Freestyle skiing includes newer events such as Slopestyle and Halfpipe, as well as the long-established Moguls and Aerials. These events differ from Alpine racing as there is a judging element which awards points for acrobatic tricks performed, based on style and technical difficulty. The outlier in the Freestyle category is Ski Cross which is a head-to-head race down a course which includes jumps and banked turns, the winner being the skier who crosses the line first.

Aerials

Riders perform mid-air manoeuvres that are made up of multiple rotations by launching themselves up a 2-4m jump, propelling them up to 6m in to the air. Riders choose from one of three kickers to launch from - the first is used for single-turn backwards (more commonly referred to as a backflip), the second jump for double-backward turns and the third for triple-backwards turns.

Competitors then chose how many spins they mix in with the backward turns - this defines the difficulty of the trick, which is then given a numerical value. While performing their chosen trick points are awarded by judges for various criteria: air performance, form and handing. These scores are then multiplied by the difficulty to provide the final score.

Moguls

Moguls is a unique discipline, in that speed and technique make up the total score awarded to an athlete. Courses are 250m long and are made up of rows of man-made moguls, broken up by two sets of jumps.

Judges combine the scores for ski technique and aerial manoeuvres, with the time taken to complete the course, making up 50%, 25% and 25% of the total score respectively. Technique judges score riders for clean skiing through the bumps run and aerial judges award scores for amplitude, difficulty and precision.

Ski Cross

Four riders race head-to-head on a course with jumps, spines, rollers and banked turns. Starting at the same time from a gate the riders go flat out to the finish line. Crashes are not uncommon in this form of racing, and the spectacular nature of the racing make it a crowd favourite. Timed seeding runs decide the start order for the knockout competition with only the top riders progressing through each elimination round until the final.

Halfpipe

Riders use gravity and their own bodies to generate speed and power to zig-zag down the halfpipe. That momentum that launches them up the vertical walls of the 22ft tall ‘pipe’ and out of the top of it performing acrobatics in the air before landing back in the pipe and repeating on alternating walls to the bottom. Just like figures skating and other creative sports, there are 6 judges, each of whom award points to the riders for style, amplitude and technical difficulty.

The maximum amount of points available per run is 100. Riders complete two runs with the highest scoring of their two runs counting.

Slopestyle

On a course made up of features including jumps, rails, hips and boxes, riders perform stunts to impress judges. Just like the Halfpipe, riders are assessed on amplitude, style and difficulty by a team of judges, who mark each run out of 100. There are a number of different feature options at every stage of the course, so one rider’s run can differ hugely from another’s. As such there is an incredible array of styles making this thrilling discipline thrilling to watch.