Every sport has it’s own terms and phrases that keep popping up…particularly aerials, with some of the tricks and manoeuvres having specific names and others derived from their constituent parts. Here’s the A to Z of all things you’re likely to hear on an aerial hill.
AERIALS: The sport of highflying somersaults and spectacular jumps performed on skis. ACROBATICS: you’ll see plenty of that. AIR: the amount of height a skier achieves from the jump.
BACK: BackFlip, Back Somersault or sometimes just landing on it! BACK-SLAP: Bad landing where the back bounces back onto the snow. But better than crashing.
CHOPPING: breaking up the snow in the landing. CURVE: Shape of the ramp or kicker. CRASH: They look worse than they usually are. COACHES: essential for any aerialist. They stand under the kickers and keep a watchful eye on conditions and competitors. CALL: Coaches often call instructions to their skiers during the jump.
DEGREE of DIFFICULTY (DD): the complexity of the skill performed. DEFINITION: completing each part of the trick with the correct timing. DOUBLE: two somersaults performed from the DOUBLE KICKER. DOUBLE FULL: two twists performed in one somersault. DOUBLE-IN: double twist in the first somersault. DOUBLE-OUT: double twist in the last somersault. DOGGER: an old school freestyler.
FLIP: somersault. FRONT-FLIP: a forward somersault, rarely seen in competition these days but sometimes makes an appearance in the landing hill. FULL: a single twist within one somersault. FULL-FULL: a double somersault with one complete twist in each. FULL-OUT: a full twist in the last somersault. FINALS: the last rounds of the competition after qualification. FORM: body shape in the air. Good form is straight legs, tight parallel skis, body in line.
G-FORCE: skiers are subjected to quite a few of those as they go through the kicker. GAPE: missing the correct takeoff and failing to do the intended jump.
HEIGHT: skiers get plenty of that with triple somersaults performed at around 50 feet in the air. HALF: Half a twist within one somersault, which means they need another half (or multiple thereof) in another somersault to land facing forwards. HALF-IN, HALF-OUT: half twist into one flip and a half twist out of another. HURRICANE: Quintuple twisting triple somersault as performed by Jeret (Speedy) Peterson (USA) for the silver medal in Vancouver 2010.
ICE: water added to the snow on the kickers so they are solid throughout training and competition. Ice is not something you want in the landing hill but it’s handy for soothing aches and pains.
JUMP: each skier needs to perform several different jumps as they progress through the rounds of the competition. JUDGES: score each performance out of a possible 10.
KICKER: the solid ramp that launches the skiers into the air, which come in three sizes; small/single, medium/double and large/triple kicker. KICK-ASS-BLASTER: The name once given to a Lay-Tuck-Full twisting triple somersault. KNOLL: The flat area that the kickers are built on before the start of the landing hill. You really don’t want to land on the knoll!
LANDING: it’s all about the landing! There’s no point in doing the hardest trick if you can’t land it and ski away. LANDING HILL: very steep at 37º ±1º to reduce impact. LAY or LAYOUT: A somersault in the straight position.
PIKE: Somersault with straight legs folded to the chest. PINE BOUGHS: chopped up and spread on the landing hill to aid visibility. PULL: The coach shouts this to get the aerialist the tuck their knees up more to speed up rotation.
QUALIFICATION: The first round of jumps that everyone takes part in to progress to the Final rounds. QUAD: Quadruple somersaults are not allowed in competition. QUAD TWIST: Does what it says on the tin, usually in a triple somersault. QUINT TWIST: the Holy Grail of five twists in a triple somersault. The hardest trick in the book…so far.
RUDI (Rudolph): a somersault with one and a half twists that was named after the first man to perform it on trampoline. RANDY (Randolph): as above with two and a half twists.
SLAPBACK: Landing on the tails of the skis and touching the back on the landing hill. Often a very brief instance. SLING or SLUNG: Falling back on takeoff resulting in an uncontrolled rotation. SCORE: The total of the judges marks multiplied by the degree of difficulty. STRETCH: Elongating the body to slow the rotation of the flip. The coach will shout this out.
TRIPLE: Three somersaults. TRIPLE FULL: Three twists in one somersault. TUCK: Somersault with the knees folded up to the chest.
WATER RAMP: Training facility to practice aerials into water during summer. WHITE OUT: poor visibility with bad light when the sky and the snow are the same colour. Not good for aerial events.