Many Readers May Remember Ski Ballet, The Graceful, Sometimes Amusing, Phenomenon From The 1980s.
by Jon Weisberg, originally published in Senior Skiing, September 26, 2017
Costumed performers on skis took skiing to new levels as they executed freestyle moves to a variety of musical themes.
It was the snow equivalent of free style figure skating with individual and pair performances.
Some observers saw ski ballet as liberation from the restricted forms imposed by European techniques, a natural outgrowth of the freewheeling youth movement of the 60s and 70s.
Shorter skis and smooth slopes were used. Occasionally, moguls played a role. When participants took air, it generally was close to the snow. In 1988, it was exhibited at the Canadian Winter Olympics in Calgary. It appeared again in ’92 in Albertville, France. But it never made it to a full Olympic event. FIS ended formal Ski Ballet competition after 2000.
Every now and then you may spot a rare bird linking ballet moves together on the hill. When I’ve encountered this endangered species, it’s been on gentle terrain. Terrain park acrobatics — another form of pushing limits on skis — are far more aggressive.
To me ski ballet represents a different, youthful and more innocent time. It is a historical curiosity that, like other things, from our past, may one day be rediscovered.