WHAT IS HALFPIPE SKIING?
Halfpipe skiing is the sport where athletes compete difficult tricks linked together down a 22-foot-tall halfpipe. Athletes are judged on variety, progression, difficulty, amplitude, execution and style. It has been an Olympic sport since 2014 and started in the late 1990’s, taking tricks from snowboard and skateboard and perfecting them on skis. Competition runs consist of 5 to 6 different tricks where they are performing multiple spins and flips while grabbing their skis in the air. The competition season starts in August in New Zealand and finishes every year in Tignes, France at the end of March. There are typically six World Cups, one Winter X Games, one Dew Tour stop at the Pro Level. Just below that are probably 20 other competitions during the season for athletes to make their way up the world ranking list to get invited to bigger events. Besides just skiing and training Halfpipe at resorts that have good Halfpipes there are several private training camps throughout the season. The camps have air bags for the athletes to land on for safety as they learn new tricks. To compete at this level and remain healthy for the entire season athletes must put in lots of time training at the gym and physical therapy.
WHAT IS SLOPESTYLE SKIING?
Slopestyle skiing is a discipline involving unique courses consisting of obstacles such as rails, jumps and various other park features. Athletes must make their way through these courses without omitting a feature and completing the course by arriving at the bottom without falling or crashing. Courses differ from contest to contest but must incorporate both jump and rail features.
As with Halfpipe, judging criteria follows the categories of Amplitude, Difficulty, Execution, Variety, Progression and combination/flow of a run.
Athletes are encouraged to vary grabs along with spin and flip variations including landing and taking off both forward and backward on both jump and rail features.