Aerialists ski off 2-4 meter jumps, usually built of wood, sometimes metal and then covered with snow, that propel them up to 6 metres in the air (which can be up to 20 metres above the landing height). Once in the air, professional aerialists perform multiple somersaults and twists before landing on a 34 to 39-degree inclined landing hill about 30 metres in length. The top male aerialists can currently perform triple back somersaults with up to four or five twists. The first ever 3x5twist performed on snow during competition was by Czech aerialist Ales Valenta in 2002 during WC in Whistler, CAN. Quadruple back somersaults have been performed on snow (purposely) by eleven men: Frank Bare, Matt Chojnaki, Elijah Cox, Eric Bergoust and Nicholas Fontaine. Currently quad somersaults are not legal in competition.
There are two varieties of aerial skiing competitions: upright and inverted. In upright aerials, movements in which a skier's feet come higher than his or her head are illegal. This is the most common type of aerials competition for junior competitors. In inverted aerials, skiers execute elaborate somersaults and twists. Aerial skiing is a judged sport, and competitors receive a score based on jump takeoff (20%), jump form (50%) and landing (30%). A degree of difficulty (DD) is then factored in for a total score. Skiers are judged on a cumulative score of two jumps. Aerialists train for their jumping maneuvers during the summer months by skiing on specially constructed Water Ramps for Freestyle Skiing & Snowboarding and landing in a large swimming pool. A water ramp consists of a wooden ramp covered with a special plastic mat that when lubricated with sprinklers allows an athlete to ski down the ramp towards a jump. The skier then skis off the wooden jump and lands safely in a large swimming pool. A burst of air is sent up from the bottom of the pool just before landing to break up the surface tension of the water, thus softening the impact of the landing. Skiers sometimes reinforce the skis that they use for water-ramping with 6mm of fiberglass.
Summer training also includes training on trampolines, diving boards, and other acrobatic or gymnastic training apparatuses.
Famous quotes containing the word aerial:
“Every year lays more earth upon us, which weighs us down from aerial regions, till we go under the earth at last.”
—E.T.A.W. (Ernst Theodor Amadeus Wilhelm)