About Ski Cross

Ski Cross is a relatively new Freestyle Skiing discipline based on the snowboarding discipline of Boardercross. Despite being a timed racing event, Ski Cross falls under the Freestyle category as it incorporates terrain features traditionally found in freestyle skiing.

The concept for Ski Cross originated in the late 1980s when Jim Essick wanted to create an event which would make ski racing more exciting for spectators, similar to Motocross, where four skiers would race head to head on a course, rather than against the clock. They envisaged a course that would combine jumps and gates to add excitement to the races. It was the snowboarding arm of the concept which took off first, known as Boardercross. Later the skiing version of the concept was introduced and the International Ski Federation (FIS) adding Ski Cross to it’s Freestyle Skiing World Cup in 2002. Ski Cross made it’s first appearance in the World Championships in 2005 and in the Winter Oympic Games in 2010. Since then the sport has been growing in popularity.


The Course

A ski cross course should be:

Between 650 to 1,200 meters long
Have a vertical drop of between 130 and 250m
Be at least 30m wide, preferably 40-50m
Have an average slope of 15 degrees, ideally ranging between 12-22 degrees of varied terrain
Have a drop down start gate
The Course should contain a series of ‘features and direction changes’; 50% turns of varying size, radius and speeds between the features, 25% straight running, traversing and absorption, bumps and rollers and 25% in the air or airtime off of different air features
There must be at least 60m after the start before the first turn. The first turn/direction change must be no less than 100 degrees
The last feature should be directly in line with finish i.e. there should be a straight flat ski to the finish

The Race

In the qualification round (or time trial) every competitor skis down the course against the clock. The fastest 32 skiers (or fastest 16 if there are not 32 entrants) will progress to the knockout round.

Based on the qualification times, skiers are placed into a knockout draw, with four skiers in each race. The first two skiers past the finish line in each round will progress to the next round. The 3rd and 4th placed skiers are eliminated.

At the semi-final stage the two fastest in each heat progress to the “Large Final” where positions 1 – 4 are contested. The 3rd and 4th placed skiers in each semi final progress to the “Small Final” where positions 5-8 are decided.

Any intentional contact with other competitors during the race can lead to disqualification.

Glossary of Terms

Banked turnturn that is set on an angle to help the skier in the direction of the turn.

Basketball turnreverse banked turn, off angel, fall-away. The bank works against the direction of the turn.

Blockingskiing in a manner to protect yourself from being passed.

Butterto ski a section or terrain very smoothly.

Bounced, or Bouncingmissing transitions through a roller section, or what you do when you “knuckle.”

Boxed or Boxed instuck in a place/position that doesn’t allow you to overtake other skiers.

Case, Cased or Casingcoming up short on a jump, landing before transition.

Doublea set of two “rollers” that can be jumped or “doubled.”

Draftingfollowing closely behind another skier to take advantage of aerodynamics.

Flat turn, GS turn or Alpine turna turn that has no feature built to define it, it is flat like a Giant Slalom turn.

Hole-shotwinning the start and taking the lead.

Knuckleplace on a feature where a flat spot rolls into a transition.

Knuckledlanding just short of making the transition.

Lockedstuck on edge, off-balance without the ability to release.

Nail or Nailedskiing a section or terrain very well, fast.

Over-shoot, Over-shotjumping long on a feature, missing the transition, or ideal landing area.

Pancaked, Pancakinglanding just short of making the transition.

Rollerssection of terrain made up of rounded, wavy terrain. A skier is usually able to stay on the ground through a roller section.

Sling-shotusing the draft to accelerate and eventually pass another skier.

Step upjump where the landing is higher than the take-off.

Squeezedgetting caught between two skiers, or a skier and a gate, or fence, and are unable to move.

Step-downjump where the landing is slower than the take-off

Table or table-topa jump where the take-off is at a similar level as the landing. Where the athlete has the option of clearing the flat portion in the middle and landing on the down slope of the feature or if traveling at a reduced speed can ski across the top.

Transitionideal place to land on a feature, where landing is most forgiving, or part of a feature where speed can be generated by “working”, “pumping”, “milking”.

Triplea set of three “rollers” that can be jumped all at once, or “tripled”.

“Working” or Worked(ex: Working a section, “I worked the rollers really well”) using the terrain to generate speed. (synonymous with pumping, milking).