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Freeskiing, or new school skiing is a specific type of alpine skiing, which involves tricks, jumps, and terrain park features, such as rails, boxes, jibs, or other obstacles. This form of skiing resulted from the growth of snowboarding combined with the progression of freestyle skiing. "Newschoolers", or those who specifically ski in this style, as opposed to traditional freestylers, freeriders, big mountain skiers, and racers, are often found in terrain parks, which are designed specifically for tricks.
Controversially, freestyle skiing is viewed as its own sport, but some view it as a subset of freeskiing.Some participants view it as a separate sport and do not refer to it as freestyle. The sport does not require participants to compete, but there are competitive events available at every level of the sport. Currently there are two Olympic freeskiing events, half-pipe skiing and slopestyle. These events make up two of the four Olympic freestyle skiing events.
The sport has seen continual growth since its inception in the late 1990s. There is currently a growing number of professional freeskiers,[ citation needed ] most of whom compete, specializing in a certain freeskiing discipline, while a few do not compete, but rather produce and star in videos.
In the 1990s freestyle skiers, discouraged by restrictive rules placed on the sport by the International Ski Federation (FIS), began trying their tricks in what were at the time snowboard-only terrain parks. Early newschool skiers were very aware of the developing style and attitude of snowboarding, and adopted these for their own sport. The Newschool Skier is related more to the snowboarder in his/her style than to the traditional skier's style.
The FIS freestyle skiing events were governed by restrictive rules that were unpopular in the growing ski community, and slowed down the progression of the sport. Such rules included a ban on inverted tricks in mogul runs, a limit on the number of flips in aerial competitions, and a lack of ski park or pipe competitions. The "Newschool" movement was a breakaway fraction of the freeskiers who were unhappy with the FIS.
The breakaway faction was led by the New Canadian Air Force, which included the "Godfather of freeskiing", Mike Douglas, and others such as Vincent Dorion, JP Auclair and Shane Szocs. Also contributing significantly in these early days were Julien Regnier and "the Three Phils", namely, Phil Larose, Phil Belanger and Phil Dion, all of whom were teammates at Dynastar. After helping Salomon develop their first twin-tip ski, the "1080", the New Canadian Air Force began jumping and filming in traditionally snowboarder dominated terrain parks.
In recent years, many ski resorts have introduced terrain parks where skiers and snowboarders can attempt tricks. These parks include many features like rails, boxes, jumps, hips, quarterpipes, and halfpipes. It is now quite common for 'Newschool' skiers to use urban features in towns and cities to perform tricks also done in the snowpark. A popular choice of equipment for this terrain is the twin-tip ski. Twin-tip skis come in all shapes and sizes, and were originally made specifically for newschool skiing. The varieties of twin-tip skis are now more versatile, being marketed towards skiers of all styles and abilities. Twin-tip skis are turned up at both ends to allow for both regular (forwards) and switch (backwards) skiing.
Underpinning the revolution was a myriad of Movies, Websites and Magazines that showcased this new style of riding. Contests alone could not give an avenue for self-expression like intended, and a very healthy media distribution channel formed. Through these channels, athletes gained the ability to express themselves not only within the confines of contests, but also through imagery, videos and news articles.
In 2007, the formation of the Association of Freeskiing Professionals (AFP), created a unified global tour of competitions and ranking system for freeskiing athletes. Created as a unified voice for the athletes, the AFP organized freeskiing competitions in slopestyle, ski half pipe and big air disciplines under consistent guidelines of AFP sanctioned judging and format standards. This calendar of AFP sanctioned competitions and the AFP rankings serve as a roadmap for emerging talent in the sport, event organizers, coaches, nations, and the general public in regard to the sport of Freeskiing. Since 2008 the AFP has named World Champions in each discipline for men and women. The Overall World Championship is awarded each year to the best combined ranking in all disciplines (excluding big air for women). In 2012 the AFP changed the name of the Overall World Championship trophy to the Sarah Burke Trophy in honor of the fallen women's skiing pioneer Sarah Burke who died in a 2012 skiing accident in Utah.
On April 6, 2011, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced the addition of the men's and women's ski halfpipe and slopestyle events to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Olympic status for ski halfpipe is expected to have a direct impact on the training, funding, and resources available to athletes. In January 2011, the United States Ski and Snowboard Association launched U.S. Freeskiing in partnership with The North Face, which would presumably supply Olympic uniforms.
