Freestyle Discipline Guide
Freestyle sessions happen across the country, mainly focussing on the Slopestyle Discipline with many slopes and dedicated clubs offering coached introductions to your first rail, box or kicker. You may also find opportunities within specific Moguls coaching as well as Ski or Snowboard Cross courses too when they are set up.
Freestyle skiing and snowboarding in its modern form continues to be one of the fastest growing disciplines in snowsports, particularly since the increase of indoor snow centres in the UK and the changing technology in equipment. It burst onto the scene at the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014 where Jenny Jones won Team GB's first ever medal on snow in the slopestyle Discipline!
Freestyle consists of 6 different disciplines, Slopestyle, Big Air, Half Pipe, Ski Cross, Aerials and Moguls:
The newest freestyle event to make its debut as an Olympic event. Slopestyle consists of a course containing jumps, and other features which may be found in terrain parks. Riders ski down the course and are judged for their degree of difficulty, amplitude off the jumps and execution of each trick on the jumps, rails, boxes and other features on the course. Each course is unique so athletes need to be creative and showcase all of their skills on each run.
A halfpipe is a semi-circular purpose-built ramp which for standard competitions is now 22m wide and 150m long. The "walls" of the halfpipe can be anything from 2.5m to just under 7m high for elite level competitions. Athletes are judged on their degree of difficult for each trick, variety of tricks, the execution of each trick and amplitude out of the pipe. A standard competition usually sees athletes given 2 or 3 runs with the highest score to count.
Big Air competitions are contests where riders perform all-out tricks off a huge man made jump built specifically for the event. Riders perform a combination of tricks in the air, aiming to attain sizable height and distance, all while securing a clean landing to impress the judges. Snowboarding Big Air will be included in the Winter Olympics for the first time in 2018.
Ski & Snowboard Cross
4 racers at a time, all on course at the same time with the fastest to the bottom taking the glory. A mix of downhill racing and freestyle skiing and snowboarding, it's not you against the clock, it's you against the competitors. Ski Cross (SX) or it's original sister sport Snowboard Cross (SBX) has its roots in motor-cross and BMX racing. The format is extremely popular with fans because of the close, high octane racing, making it a great television spectacle.
Mogul skiing consists of one timed run of free skiing on a steep, heavily moguled course, stressing technical turns, aerial manoeuvres and speed. You are scored on a combination of your speed, technique, and jump execution and trick difficulty. Courses are typically 200m and formed of many 'snow bumps' set approximately 3.5 metres apart including two small jumps which are used as a take-off for aerial manoeuvres.
Aerialists ski off 2-4 meter jumps, built completely out of snowing using a wood form during the construction period, that propel them up to 6 metres in the air (which can be up to 20 metres above the landing height, given the landing slope). Once in the air, aerialists perform multiple somersaults and twists, similar to the Summer Olympic Sport of Diving, before landing on a 34 to 39-degree inclined landing hill about 30 metres in length.