Freestyle skiing rose to prominence in the 1960s in the United States, as the advances in ski equipment led to development of new and exciting skiing techniques that differed greatly from the alpine skiing commonly seen in Europe. Skiers started to incorporate acrobatic tricks and jumps into their runs, and in 1979 freestyle was recognised as a discipline by the International Ski Federation (FIS).
Freestyle skiing first made its debut at the 1988 Calgary Games - albeit only as a demonstration sport, with events for men and women in moguls, aerials, and ballet. Four years later at the Albertville Games, the mogul event gained medal status, as did the aerial event at Lillehammer 1994. Ski cross made its Olympic debut at the 2010 Vancouver Games. Slopestyle and halfpipe were added to the freestyle skiing programme at the 2014 Sochi Games.
The freestyle skiing competition at the Winter Olympics features thirteen events:
- Men's & Women's Aerials
- Men's & Women's Moguls
- Men's & Women's Ski Cross
- Men's & Women's Halfpipe
- Men's & Women's Slopestyle
- Men's & Women's Big Air
- Aerials Mixed Team
The aerials events, halfpipe, slopestyle and moguls are all 'judged' events - athletes receive a score from a group of judges based on the skill of their tricks and form they display on each of their runs in the competition. In the case of big air, competitors are also scored on the height and distance of each of their jumps.
Unlike the other freestyle skiing events, ski cross is a timed event rather than a judged one (the first athlete to cross the finish line wins!).
After first featuring as a demonstration sport at the 1988 Calgary Games, freestyle skiing was introduced to the Winter Olympic programme in 1992, with new events - including ski cross, halfpipe, and slope-style - added to the competition format over the years.
There are 13 events in freestyle skiing at Beijing 2022, including two new events: men’s and women’s freestyle skiing Big Air and mixed team freestyle skiing aerials.
Nico Porteous has been New Zealand's only Freestyle skiing medal (bronze) in Men’s Halfpipe at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games.
Freestyle Skiing Games History
Olympic Winter Games Beijing 20221
Olympic Winter Youth Games Lausanne 20201
Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 20181
Olympic Winter Youth Games Lillehammer 20161 1
Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014
Olympic Winter Youth Games Innsbruck 2012
Olympic Winter Games Vancouver 2010
Olympic Winter Games Torino 2006
Olympic Winter Games Nagano 1998