Any skiing outside the prepared or marked trails is referred to as backcountry or off-piste skiing. This form of skiing is probably the most mortally dangerous (depending on where and how it is done) because of the high speeds, large drops (sometimes with hidden rocks in the landing), and avalanches. This type of skiing has been banned in certain areas of the world because of chances of injury or death. Many see this form of skiing to be the most freeing, because it creates a relationship of just the skier and mountain.Backcountry skiers consist of both newschool skiers who perform tricks off various terrain features, and oldschoolers as well.
Park is skiing on man-made features provided by the ski area such as jumps, rails, boxes, and halfpipes. According to Freeskier's 2010 Travel Guide the top resorts in North America for park are Breckenridge, Mammoth, Aspen/Snowmass, Park City, Poley Mountain, Whistler Blackcomb, Alivia, and Mount Snow.
Street or urban skiing consists of sliding or grinding skis on rails, walls, ledges, or other features found in urban areas. Some professional freestyle or newschool skiers, such as Clayton Vila and Will Wesson, specialize in skiing on urban features, while being filmed, producing segments for skiing film companies such as Level 1 productions, Stept Productions, or 4bi9 media. In 2016, the X Games created a video competition called “X Games Real Ski” where a group of professional skiers selected by the X Games have the opportunity to film and submit an urban segment. Winners are selected by a panel of judges, and the public is also given an opportunity to vote for the fan favorite.
There are many relatively small companies that have supported and greatly added to the progression of Newschool Skiing. These companies make skis specific for Newschool Skiing. Line is believed to be the first newschool skiing company.
Freeskiing requires at least three pieces of gear. Skis, Ski boots and ski bindings. In addition to this, many skiers choose to use poles, goggles, ski clothing and safety gear such as helmets and avalanche gear. Almost everything used by freeskiers is designed specifically for use in freeskiing rather than ordinary skiing.
There are three kinds of newschool skis: powder, all-mountain and park (twin tip).
Powder skis, also called big-mountain or backcountry skis, have a wide waist width, making them ideal for places with heavy powder. The extra surface area helps skiers to float above premium powder. However, they can be difficult to use on slopes with less snow or groomed trails, especially for beginning to moderate skiers. Experienced skiers sometimes buy powder skis as an alternate pair, to be used when conditions warrant it. True backcountry skis have a waist width of 90 to 110 millimeters, while powder skis are the widest type, measuring from 110 to 140 millimeters.
Most Alpine skis fall into this category. All-mountain skis are designed to perform in all types of snow conditions and at most speeds. Narrower all-mountain skis are better for groomed runs, while wider styles handle better in powder and poor conditions. Other names for this style of ski include mid-fat skis, all-purpose skis, and the one-ski quiver.
Park skis are often designed with a more symmetrical shape to make switch (backwards) skiing much easier and reinforced edges to withstand rails. Eric Pollard designed the first two symmetrical skis, the Anthem and the Invader. Pollard now has his own pro model skis from Line skis called the EP Pro (Mr. Pollard's Opus - 2012), the Elizabeth and the Sir Francis Bacon. Some new powder and all-mountain skis are created with 'reverse camber' (aka 'rocker') meaning that the tips and tails are bent up slightly to make powder landings easier.
Freestyle skiing is a skiing discipline comprising aerials, moguls, cross, half-pipe, slopestyle and big air as part of the Winter Olympics. It can consist of a skier performing aerial flips and spins, and can include skiers sliding rails and boxes on their skis. Known as "hot-dogging" in the early 1970s, it is also commonly referred to as freeskiing, jibbing, as well as many other names around the world.
Kristi Leskinen is an American freestyle skier. At Winter X Games IX, Leskinen won a bronze medal in the Women's Superpipe. Kristi Leskinen was the first woman to ever pull off a rodeo 720—two rotations with her head pointed towards the earth. She was named one of the Twenty Greatest Adventure Sport Athletes of today by Faces Magazine in fall of 2005. She appeared on the cover of Powder magazine's Photo Annual in 2004.
Freeriding is a style of snowboarding or skiing performed on natural, un-groomed terrain, without a set course, goals or rules. It evolved throughout the sport's formative early years as a contrary response to the highly regimented style of ski competition prevalent at the time. Snowboarders primarily refer to freeriding as backcountry, sidecountry, or off-piste snowboarding, and sometimes big mountain or extreme riding.
A modified version of their alpine counterparts, twin-tip skis are designed to enable a skier to take off and land backward while jumping and to ski backwards (switch) down a slope. The name "twin-tip" comes from the dual shape of the ski. While most alpine skis have a defined, curved-up front end as well as a flat rear end, twin-tip skis have a curved-up tip and tail.
