SECTIONS

Get your Olympic I.D. for early access to exclusive content, promotions, contests and email updates from your Canadian Olympic Team.

Link other accounts

Logout
FR

Canadian Olympic Team Official Website

Skiing – Freestyle

Skiing – Freestyle

The Canadian Freestyle Ski Team

Canada has a long history of excelling in freestyle skiing disciplines. Since moguls and aerials were introduced as demonstration sports at the Calgary Winter Olympics in 1988, the Canadian Freestyle Ski Team has won 12 Olympic medals.

According to the Canadian Sports Centre, freestyle skiing is one of Canada’s top three medal-producing sports.

Canada’s Freestyle Ski Team, nicknamed “the Canadian Air Force,” finished an impressive 2013 season. The team won a combined nine World Championship and 42 World Cup medals.

The Canadian freestyle skiing athletes are gold medal favourites at the 2014 Winter Olympics, where they will compete in all freestyle disciplines, including the new events slopestyle and halfpipe.

Check out the Sochi 2014 Canadian Freestyle Ski Team

Freestyle Skiing Rulebook

A Brief History of Freestyle Skiing

Freestyle skiing is believed to have been born in the 1930s when Norwegian skiers would perform acrobatic moves while training for alpine and cross-country skiing.

One of those was alpine skier Stein Eriksen, the 1952 Olympic champion in men’s giant slalom, who after moving to the United States would entertain his students with aerial stunts. Exhibitions of “hot dogging” would eventually lead to organized competitions before freestyle skiing would be officially recognized by the International Ski Federation (FIS) in 1979.

The first ever FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships were held in 1986, two years before it was a demonstration sport at Calgary 1988 with events in moguls, aerials and ski ballet.

Moguls would gain full official medal status for the Albertville 1992 Olympic Winter Games, with aerials following at Lillehammer 1994. They would be the lone freestyle events on the Olympic program until ski cross debuted at Vancouver 2010. Administered domestically by Alpine Canada, ski cross falls under the freestyle discipline within FIS.

Two new freestyle skiing events will be introduced at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics: halfpipe and slopestyle.

A History of Freestyle Skiing in Canada

In 1974, John Johnston founded the Canadian Freestyle Skiers Association, and the sport was later adopted as a discipline by the Canadian Ski Association.

In 1995, Canada’s freestyle ski community got its own national governing body through the establishment of the Canadian Freestyle Association.

There are currently 50 freestyle ski clubs across Canada.

Canada’s Olympic Freestyle Skiing Glory

Freestyle skiing’s debut as a demonstration sport at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics meant good news for the Canadian ski team. Aerialist Jean-Marc Rozon won gold while his teammate Lloyd Langlois took silver.

The Canadian aerialists continued their Olympic success at the 1992 Albertville Winter Games, where Philippe LaRoche won gold and Nicholas Fontaine silver.

At the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Jean-Luc Brassard landed Canada’s freestyle skiing team another victory and became to first Canadian male skier to win gold. Philippe LaRoche and Lloyd Langlois returned to the podium after winning silver and bronze in men’s aerials.

The Canadian Freestyle Ski Team earned two medals at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City in 2002, when Veronica Brenner captured silver and Deidra Dionne bronze in women’s aerials.

Mogul skier Jennifer Heil won Canada’s first gold medal of the 2006 Winter Games in Turin. Heil also won her fourth consecutive World Cup title that year.

The Canadian Freestyle Ski Team took three medals at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver in 2010. Quebec mogul skier Alexandre Bilodeau won the country’s first Olympic gold medal on home soil. Ashleigh McIvor took gold in women’s ski cross, and Jennifer Heil silver in women’s moguls.

