Vive la Liberation!

Cold Front
Vive la Liberation 1203

When the freestyle mogul circuit kicks off its season in Ruka, Finland, this December, spread triple twisters will mercifully be a thing of the past. For the first time, FIS judges arent placing creative limitations on jumps, meaning competitors will have the same anything-goes freedom their fellow athletes have in the halfpipe.

The new rules have been a long time coming. Mogul skiers got the green light to perform off-axis tricks in 2002, but they've been lobbying the FIS for nearly five years to allow full inverts. Until recently, however, the governing body maintained a rigid stance. Most famously, at the 2002 Olympic Games, 1998 gold medalist Jonny Moseley thumbed his nose at the judges and performed the sports first dinner roll, spinning 360 degrees off the kicker with his skis parallel to his headand pushing the regulated head-high limit of whats technically considered inversion.

Despite Moseleys flawless performanceand ear-splitting reception from the crowdjudges rewarded him with fourth-place scores. (Finlands Janne Lahtela won gold with a triple twister spread.) But Moseley may have helped nudge mogul skiing into the future. I feel happy to have had some effect on the sport and I think its a good step for freestyle, he says. But if the judges just follow the rules on execution and ignore the wow factor, things wont change much.However, judges plan to reward creativity this year, so the U.S. mogul teams have been fine-tuning a new batch of airs in anticipation of the rule changes. In place of boring old twisters and 360s, expect to see more athletes laying it out there with Cork 720s (two full rotations with the torso parallel to the ground) and D-spins (a back flip with a full twist). Not only will you be able to watch fast mogul skiing, said U.S. mogul team member Toby Dawson, but athletes will be able to showcase X Gamequality airs. Now nothing is holding the sport back.


Olympic Moguls

Guide to the Olympics: Moguls

The precursor to slopestyle, moguls are as close as you will get to watching off-axis 720’s. Twenty-three year old American mogul skier Hannah Kearney seems like a promising gold medal pick for the event, held at Cyprus Mountain, just 20 miles from Vancouver.