Mogul skiing of yore, the heroes and the history.
The history of mogul skiing can’t be told without starting with the history of freestyle skiing in general. One could say that the freestyle of today came from the hotdoggers of yesterday. There are records that indicate that Austria, Italy, and Norway had intrepid skiers attempting aerial tricks around the turn of the last century. While these mid-air somersaults were a never ending source of adrenaline and fascination to the skiers who performed them, the sport was seen as incredibly dangerous for the general public. However this hotdogging couldn’t help but gain notice. Those who played with this new and creative form of skiing persisted in pushing the constraints of gravity.
Acro was the first actual freestyle event. It was invented in the thirties and is also known under the more poetic name “ski ballet”. The aerial feats of the hot-doggers remained but were combined with moves from gymnastics and figure skating. In a way similar to that of figure skating, acro mixed sport with performance. The skiing took place on a gentle slope, set to music, and with jumps, spins, and other acrobatic tricks. This precursor is no longer in competition today, but the sport’s freestyle brethren continue on.
The fifties saw the further development of aerial skiing with Olympian Stein Eriksen putting his considerable skill to the task.This form is still a very popular part of the Winter Olympics due to the technical skill and captivating exploits of the athletes. The jumps are similar to mogul’s and aerialists have been known to hit speeds in excess of 30 miles an hour. Aerial skiing could be considered the older sibling to mogul. Shortly after the development of aerial skiing became a focus. Mogul developed as a way to make use of all the drifts being created by skiers. The sixties saw the rising popularity of freestyle skiing and in 1971 mogul was seen in competition for the first time.
The popularity of this incredible sport and its freestyle brethren skyrocketed. In 1980 the International Ski Federation recognized freestyle skiing as a whole and a World Cup competition began that same year. World Championships followed six years later. The 1988 Calgary Olympics saw freestyle skiing, which included mogul skiing and aerial skiing, as an exhibition event. In 1992 mogul skiers finally had the opportunity to vie for Olympic medals along with the other freestylers. Mogul skiing had finally arrived and continues strong to this day.