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, most of whom compete, specializing in a certain freeskiing discipline, while a few do not compete, but rather produce and star in videos.
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.
Further information: Category: Freeskiers