Q&A: Freeskiing judging explained

Winter Sports

MT. HOOD, Ore. (KOIN) — Hey, guys, we are up here at timberline lodge at beautiful Mt. Hood and freeskiing is quickly becoming one of the biggest reasons people tune in to this year’s Winter Olympics.

So we decided, since the sport moves so fast and is so gnarly we brought in an expert – Jason Arens of Windell’s Academy, and he’s going to take us through. He’s actually been a judge for some of the Olympic qualifiers that have gotten the people who you’re seeing right now in South Korea, to so South Korea.

So he’s going to break down for us what the judges are looking for when they watch these Olympians do their runs. 

Our AJ McCord sat down with Jason Arens from Windells Academy, a freeskiing judge, to explain the judging process. (KOIN) 

So Jason how long have you been judging freeskiing?

I guess about five or six years now.

As a judge what are you looking for overall in a run?

So we actually, freeskiing is one of the only sports that’s judged on an overall impression criteria um so it’s broken down into five elements being progression, amplitude, variety, execution and difficulty.

So compared to what we saw in Sochi compared to what we’re seeing people throw in South Korea, how far has the sport progressed for a sport that’s only in it’s second Olympics?

Yeah, overall the sport is growing like crazy and progressing at a rate that I feel like not many can keep up with.

It’s going to be perfection and execution and them just doing everything that we never thought was possible at the last Olympics and if the weather’s good that day it could probably progress the sport two solid years in that day of competition.

Our AJ McCord sat down with Jason Arens from Windells Academy, a freeskiing judge, to explain the judging process. (KOIN) 

So now we’re going to have you move into actually having you break down some of these things in slow motion. So what are you looking for?

So you can pause it there if you want even, so that’s a double cork 1080. That’s right up there with like the technicality that we’ll be seeing in the Olympics, a lot of double corks, a lot of 1080 rotations which is three full spins around, a lot of 1440s, being four spins um and really what we’re looking for in this is the execution of the trick, the difficulty of the trick, obviously it’s a double cork 1080 that’s a very technical trick the grab that he’s getting is a tail grab um so that specific grab in this trick is really really difficult so that would score really well in a contest.

So the tail grab, does it matter how long he holds that grab?

Totally yes, so all these things, kind of with the overall impression so what’s really, we’re not looking for in aerials or moguls when it’s kind of based on form and it’s, did you achieve a form in the air and is that form what you’re going for? For us it’s more about kind of keeping the style in it and doing things that are a little bit unique but how you’re doing them in a way that sets yourself apart from everybody else so grabbing tail on a trick of this difficulty is really really difficult because it’s shifting your body weight, you’re reaching back, you’re holding onto a part of your ski that’s not directly under your foot so we’re kind of factoring all of the above into the equation

So slopestyle is pretty unique because it’s not just jumps it’s not just rails, so how do you kind of blend the two as a judge?

The Olympic course especially is very very rail heavy so there’s three main rail plazas going into three main jumps so you’ll see the riders that are actually scoring really well in the Olympics um doing equally as well in the rail portion of the course as the jumps.

So you want to see them jumping on with spins and jumping off with spins.

Yeah exactly so the vast majority of the tricks, it’s all about creativity through the rails because through the rails there’s so many options that people will have to approach them in a creative way which can be factored into the judging more so than the jump creativity.

So Jason thank you so much for coming out and explaining one of the fastest growing Olympic sports to us now all of you guys at home for your Olympic watch parties are well equipped with the lingo of corks and rodeos and 1440s and mistys all of the above and if you want to come out and try it yourself Windells does so camps through the summer you can sign up with them to come out learn more about it or even give it a try if you are brave enough – I for one am going to leave it to the pros and i am grateful that you came out and spent some time with us to explain it so thank you so much for doing that – for game on I’m AJ McCord I’ll send it back to you guys.

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