Candide Thovex is a French professional skier, filmmaker and entrepreneur. He is notable for his creative freestyle skiing movies and professional accomplishments. He first caught the attention of the world of outdoor and action sports by jumping Chad's Gap, a massive transfer jump of 120 feet (37 m) from take-off to landing over a 40 feet (12 m) deep gully in Alta, Utah, US. His point of view videos routinely go viral on the internet and are viewed by millions. He is widely considered to be one of the best freeskiers in the history of the sport.
Slopestyle is a winter sport in which athletes ski or snowboard down a course including a variety of obstacles including rails, jumps and other terrain park features. Points are scored for amplitude, originality and quality of tricks. The discipline has its roots in action sports like skateboarding and BMX and has very successfully crossed over into the snow sports worlds of skiing and snowboarding. Skiers use Twin-tip skis for their symmetry since they often go large portions of the course backward and for their balanced weight so as to not destabilize spins. Slopestyle tricks fall mainly into four categories: spins, grinds, grabs and flips, and most tricks done in competition are a combination of these.
Sarah Jean Burke was a Canadian freestyle skier who was a pioneer of the superpipe event. She was a five-time Winter X Games gold medallist, and won the world championship in the halfpipe in 2005. She successfully lobbied the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to have the event added to the Olympic program for the 2014 Winter Olympics. She was considered a medal favourite in the event. Burke died following a training accident in Utah in 2012.
Liberty Skis Corporation is one of the ski industry's largest independent ski manufacturers, and a leader in the manufacture of carving, touring, powder, and twin-tip skis, used primarily for a style of skiing known alternately as newschool skiing or freeskiing. Founded in 2003 by James Satloff and Dan Chalfant, Liberty Skis has grown to be one of the largest independent ski manufacturers worldwide, with shops and distributors in the US, Canada, Europe, and Asia.
David Crichton is a professional freestyle skier and former member of the Canadian National Development Ski Team for freestyle mogul skiing.
Jon Anders Olsson Delér is a professional freeskier and alpine ski racer from Sweden. Born in Mora, Olsson Delér started his career as a ski racer but at age 16 he switched his race skis for twin tips and quit ski racing. Eight years later, after a 50 000 SEK (US$5826.22) bet with fellow skier Jens Byggmark, Olsson Delér started ski racing again with the goal of the bets being to make it to the Olympics in 2014. He now competes in both freestyle and ski racing. Olsson Delér is known for his invention of several new double flips, including a D-spin 720 into a flatspin 540, a switch double rodeo 1080, a double flatspin 900, and a switch cork 720 to flatspin 540.
Charles Russell Johnson III was a professional skier and a pioneer in the freeskiing movement. He became a top competitor and a favorite in ski films and was known for his progression, fearlessness, and passion for skiing. Johnson died in 2010 in a ski accident.
Grete Eliassen is an American-Norwegian freestyle skier. She won a bronze medal in Slopestyle at the 2011 Winter X Games XV in Aspen, Colorado, behind Kaya Turski and Keri Herman. She has won 6 medals at the Winter X Games in slopestyle and halfpipe events including back to back gold medals in 2005 and 2006. Eliassen serves as the 16th president of the Women's Sports Foundation, effective January 2017.
Tom Wallisch is a professional freeskier.
Dane Tudor is an Australian / American freeskier born in Sydney, Australia. He spent his time growing up between Palmer, Alaska and Rossland, British Columbia. Tudor still resides in both British Columbia and Alaska.
Devin Marie Logan is an American freeskier from West Dover, Vermont. She won silver in Olympic slopestyle at the 2014 Winter Olympics held in Sochi.
Half-pipe skiing is the sport of riding snow skis on a half-pipe. Competitors perform a series of tricks while going down the pipe. The current world record for highest jump in a half-pipe is held by Joffrey Pollet-Villard, with 26 feet 3 inches. The sport is considered to be dangerous compared to other sports, and helmets are required to be worn during competitions. Half-pipe skiing has been part of the Winter X Games since 2002, and made its Olympic debut at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. David Wise of the United States of America became the first Olympic champion in this discipline with a total of 92.00 points.
James Woods is a British freestyle skier. He has won six medals at FIS World Cup and two medals at FIS World Championships
Augustus Richard Kenworthy is a British-American freestyle skier, actor, and YouTuber. He competes in slopestyle, halfpipe and big air. Kenworthy won the silver medal in Men's slopestyle at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. As of 2019, Kenworthy represents Great Britain. He was cast as Chet Clancy in the ninth season of the horror anthology series American Horror Story: 1984.
This glossary of skiing and snowboarding terms is a list of definitions of terms and jargon used in skiing, snowboarding, and related winter sports.