Freestyle skiing

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Freestyle skiing is an acrobatic form of technical and aerial skiing. It is organized into a number of different disciplines, although there are no impartial authorities for managing the sport internationally.

Freestyle skiing first began to be taken seriously in the 1960s and early 1970s, when it was often known as "hot-dogging." Bob Burns pioneered this style in Sun Valley, Idaho, beginning in 1965.[1] In the late 1960s other followers of the style included Wayne Wong, Roger Evans, John Clendenin, Hermann Goellner and Tom Leroy. Some people thought that this style of skiing was too dangerous and did not want it to be an Olympic sport. The free-form sport had few rules and was not without danger; knee injuries became a common phenomenon for professional freestylers.

The International Ski Federation (FIS) recognized freestyle as a sport in 1979 and brought in new regulations regarding certification of athletes and jump techniques in an effort to curb the dangerous elements of the competitions. The first World Cup series was staged in 1980 and the first World Championships took place in 1986 in Tignes, France. Freestyle skiing was a demonstration event at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. Mogul skiing was added as an official medal event at the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, and the aerials event was added for the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer.

A pioneering group of skiers in the early 1990s started taking skiing to the snowboard parks. They became known as the "New Canadian Airforce" and helped not only to develop aerial and rail based tricks, but also approached companies with ski designs featuring a twin tip system. The twin tip works much like a snowboard in allowing the user to ski normally or ski backwards (switch).

Currently there are two main branches of freestyle skiing: one encompassing the more traditional events of moguls and aerials, and a newer branch often called new school, comprising events such as halfpipe, big air, slopestyle, and big mountain or free-skiing. New school skiing has grown so much that new ski companies were created, companies that strictly make twin-tip skis — skis that are designed for taking off and landing "fakie", or "switch" (backwards) on jumps and rails.

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