Ski Cross competitors navigating a jump at the 2010 World Cup
|Highest governing body||International Ski Federation|
|Nickname(s)||Skier Cross, Skier-X|
|Team members||Single competitors|
Ski Cross (also known as Skiercross or Skier-X) is a type of skiing competition. It is based on the snowboarding discipline of Boardercross. Despite its being a timed racing event, it is often considered part of freestyle skiing because it incorporates terrain features traditionally found in freestyle.
In a time trial or qualification round, every competitor skis down the course, which is built to encompass both naturally occurring terrain and artificial features like jumps, rollers, or banks. After the time trial, the fastest 32 skiers (fastest 16 if not 32 competitors) compete in a knockout (KO)-style series in rounds of four. A group of four skiers start simultaneously and attempt to reach the end of the course. The first two to cross the finish line will advance to the next round. At the end, the final and semi-final rounds determine 1st to 4th and 5th to 8th places, respectively.
Competitors are not allowed to pull or push each other during the KO finals. Any intentional contact to the other competitors will be penalized by disqualification or exclusion from the next race.
The concept for Ski Cross originated from Jim "Too Tall" Essick of Recreational Sports Marketing. In the late 1980s, Jim came up with a concept that would make ski racing more exciting for spectators. Using a format similar to NASCAR and Motocross, Jim envisioned placing four skiers on a course simultaneously, letting them race head-to-head on courses that combined jumps and gates. Jim and his business partner, Diana Schulz, marketed the event as "Quattro Racing", trying to sell the concept to Audi as a promotional vehicle for the Audi Quattro. The concept was also pitched to Swatch Watch, who became interested in the format for snowboarding. That sport is now known as Boardercross.
The International Olympic Committee decided on November 28, 2006, to include Ski Cross in the programme of the 2010 Winter Olympics at Vancouver. Michael Schmid of Frutigen, Switzerland, raced to an Olympic gold medal in the Men's Ski Cross during the 2010 Winter Olympics in British Columbia, Canada. Ashleigh McIvor of Whistler, BC, won the Olympic gold medal in Women's Ski Cross on February 23, 2010, during the same Olympics.
The addition of ski cross as a freestyle discipline drew widespread criticism throughout the freestyle skiing community. Most freestyle skiers believe that Ski Cross should be considered an Alpine discipline rather than a Freestyle discipline. Ski Cross athletes almost exclusively come from alpine programs. Many countries do not include ski cross as part of their national freestyle team, and instead maintain entirely separate teams for traditional freestyle and ski cross.
More criticism was seen when ski cross was added as an Olympic discipline. Many people believed that the new freestyle discipline should have been half-pipe skiing – the reason for this being that half-pipe athletes were brought up in freestyle programs that have a long history with the sport.
On March 10, 2012, Canadian Nik Zoricic crashed hard through safety nets suffering severe head injuries in Grindelwald, Switzerland during a World Cup skiing event. He was pronounced dead at a hospital in Interlaken as a result of severe neurotrauma.
- Freestyle skiing at the 2010 Winter Olympics – Men's ski cross
- Freestyle skiing at the 2010 Winter Olympics – Women's ski cross
- Snowboard cross
- Ice cross
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ski Cross.|
- International Ski Federation Official Website
- AP Winter Games Video: Ralves, Puckett Debut Skicross at Games
- AP Winter Games Video, Sports Explainer: Ski Cross
- CanWest News Service: "Ski Cross glossary" - 2010 Winter Games
- Dunbar, Graham (March 10, 2012), Canada's Nik Zoricic dies after skicross crash, retrieved March 10, 2012