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Ski Ballet...

post #1 of 53
Thread Starter 

I attended the premiere of Level 1 Sunny last night here in Salt Lake. While waiting for the movie they kept showing tons of random clips with music. Over and over again they showed clips of what could only be described as SKI BALLET. For kicks and giggles today I decided to youtube ski ballet and see what I got...

 

Well here it is...

 

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/J-KV5yB-Ogw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

 

 

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/fvk4PpFORD4" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

 

 

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/-KCS2raOFFs" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

 

...And so on...

 

So now my question for the slightly older generation(I am only 22 and have only been skiing for a couple years). Was this legit? Did people actually get excited for this during the Olympics? Were these people respected? Dont get the wrong idea from me, I think its pretty cool/funny and I am sure it took a lot of talent. You just never hear about this anymore and I wanted to get some other peoples opinions on this.

Thanks!

post #2 of 53

Was never and Olympic sport. Watch "Hot Dog" if you can handle it.smile.gif  IMHO, ballet sucked, period. ( 'cept everyone like Suzy Chaffee in her  onesy.)

post #3 of 53
It was legit. Part of "freestyle". Freestyle was Ballet, aerials, and moguls. Don't recall it ever being that popular thou, other then a few of the tricks, guys would do here and there for fun. I thought it was in the Olympics, no?
post #4 of 53

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freestyle_skiing#Ski_ballet

 

No longer a part of competitive freestyle skiing, ski ballet (later renamed acroski) was a third freestyle discipline. Competitions were conducted from the late-1960s until the year 2000. Ballet involved a choreographed routine of flips, rolls, leg crossings, jumps, and spins performed on a smooth slope. After the mid-1970s the routine was performed to music for 90 seconds. A panel of judges scored the performance. It was a demonstration sport in the 1988 and 1992 Winter Olympics. The sport has significantly declined in popularity in recent years. The International Ski Federation ceased all formal competition of this sport after 2000.[3]

[edit]

post #5 of 53

I hated ballet.  But, had to do it to get better all around rankings.  It hurts like hell when you fall going slower.  You BOUNCE off the paced surface instead of skipping along like happens when you fall traveling faster.  The only time I was injured to serioulsy to compete was while practicing my ballet routine.hissyfit.gif

post #6 of 53
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post

I hated ballet.  But, had to do it to get better all around rankings.  It hurts like hell when you fall going slower.  You BOUNCE off the paced surface instead of skipping along like happens when you fall traveling faster.  The only time I was injured to serioulsy to compete was while practicing my ballet routine.hissyfit.gif


I love that you competed crgildart! Doing those frontflips and backflips over the ski poles is pretty legit! What were the poles made out of at the time? They had to be pretty strong to support somebodies weight.

post #7 of 53
AL poles. Very long.
post #8 of 53

It helps to have long poles but even these seem long for the day. Short skis not necessary though. This sequence is from 1938 by "continuous action camera"  at Bear Mountain N.Y.  The skiers name is Tom Clement, former captain of the Williams College Ski Team. Check out the bamboo flexing in 3 and 4.

 

 

 

 

post #9 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joal View Post

It helps to have long poles but even these seem long for the day. Short skis not necessary though. This sequence is from 1938 by "continuous action camera"  at Bear Mountain N.Y.  The skiers name is Tom Clement, former captain of the Williams College Ski Team. Check out the bamboo flexing in 3 and 4.

 

 

 

 

 

Thats pretty cool.  I love these old shots.  I used to love going into the 912 in Revy and looking at all the old ski photos in the front (not sure if they are still there).  All these guys just like this guy, in leather boots and wood skis, but they guys where hucking cliffs, and ripping DEEP pow.  Its funny, that so many people think "extreme" skiing started recently, it didnt.  These guys were WAY ahead of thier time...and the mad skills it would have taken to do it on that gear too!

post #10 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBiggestHuck View Post


I love that you competed crgildart! Doing those frontflips and backflips over the ski poles is pretty legit! What were the poles made out of at the time? They had to be pretty strong to support somebodies weight.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post

AL poles. Very long.


Yes, I was pretty small back in high school so I could get by with standard 54" poles for ballet.  A lot of people would cut a pair of poles about 12" above the baskets and jam another pole in to extend them wrapping it with tape.  Most of us used strapless grips like Scotts and cut off the top loop so we could have large knob like shaped pole tops.  Honestly, I wasn't in to ballet at all and just did the bare minimum to get the completed run points if I skied it at all.  Ya, the poles were quite the MacGyver project indeed hahaha

post #11 of 53

I loved doing the tricks but hated the artsy stuff that was expected between them.

It is like the floor exercises in gymnastics. I wish they would get rid of the artsy stuff and just do the amazing tumbling runs.

 

Were we respected? We got a lot more girls than the racers. 

post #12 of 53

That "artsy stuff" got me my points. wink.gif

 

 

German Championships early 80s.

post #13 of 53

Hmm, this guy looks a tad familiar...

 

 

Regardless, pretty smooth moves!  icon14.gif

post #14 of 53

what are the poles made out of i dont care if u duct tape them or not my 225pds would snap those in half
 

post #15 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevez33 View Post

what are the poles made out of i dont care if u duct tape them or not my 225pds would snap those in half
 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevez33 View Post

what are the poles made out of i dont care if u duct tape them or not my 225pds would snap those in half
 

 

Leki and Tomic make poles specifically for ballet skiing. The two companies gave them to us on the US Freestyle Ski team--I'm sure they weren't a high sales item. They were longer and stronger. I usually swapped out the grips with motocross grips since they were easy to change your hand position for flips versus axles and other maneuvers. I used to take 2 pairs to competitions since the odds were that someone might break or bend a pole that day. We used to put electrical or duct tape around the bottom of the pole just to protect a little against dinging up the bottom of the poles during an axle. 

