Difference Between Big Air And Aerials

Love seeing aerial skiers but have no idea how they perform those incredible tricks? Not to worry, U.S. Ski & Snowboard is here!

Difference Between Big Air And Aerials

To help you get a handle on how everything in the sky works, we’ve put together this handy reference. Fasten your seatbelts; you’re ready for one hell of a journey!

Some History of Aerial Skiing:

Difference Between Big Air And Aerials

In the 1950s, Olympic alpine gold winner Steik Eriksen popularised aerial skiing as a form of freestyle skiing. In 1979, the International Ski Federation (FIS) officially acknowledged freestyle skiing as a sport. Tignes, France, played host to both the 1980 and 1986 Freestyle Skiing World Cups and the FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships.

The 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer marked the first Olympic competition of aerials. Aerial skiing is a form of extreme skiing in which the skier does acrobatic manoeuvres similar to those performed on a trampoline, in gymnastics, or when diving, twice as many times as they would during big air or slopestyle skiing.

The Place of Jumping:

We need to start by teaching you the lay of the land. The single, double, and triple trademark kickers are meticulously crafted to provide ample airtime for aerial skiers to perform tricks. While they all average six to eight feet in width and four feet in thickness at the top, kicker heights can vary widely. The height difference reflects the relative difficulty of the tricks that may be performed on the two platforms.

Aerial skiers can typically get two twists and one flip out of a single kicker that’s eight feet tall. The average aerial skier can complete four turns in the air after being launched 30 feet by a double kicker, which is 11.75 feet tall. When skiers use the 13.5-foot-tall triple kicker, they may soar 45 to 50 feet into the air, providing ample room for quintuple-twisted triple backflips.

These kickers require specialised equipment for shaping and upkeep. The Grizzly, a gadget with a 10-inch blade and handle, ensures a smooth, even jump. The name and design of this equipment are a nod to a similar tool used in Canada to remove ice off driveways.

Aerial skiers would have a considerably harder time launching themselves into the air without it. The cheese grater, which is essentially a snowblower made out of two by fours, is also used to run over the entire height of the jump. This smooths out the kicker and gets rid of any rough spots left by the grizzly. In addition, the smart level is an important tool.

This instrument displays the angle at which the level is positioned. High precision, down to the tenth of a degree, is available for use by course designers concerned with maintaining uniform kicker angles.

Insider Tips:

Now you know what kind of kicker aerial skiers must go off in order to pull off a trick as stunning as a triplefull, but do you know what a triplefull is? There’s no reason to panic; here’s a rundown of the most common aerial ski manoeuvres.

  • Full – one flip, one twist
  • Lay – one flip no twists
  • Tuck – one flip no twists
  • Half – one flip, half a twist
  • Rudy – one flip, one and a half twists
  • Randy – one flip, two and a half twists
  • Adolph – one flip, three and a half twists
  • Doublefull – one flip, two twists
  • Pike – folded over tall, tuck folded over bent
  • Triplefull – one flip, three twists