Ski Ballet Once Used to Be an Olympic Sport

Tyler McNally | March 8, 2016
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As we approach the summer, the 2016 Rio Summer Games begin to get more advertisement and the event gains more press for the conditions that athletes will have to compete in, so it's a good time to look back on one of the forgotten events that was a demonstration sport at the Olympics and to qualify as a medal-sport. 

Ski Ballet, competing exactly as the name states, was a competition that saw skiers take to the slopes to try their hand at combining various ballet-like skills and jumps while attached to normal skis.

Grantland, ESPN's long form website, published a piece in March 2015 describing the life and history of ski ballet within the context of the freestyle skiing revolution.

"In formal competitions, athletes skied down a smooth, gentle slope, combining jumps and flips and spins with complex edge work and sweeping choreography," writes Eva Holland.

Originally started in the counter-cultural years during and after the Vietnam War, ski ballet was a drastic shift from the previous idea of downhill skiing. Snowboarding and other spin-offs of skiing had yet to be invented and popularized, so ski ballet was a revolutionary idea.

Unfortunately, as a demonstration sport at the 1988 Calgary Winter Games, the concept of the sport did not catch on with audiences, and it was not seen in the Winter Games again. By the end of the century, ski ballet would be all but dead, with the 2000 FIS (Fédération Internationale de Ski) World Cup being the last time an event would be held.

h/t Reddit