Everything You Need To Know About Freestyle Skiing

A Guide To Freestyle Skiing

Freestyle skiing has enjoyed a meteoric rise over the past decade, moving from a pastime of a misspent youth to Olympic glory. Its power to inspire has brought a fresh invigorating image to the brand of skiing, helping to align the rivalry between skiing and snowboarding.

The late 90’s and early millennium saw two distinctive tribes on the mountain, skiers ruled the piste, snowboarders ruled the terrain park and never the train shall meet. Excited by what was taking place in snowboarding, skiers led by the iconic Tanner Hall and Simon Dumont decided they could ride rails, kickers and half pipes in the same fashion as the snowboarders.

Freestyle skiing is no longer moguls and robotic aerials, it is an expression of art and progression.

“It’s something different. It’s a culture and a lifestyle.” – Johnny Decesare, a pioneer of modern skiing.

Watch this free documentary and ski film from Poor Boyz Productions, which takes you through the development of the sport and the lives of Simon Dumont and Tanner Hall.

Film Production and Freestyle Skiing

In 2009 an industry shaping film was released, as ski bums across the world went mad for ‘Everyday Is A Saturday’. The ski film brings the sport’s entirety into the light. The agonising wait for bluebird days to arrive or numerous competition training sessions, it’s a show of hard work, freedom, and collaboration. At the end of the day, Every Day Is A Saturday shows more than anything it is all just about being out there skiing with friends.

Freestyle skiing is soaking into the mainstream with big sponsors, media and money combing progressive skiing with epic stunts and scenery. Look to the internet sensation Candide Thovex who takes these elements further than anyone in freestyle skiing and freestyle snowboarding. Candide Thovex completes the trilogy with another one of those days. “One of those days 3′

“At 15 I was introduced to freestyle, this triggered something inside of me. Skiing was no longer just a sport but a way of expression, an art form. It was at this point the slopes became a blank canvas and I began to look at skiing with a different perspective, developing my own lines and creating my own style.” Niall Cox, Oneskee Brand Ambassador.

 

Competitive Freestyle Skiing

Competitive freestyle skiing takes on a few different forms, with some skiers specialising in certain disciplines. Generally, Slopestyle, Big Air, and Halfpipe is on offer at an event, each requiring different skills and mindsets to complete successfully.

Slopestyle is the ultimate show of a freestyle skiers all round skill involving multiple big air jumps after course features including street rails, boxes, wall rides, pipes and what ever else the course builders weld together in the work shop. The wackier the better. Being able to ride all types of features is a skill in itself before combining to ride one flowing run that will often involve three features and three big air kickers.

The Big Air competition is the place to flex your muscles as a skier, a kin to the 100-metre dash in athletics. All or nothing. Put a big air jump or ‘kicker’ under flood lights, crank the music and let the skiers put on a show. Biggest, best, gnarliest, damn right outrageous trick wins. If you ever played SSX Tricky and thought ‘that’s unrealistic,’ you were probably wrong. Did someone say quad? I couldn’t hear you from behind Billy Morgans snowboard.

Freestyle skiing halfpipe at the Winter Olympics
credit: Zack Dischner

Halfpipe or for the big boys ‘superpipe’ is just what you think. Half a pipe of bullet proof ice. 22-foot walls to ride out with as much amplitude as you can. These things are huge, the sort of thing you won’t understand until standing at the base. Again it is the cleanest best flow of tricks that takes home the medals. It’s dangerous and can end in disaster when you get it wrong but breath taking when things go to plan. Cue Simon Dumont and Red Bull doing half pipes better.

Freestyle Skiing, Slopestyle, Halfpipe and The Olympics

The 2014 Winter Olympics opened the door for freestyle skiing to become a world power allowing cult heroes a chance to be the icon of their nation. The winter games in Sochi included slope style and halfpipe which reward creativity compared to their more restrictive cousins of aerials and moguls which can be robotic but have been Olympic events since Albertville 1992.

The US boasting an all-star cast including Tom Walisch and David Wise, Sweden’s Henrik Harlaut shocked Olympic authorities by accidentally drop trow during his slope style run and James Woods skiing straight out of Sheffield, often seen as the birthplace of British freestyle skiing.

North America cleaned up the majority of the medals in both the men’s and women’s events, led by the men’s slopestyle team who dominated the podium with Jos Christensen taking gold followed by compatriots Gus Kenworthy and Nick Goepper respectively.

 

The Future of Freestyle Skiing

The future is bold for a sport that always looks like it has reached the progressive limit. New creativity will be born, inspiration will produce more jaw-dropping moments and new athletes have progression pathways mapped out. Governing bodies fund the sports training, in the U.K.

Freestyle skiers and snowboarders have more backing than any other winter sport. Gone are the early days into the unknown, the times when every event yielded a break through. But that is the nature of progression, the start is steep with challenging yet fast ascents. Now we shall see, more perfection, more fitness. Fun always.

Keep an eye out for our brand ambassadors in terrain parks around the World, including Niall Cox who will be shredding Les Deux Alps.

Share your best freestyle skiing shots in your Oneskee ski suit. Upload your pictures of you and your Oneskee in the gallery, and use #oneskee on your Twitter, Instagram and Facebook posts.