Since slopestyle skiing isn’t an Olympic sport yet (it’s rumored to be on its way for 2014), moguls are as close as you’ll get to watching skiers perform mute grabs and off-axis 720s at the 2010 Games. But the tricks, performed on two “air bumps” staged near the top and bottom of a steep mogul field, are throwback versions of what you’ll see in the Winter X Games. In moguls, daffies and back scratchers are still considered modern tricks, and judges call 360s by their original name, helicopters. Moguls got its start in the 1960s in the U.S. and became an Olympic event in 1992 in Albertville, France. Here’s how it works: Athletes pick one of three or four different lines down the course and throw the tricks of their choice off the jumps. The winner is the one who combines the fastest time, the best turns, and the most difficult and technically correct tricks, according to a team of judges. The moguls event, as well as aerials, ski cross, snowboard cross, and snowboard halfpipe, will take place at Cyprus Mountain, a small ski area 20 miles from Vancouver.
One to Watch: Hannah Kearney, American Prodigy
There are four things you need to know about American mogul skier Hannah Kearney (left). (1) Her last name is pronounced “carny,” as in the toothless guy who operates your favorite roller coaster. (2) She won her first World Cup event in 2004, when she was just 17 years old. (3) Now 23, she’s the current World Cup moguls champ. (4) At the 2006 Games, she placed a disappointing 22nd, but this year, assuming she makes the Olympic qualifying cuts in late January, she’s going for gold. “I have more training, more experience,” says Kearney. “I’m going there to win a gold medal. But I can’t make any promises.”
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