Freestyle Skiing 101: Equipment

A freestyle skier competes in the Men's Freestyle Skiing Halfpipe finals at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park during the Sochi Winter Olympics on Feb. 18, 2014. (Afp Via Getty Images)

Skis

The size and design of the skis vary by discipline. 

Halfpipe and slopestyle skis have a "twin-tip" design, in which both ends of the skis (the tips and tails) are slightly bent up to allow for easier skiing both forwards and backwards (switch). The skis used by slopestyle skiers also have reinforced edges to withstand rails. 

Mogul skiers use skis that are shorter than those used in alpine skiing. Aerials skiers use skis which are light and are usually shorter than the skier, which allows for better control on the sharp curve of the ramp and permits precise movement in the air. 

Ski cross racers typically use giant slalom skis with softer tips and no regulation on length or side cut. 

Poles

Used to aid the skier in accelerating, turning and maintaining balance. 

Helmet

The use of helmets is required for all events. Made of hard plastic, used to prevent potential head injuries. 

Ski suit

Ski suits for both moguls and aerials are chosen by the teams and afford ease of movement and sensitivity to function. 

Ski suits for ski cross must be two pieces: pants and a separate top. Form-fitting speed or downhill suits are not permitted. The gap in the material must be a minimum 60mm, measured anywhere around the circumference of the mid-thigh, the knee, the top of the ski boot, on the lower body and around the elbow and the bicep on the upper body. 

Goggles

Goggles are worn to improve visibility and protect the skier's eyes from snow, wind and sun. Lenses come in a variety of tints, with different tints being better-suited for particular weather and visibility conditions. 

Boots

For aerials, normal ski boots are specifically fit to allow for a strong takeoff, good form and a solid landing. 

Protection

Non-protruding body protection and padding is recommended (back, hips and arms). Protection equipment must be worn on the body. For ski cross racers, no straps, fastening devices or other methods can be used to tighten the suit material closer to the body. 

Knee patch

In moguls, knee control is essential, so skiers' suits will often have a knee patch that is a different color from the rest of their pants. This is intended to draw the judge's attention to the skier's expertise.