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Page last updated at 12:01 GMT, Wednesday, 4 November 2009
Freestyle skiing

Men's world championship ski cross
Venue: Cypress Mountain
Competition dates: 21 Feb (men), 23 Feb (women)
Holders: New to the Winter Olympics for 2010

Ski cross, based on the motor cycling sport of motocross, is new to the Winter Olympics for the 2010 Games in Vancouver.

Alpine and nordic skiing disciplines are all about who can get from start to finish as quickly as possible.

For freestyle skiers, competitions normally involve jumps and tricks instead - but ski cross combines the two.

It does not involve jumps and moves to the extent you would expect in other freestyle events but, since it takes place over the same artificial turns, bumps, slopes and ridges, it falls into the same category.

This discipline is also unusual as it allows skiers to go head to head, with up to four heading down the course at the same time - making for exciting racing.


The aim is to complete the course - around a kilometre in length - in the fastest time possible.

First, skiers head down the slope in a timed qualification run, but with obstacles like jumps and banks in the way, this is not a simple downhill sprint.

The speed with which a skier completes their time trial (usually between 45 seconds and a minute) dictates the heat in which they start when the competition proper begins.

The rest of the event turns into a straightforward knockout competition.

Four skiers start each heat at the same time. The objective is to finish the course first, so it is important to try to pass your opponents, although you are not allowed to unfairly interfere with their progress.

The two fastest skiers in each heat progress through to the quarter-finals, then semi-finals, until a winner is produced in the final.

Ski comparison graphic

Ski cross competitors use giant slalom skis with a softer tip, but there are no governing body regulations on the length of the skis used.

Helmets are compulsory, and competitors usually wear body protectors.

Stamina and strength are key qualities for any ski cross athlete, as competitions demand the completion of a number of runs in relatively quick succession.


Ski cross is a relatively new discipline but, because of the jumps and other obstacles faced on the course, you will need to be an accomplished skier to tackle it.

If you think you are ready for the challenge, Snowsport GB has details of how to get involved in freestyle skiing.

And for more information on the ski world, visit the International Ski Federation's website.


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