Events

Aerials - Men and Women

Aerialists do some of the most difficult acrobatic maneuvers in any sport, up to five twists and three flips while in the air for about three seconds. Competitors hit the jumps, known as kickers, at speeds up to 65 km/hr and launch themselves up to 20 metres in the air, the equivalent of a six-story building. Seven judges evaluate each jump. Five judges mark the air, which includes the takeoff, height and distance of the jump, for 20% of the score. Those same five judges also mark the form of the skier in the air for 50% of the score. Two other judges mark the landing of the jump for 30% of the score. The sum of the air, form and landing is multiplied by the jump’s degree of difficulty to get the final jump score. Competition begins with a two-jump qualification round. The top six after the first jump are advanced directly to the final. The remaining competitors do the second qualification jump with six more advancing to the final. The final consists of three phases, cutting the field from 12 to eight and finally to the four skiers who will compete for the medals. Scores do not carry over at any stage of the competition.

Halfpipe - Men and Women

Halfpipe has been a fixture of the Winter X Games and has been featured at the FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships since 2005. Halfpipe takes place in a sloped channel of snow. A panel of five judges, each scoring out of 100, evaluates each run on its overall impression, taking into account the amplitude and style as well as the diversity, difficulty and execution of the tricks. The judges’ scores are then averaged to determine the score for the run. There is a qualification round, which is a best-of-two-run format, from which the top 12 advance to the final, which is also a best-of-two-run format.

Moguls - Men and Women

The term mogul derives from the German word “mugl” meaning small hill. The moguls are the bumps that form an approximately 250m course over which skiers travel at a speed of approximately four moguls per second. While speed is important, it only accounts for 25% of the final score, therefore the fastest skier down the course does not necessarily win. There are five judges who score the quality of the skiers’ turns through the moguls, worth 50% of the final score. There are two other judges who score the quality of the two aerial tricks and their technical difficulty, making up the last 25% of the final score. Competition begins with a qualification run, from which the top 10 skiers are advanced directly to the final. The remaining skiers will take a second qualification run with ten more advancing to the final. The final consists of three phases, cutting the field from 20 to 12 and finally to the six skiers who will compete for the medals. Score do not carry over at any stage of the competition.

Ski Cross - Men and Women

Unlike the other freestyle events, there is no judging component in ski cross. It is all about speed as skiers race four at a time down a course comprised of various features such as banks, jumps, rollers and turns. Olympic ski cross courses have a length of 900m to 1200m with a vertical drop of 180m to 250m. Competition begins with a timed qualification run to seed the 32 competitors into single elimination heats of four skiers each. The top two in each heat advance to the next round, until just four competitors remain to race the Big Final for the medals. Domestically, ski cross is administered by Alpine Canada.

Slopestyle - Men and Women

Like halfpipe, slopestyle has been a featured event at the Winter X Games but did not debut at the FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships until 2011. In slopestyle, the skiers go down, through and over a course comprised of a series of rail and jump features. Like halfpipe, a panel of five judges, each scoring out of 100, evaluates each run on its overall impression, taking into account the amplitude and style as well as the diversity, difficulty and execution of the tricks. The judges’ scores are then averaged to determine the score for the run. There is a qualification round, which is a best-of-two-run format, from which the top 12 advance to the final which is also a best-of-two-run format.

Canadian Medallists

Open/Close

FINISH:

ATHLETE:

GAME:

EVENT:

RESULT:

GoldJean-Luc BrassardLillehammer 1994Men's Moguls -
GoldJennifer HeilTurin 2006Ladies' Moguls -
GoldAlex BilodeauVancovuer 2010Men's Moguls -
GoldAshleigh McIvorVancouver 2010Ladies' Ski Cross -
SilverPhilippe LaRocheLillehammer 1994Men's Aerials -
SilverVeronica BrennerSalt Lake City 2002Ladies' Aerials -
SilverJennifer HeilVancouver 2010Ladies' Moguls -
BronzeLloyd LangloisLillehammer 1994Men's Aerials -
BronzeDeidra DionneSalt Lake City 2002Ladies' Aerials -
Canadian Olympic ID
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 276 other followers

Get your free Olympic I.D.

Get your Olympic I.D. for early access to exclusive content, contests and email updates from your Canadian Olympic Team.