What is Freestyle Skiing?
Freestyle skiing is a form of skiing that gives more freedom to the skier to be creative. It is different from other skiing events such as downhill skiing because of the flexibility of each event. There are multiple variables at play including: brainstorming a routine, dealing with obstacles (moguls), and even racing others simultaneously.
There are six different events in freestyle skiing: moguls, ski cross, half pipe, ski slopestyle, ski ballet, and aerials. The half pipe, ski slopestyle, ski ballet, aerials, and moguls are all events that are at least partially decided by the competitor's ability to perform creative maneuvers on skis.
In the half pipe, athletes travel down a what looks like a pipe without the top half, and perform tricks. Ski slopestyle involves going down a hill covered with obstacles such as rails, while executing flips, spins, and jumps. Ski ballet is a timed dance routine done on skis while on a flat surface. All of the above are graded by judges, and the highest score wins.
Moguls is also a creative event, but speed is also factored into the score. Skiers go down a hill covered with moguls (mounds of snow) and execute two jumps where they can attempt a flip. Their score is 60 percent turns, 20 percent speed, and 20 percent air jumps. Turns are a measurement by the judges of how straight the skier kept their body while going through the moguls. Air jumps are also judge-based and are graded on both difficulty and form. Speed is simply how fast the course was completed.
Ski cross is the only freestyle event that does not have a winner chosen by judges. Skiers race simultaneously down a hill, trying to be the first to cross the finish line.