestyle skiing is constantly being improved to match the taste and to make sure they comply with the international safety standards, in fact, many freestyle skiing tricks nowadays are such that they are less hazardous but wrapped up with the same challenge.

The earliest trick in skiing was first recorder in Norway three hundred years ago in 1700. Around 1930, the idea of freestyle skiing emulated when some Norwegian skiers performed acrobatics during their alpine trainings. Because of these new improvements, non-competitive ski were then organized – the real essence of freestyle skiing that involve airborne movements and stunts was developed by an Olympic gold medalist Stein Eriksen in 1950s.

Twenty years later, after Eriksen’s exhibition, freestyle skiing was brought to the natural terrains where these daredevils show off their flips, jumps, and grabs – these pioneers redefined the sport and opened doors to a new breed of talents. The popularity of the sport rapidly caught the attention of many skiers and from there, different styles were developed and polished. To further catch the public’s interests, freestyle skiing competitions were organized and clear standards for the game were furnished.

Development of Freestyle Skiing

Competitive skiing evolved with along with the increase of the public’s curiosity of the sport. When confederations such as the International Ski Federation (FIS) were established, competitive skiing was brought to a new turning point with the development of ballet, mogul and aerial freestyle skiing; these events (excluding ballet) which were considered as demonstrative events in Winter Olympics before 1994 are now full fledged competitive events.

On aerial freestyle skiing, the performer should be propelled in the air where multiple flips, turns and twists have to be accomplished before they land on a 100-feet long inclined hill. They are scored according to their jump takeoffs, the jump forms and the landings. In the more popular mogul freestyle skiing, a series of lumps and bumps are encountered by the skiers as they perform clean short-radius turns. In competitive freestyle skiing, the degree of difficulty is increased as these bumps are put up on slopes; these moguls become more complicated as the level increases characterized by deeper grooves (troughs). Ballet freestyle skiing, also called acroski involves the typical choreographed jumps, flips, rolls and crossings that is normally performed on a smooth surface.