1. Freestyle Skiing Competition Format

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[edit] Freestyle Skiing Competition Formats

During the course of a calendar season the most important series of competitions are concentrated during the FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup Calendar with 50 to 60 individual competitions for both ladies and men.

The FIS Freestyle Ski World Ski Championships are held in odd years with the Olympic Winter Games held every four years. The number of competitions held during the Freestyle ski season depends on whether the year falls in a FIS World Championship or Olympic year.

[edit] Competitions

In freestyle skiing, there are 4 distinct events that are held equally for both ladies and men – Moguls, Aerials, Ski Cross and Ski Halfpipe.

[edit] Moguls

Competitors choose which of the three to four different lines they will ski down on the mogul course. After the start signal, they ski down a steep slope and over a series of offset large bumps (moguls) as high as 1.2 metres, spaced between three to four metres apart. There are two sets of ‘air bumps’, one near the top of the course, the other near the bottom, where the skiers are required to perform two different jumps of their own choice.

The goal is to ski down the course as fast as possible while performing the two jumps without technical errors or loss of balance. Different mogul jumps include the 360- to 180-degree spins, loops (side flips), off axis jumps, back and front flips, and flips with twists. The jumps can incorporate different grabs or holds of the legs or skis. Going down the moguls, skiers need to keep their upper bodies facing straight down the hill while their lower body and skis are constantly turning. Maintaining snow contact with the skis is an important element.

All competitors participate in a qualification phase. The top 12/16/20 skiers from the round move into the final with the start list in reverse order of the qualification results. The five “turn” judges award points based on the quality of the skiers’ turns, making deductions for technical mistakes. The two “air” judges determine what jump was performed, how high they are off the jump, and the jump’s quality. Each run is timed and compared to a pace-time set for the course, with the fast skiers being awarded more points. The skier with the highest score in the final phase wins.

[edit] Aerials

Strategically, competitors determine their inrun location based on the type of jump performed, their own freestyle technique and the current environmental conditions. Correct inrun speed is critical to successful aerial performances and athletes can choose two of many different jumps that combine back flips and twists with differing degrees of difficulty.

Competitors are judged on the quality of take off, height gained, form and body position, and how they maintain balance upon landing. All competitors complete two jumps in a qualification round. The top aerialists with the highest total scores from the qualification round move on to the final round. In the final round, competitors complete two more jumps in reverse order from the qualification results.

The aerialist with the highest combined score from the two runs wins.

[edit] Ski Cross

Although new to the Olympic sport program, ski cross has existed as an event since the early days of alpine racing skiing competition. The “mass start” appeal of ski cross, also seen in snowboard cross, sets the stage for fast and exciting competition.

Not restricted by formal structures and formats, ski cross is part of the FIS Freestyle Skiing discipline. The majority of competitors have an alpine skiing background.

The ski cross course, designed to test skiers’ skills, incorporates turns in a variety of types and sizes, flat sections and traverses, as well as rolls, banks and ridges similar to those found on a normal ski slope. Structures on the course resemble those found in snowboard cross events. Physical endurance and strength play a key role in ski cross as competitor ski four to five runs lasting 60 seconds or longer.

A timed qualification run is used to seed skiers into different heats, of four skiers each. At the sound of the starting device, the athlete begins racing down the course. The start, as well as the first sections before the first turn, are critical parts of the course, as passing can easily occur here. While other passing areas are designated on the course, interference with other skiers can lead to an athlete’s disqualification.

Each race is limited to four starters. The top half of the finishing field then moves on to the next round in a series of quarter, semi and final phases.

During each heat, the first two competitors to cross the finish line advance to the next heat, while the last two competitors are ranked based on qualification times. The “big final” round determines which athletes place first to fourth, while the “small final” determines those who rank from fifth to eighth place.

[edit] Ski Halfpipe

In the halfpipe, one skier at a time performs a routine of acrobatic jumps, twists and tricks on the inside of a half-cylinder-shaped snow tube or ramp while moving from one side of the halfpipe to the other.

Named because of its shape, the half-pipe has its origins in skateboarding, where competitors take off from a near-vertical wall and perform a variety of tricks in the air.

Starting at the top, they drop down one of the walls and take off on the opposite side to attempt their first trick. The competitors get two runs down the pipe and are ranked by the judges. They repeat this about six to eight times, crossing over between the two walls to show off their skills as they work their way down the pipe. The aim is to score points by carrying out different manoeuvres in the air, such as grabs, twists, flips and spins.

The competitors performance is assessed on the quality of the straight air tricks, one the tricks with rotations, one the height (or amplitude) of the tricks, and two give rankings for overall impression based on the variety of tricks and the general flow.

Straight airs often involve grabbing the skis in the air. Rotations involve vertical flips, horizontal spins and twists, and the light twintip skis allow the competitor to land with either ski.

Judges deduct points for falls, contact with the snow, unstable body position, bad landings and slowing down. The rider's best score of the two runs is counted, and the top 12 men and 12 women qualify for the final.

[edit] Also see


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