2018 Winter Olympics: Understanding freestyle skiing and snowboarding

Similar events with different ways to be judged and scored

Snowboarding was first introduced as a Winter Games sport at the 1998 games in Nagano, Japan. 

It's one of the very few sports to have been introduced without having first been a demonstration event. 

Primitive snowboarding was created by Sherman Poppen, a Michigan engineer, who wanted to make a new toy for his daughters to play with. Tom Sims, a champion skateboarder, improved on Poppen's invention, making a board much closer to the snowboards that we have today. Sims would later be the stuntman for Roger Moore in the 1985 James Bond movie "A View to a Kill" during a stunt in which Bond uses a makeshift snowboard repurposed from a helicopter skid.

Freestyle skiing and snowboarding for the 2018 Winter Games will share three out of five events, but contestants won't be competing against each other. Both sports will hold their events at the Bokwang Phoenix Park. 

Snowboarding -- Parallel giant slalom

Men's date: Feb. 23, 10 p.m.
Women's date: Feb. 23, 10 p.m.

Here's how it works:

Two snowboarders at a time race down parallel courses. Changing the rules from the last Winter Games, each head-to-head race will have only one run through the course. Whoever crosses the finish line first advances to the next round.

There are two finals for this event -- a big final and a small final. The big final determines who receives the gold and silver medals, and the winner of the small final receives the bronze medal.

Snowboarding -- Big air

Men's  date: Feb. 23, 8 p.m.
Women's date: Feb. 22, 7:30 p.m.

Here's how it works:

Big air includes riders performing tricks with one jump on the course.

Over the course of three runs, a rider needs to perform at least two different tricks. If a rider performs the same trick for each run, the highest score of the three will be the only score considered.

The two highest-scoring runs will be added together for the final score.

Six judges rate the runs on a score of 1-100. The four criteria on which the judges rate are: difficulty, execution, amplitude and the landing.

The three riders with the highest scores are awarded medals. 

Snowboarding -- Halfpipe

Men's date: Feb. 12, 8:30 p.m.
Women's date: Feb. 12, 8 p.m.

Here's how it works:

The halfpipe is a banked course with 22-foot tall walls. Riders run the course, executing tricks on the walls of the halfpipe.

In a change from last Winter Games, where there were two runs, this year's games will have each contestant performing three runs. The run with the highest score is the one that counts.

Each run is scored by six judges on a scale of 1-100. The highest and lowest scores are dropped, and the remaining four scores are averaged together for the final score. Judges score based on amplitude, difficulty, variety, execution and progression.

The three riders with the highest scores are awarded medals. 

Snowboarding -- Slopestyle

Men's date: Feb. 10, 8 p.m.
Women's date: Feb. 11, 8 p.m.

Here's how it works:

This course is built with a mix of jumps and rails on which riders can execute tricks.

Similar to halfpipe, each rider will participate in three runs, with the highest-scoring run counting, as opposed to the two runs, as in prior Winter Games.

Slopestyle is scored by nine judges. Three judges rate the run overall, and the remaining six judges are broken down into three groups of two. These groups set scores based on execution of tricks and their overall impression of the run. 

The three riders with the highest scores are awarded medals. 

Snowboarding -- Snowboard cross

Men's date: Feb. 14, 9 p.m.
Women's date: Feb. 15, 8 p.m.

Here's how it works:

Snowboard cross starts with individual runs through the course and the top times determine the seeding for the brackets.

In the first round, there are eight races with five riders. The top three riders from each race advance to the next round. The next round has four races with six riders, and the top three from each advance to the semifinals. The top three riders from each race in the semifinals advance to the finals, which determine the winners.

Freestyle skiing -- Aerials

Men's date: Feb. 17, 8 p.m.
Women's date: Feb. 15, 8 p.m.

Here's how it works:

Skiers will leap from large jumps to perform flips and tricks in the air. After two rounds of qualifying, the finals are played over three rounds with one jump per skier. 

In the first round of finals, 12 skiers are cut down to nine who advance. In the second round, the six top-scoring skiers advance to the super final. 

Scores do not carry over from each round and the three skiers with the highest scores are awarded medals.

The score is calculated by adding together scores for form, landing and how much air the skier achieves in their jump.

The highest and lowest scores are dropped and the remaining scores are added together and then multiplied by the level of difficulty of the trick on a scale of 1-5.

Freestyle skiing -- Halfpipe

Men's date: Feb. 22, 11:30 a.m.
Women's date: Feb. 20, 8:30 p.m.

Here's how it works:

Similar to snowboarding's halfpipe event, skiers run the same halfpipe course, executing tricks on the walls.

In a change from last Winter Games, where there were two runs, this year's games will have each contestant performing three runs. The run with the highest score is the one that counts.

Each run is scored by five judges on a scale of 1-100 and all five scores are averaged together for a final score. Judges score based on amplitude, difficulty, variety, execution and progression.

The three riders with the highest scores are awarded medals. 

Freestyle skiing -- Moguls

Men's date: Feb. 12, 9 p.m.
Women's date: Feb. 11, 9 p.m.

Here's how it works:

Skiers ride down a course covered in rounded bumps called moguls. Contestants are to make a jump with a trick twice during their run.

After qualifying, 20 skiers will complete one run, and the 12 highest-scoring skiers will advance. In the second round, the six highest-scoring skiers progress to the super finals. The top three athletes in the super finals will be awarded medals.

Five judges determine the score based on the tricks executed and two judges determine the score based on how much air the skiers achieve. Runs are timed and the speed at which the skier finished the course is added to the final score. 

Freestyle skiing -- Slopestyle 

Men's date: Feb. 18, 1:15 p.m.
Women's date: Feb. 17, 1 p.m.

Here's how it works:

Similar to snowboarding's slopestyle event, each rider will participate in three runs on a course built with a mix of jumps and rails on which riders can execute tricks. The highest-scoring run is the only one that counts toward the final score.

Scoring is done by a team of judges, including a head judge who supervises. If there are five judges, all scores are averaged together. If there are six judges, the top and bottom scores are removed and the remaining four are averaged together. 

All judges score based on overall impression, but consider other factors, such as the difficulty of the tricks, in determining the score.

The three riders with the highest scores are awarded medals. 

Freestyle skiing -- Ski Cross

Men's date: Feb. 21, 1:15 p.m.
Women's date: Feb. 23, 1:15 p.m.

Here's how it works:

Ski cross starts with a seeding round, in which each skier takes one run. Their times determine their seeding for the brackets. 

In the first official round, the 32 skiers are put into eight races of four skiers, with the top two from each race advancing to the next round. 

In the second round, four races of four skiers compete, with the top two from each race advancing to the semifinal. The finals are played with four racers -- the top two skiers from each race during the semifinals, and the the top three in the finals are awarded medals.

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