Olympic History: Freestyle skiing is a newer discipline within the sport of skiing. It has roots in Scandinavia, similar to all skiing disciplines, but its primary development occurred in North America. In the 1930s Norwegian skiiers used ski acrobatics in training for cross-country and alpine competitions. It was considered an acceptable part of training but not a true competitive sport.
In the United States, freestyle skiing developed as a part of professional ski exhibitions early in the 20th century. Standardized competitions began in the 1960s with the first freestyle skiing event taking place in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire in 1966. The first professional competitions were held in 1971 and the World Cup freestyle tour began in 1980. In 1979, the Fédération Internationale de Ski (FIS) recognized freestyle skiing as an amateur sport. The first World Championships were contested in 1986 in Tignes, France.
There are multiple different events in freestyle skiing – moguls, aeriels, halfpipe, slopestyle, and skiier-cross. A combined event has also been contested at the World Championships, and ballet (later called Acroski) used to be a popular freestyle event, but less so in the 2010s. Freestyle skiing was contested as a demonstration sport at the 1988 Olympic Winter Games, with competition for men and women in moguls, aeriels, and ballet. Freestyle became an Olympic medal sport beginning in 1992 at Albertville. The only event at Albertville was moguls, but aeriels were added in 1994. In 2010 a new event was added, termed skiier-cross, similar to the boardercross event in snowboarding. In 2014 at Sochi, halfpipe and slopestyle events will be added to the Olympic Program.
As of November 2013, there are 120 member nations affiliated to the FIS. This makes it the largest International Sporting Federation for any winter sport. The FIS governs what it terms six disciplines of skiing – alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, ski jumping, Nordic combined, freestyle skiing, and snowboarding. Cross-country, ski jumping, and Nordic combined are often termed one sport of Nordic skiing.
The 120 member nations of FIS are as follows: Albania, Algeria, American Samoa, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Bermuda, Bolivia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Cayman Islands, Chile, China, Chinese Taipei, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, DPR Korea (North), Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Great Britain, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Korea, Kosovo, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malta, Marocco, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Palestine, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Senegal, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Trinidad & Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, United States of America, Uruguay, US Virgin Islands, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe.