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Olympic Dreams In Kansas City: Freestyle Skiing

John Lemieux

Olympic Freestyle skiing is a form of skiing that encompasses many different disciplines, including: aerials, moguls and ski cross.

For aerials, competitors ski straight down a mountain toward jumps that hurls them into the air. In the moguls competition, skiers race down a mountain, navigating around large bumps and perform small aerial jumps throughout the course.

Ski Cross is similar but the ski course involves natural terrain as well as artificial features like jumps, rollers or banks.  

Where to go
Kansas City does not have the grand ski slopes necessary for performing any of these freestyle skiing events, however many professionals spend many training hours on trampolines or gymnastics.

Try out your jumps and twists at SkyZone Trampoline Park in Kansas City, Kan., or Mercury Gymnastics in Kansas City, Mo.

If you are ready to try out the real deal, head to Howelsen Ski Area in Steamboat Springs, Colo.

SkyZone Trampoline Park: $13/60 minutes
Howelsen lift ticket and terrain access: $10-$30
Freestyle skies: $800 to $1,000 a pair

What to wear:
Regular skiing equipment like a helmet, goggles and snow clothing will suffice, but a warm spandex suit may be better and limit interference with your skis.

You'll need skis made especially for freestyle skiing. Purchase and rental prices vary.

Skills/preparation needed:
Being a proficient skier and aerialist before you start out is an absolute must, but if you have experience in BMX or slope style biking, wakeboarding, motocross or gymnastics, you can actually pick it up much faster.

The injury rate among professional athletes in freestyle skiing is high. The knee is the most commonly injured body part. Head injuries and concussions are also common.

Who can help:
The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA)is the national governing body of Olympic skiing and snowboarding. The group's site includes information on coaches, events and clubs. 

Find our entire series on living the Olympic dream in Kansas City at kcur.org/olympicdreams.

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