 

On a side note, when I was at the SIA Snow Sports show in February, I stopped by the Leki booth. I just jokingly asked one of the guys where their latest line of ballet poles were. One of the guys knew exactly what I was talking about and told me a story about a guy ordering their last 400 pairs of poles. The buyer was Peter Judge, coach of the Canadian team. Another worker was listening (young kid) and asked what ballet was. He thought it was so neat and couldn't understand why it wasn't done now. Showed him some youtube videos and we thought it should be revived.

post #16 of 53

Saw an older gent at my local hill today totally rocking some ski ballet moves. Was actually pretty impressive and the dude was having a blast. I know ski ballet's not for everyone, but I'm honestly kind of surprised that it's pretty much a dead art. To me, it's a bit like figure skating with it's choreographed routines and all, but headed down the mountain. That's ballsy IMO. I know I couldn't do it. Props to all who have done it, and especially to those who still do.

post #17 of 53

There is a balleter at my local hill, which is pretty cool to see in Virginia. He's one of the better ones I've seen too. It sure is fun to watch, but definitely not my cup of tea to do.

post #18 of 53

To the original poster, yes, it is/was legit. (Otherwise I don't know what the heck I was doing for one of my events for a dozen years.)

 

Here's something I uploaded awhile ago. This shows the 80s/90s version of ballet.

 

 

It was a demonstration event in the 1988 Calgary and 1992 Albertville Olympics. Once it didn't get full medal status (as moguls and aerials did), it essentially died without FIS support. I still think you can see how it did play a role in the evolution of what slopestyle has become today.

 

Here is a playlist of the acro / ballet skiing runs that I could find on youtube:

 

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLTPpnzw9zjBShq56QPUmQA2Z7nzkQkc5X

post #19 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by jc-ski View Post

Hmm, this guy looks a tad familiar...

 

 

Regardless, pretty smooth moves!  icon14.gif

 

That is Cedric Grand.

post #20 of 53

Ah. I thought maybe it was Plake with his hair stuffed into the hat. Looked a little like him, but then some of those pole flips were pretty athletic. Dunno if he's still pulling stuff like that off at this stage of his career (or if he ever did).
 

Great stuff, regardless!

post #21 of 53
I can pull off a couple (3) of the simpler moves, don't know the names, just learned them way back in the 70's. I will pull a few moves on the easy hills while just easy skiing, great for balance training as well as dexterity. Don't think of it as ballet, but as moves that are great for your overall skiing. The original Olin Mark IV (orange ski seen in the above photo major ballet ski) was what, about 140 centimeters or some incredible short length for the time, I learned to do the manuevers on 204's in the late 70's. Harder to do but harder meant better training as far as I was concerned. Timberline was open in the summer and every year there was a guy there ripping off entire runs of ballet moves. Today on my 178's the moves are way easy, and fun. Anything you can do to improve balance is great for your skiing, as well as fine tuneing those survival movements that we often rely on to avoid a real wreck.
post #22 of 53

Quote:

Originally Posted by skejunky View Post
Don't think of it as ballet, but as moves that are great for your overall skiing. ... Anything you can do to improve balance is great for your skiing, as well as fine tuneing those survival movements that we often rely on to avoid a real wreck.

 

Amen to that! When I watch someone doing ballet I see incredible edge and body control, ergo, of  course, supreme balance. Every time I get out to ski I start with a few runs working on stuff, and am just getting to the point where I can link turns on one ski on very gentle slopes. Quickly drove home how making the transition from outside to inside ski takes commitment. It's certainly not ski ballet at this point - maybe pre-ballet. A few moves, like you, skejunky, would be a good next step. Perhaps you could describe what you do, and pass along any tips?

 

I did pick up a pair of old Hart 160cm skis for $8 at a salvage store a while back, and I hope to get out on them and try some stuff before end of the season...

 

post #23 of 53

140-150 cm work well.

 

For training for moguls, we used to ski on one ski--I don't think I would have ever been able to do that without having done ballet.

post #24 of 53

Mark,

Ballet was an Olympic Sport in the 92 & 94 Olympics. It was called Acro Ski. I agree it sucked with all all the dance stuff, but the guys doing the flips and twists pretty amazing. I used it to see it at Squaw Valley when i was growing up. In fact Jonny Mosley was pretty damn good at.

post #25 of 53

Speak of the Devil...

 

 

Another pretty good testimonial, I'd say!  icon14.gif

post #26 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarvingFool View Post

Mark,

Ballet was an Olympic Sport in the 92 & 94 Olympics. It was called Acro Ski. I agree it sucked with all all the dance stuff, but the guys doing the flips and twists pretty amazing. I used it to see it at Squaw Valley when i was growing up. In fact Jonny Mosley was pretty damn good at.

 

Unfortunately, the name "ballet skiing" turns off a lot of guys. That's why the push went to naming it Acro. I think the tumbling in men's gymnastics floor routines is amazing--never quite understood why they couldn't do it with music. With some high energy music, it would be even more amazing.

 

Lane Spina used to have the best runs--usually using music from the Beach Boys. At the Olympics he didn't use the Beach Boys, but his music definitely wasn't balletic. Take a look at the run from the Olympics--powerful music and fun at the end.

 

http://youtu.be/fG_nfFZWtVw?t=7m9s

 

Ian Edmondson used to do his run to Cat Scratch Fever.

post #27 of 53
I liked the Acrobatic part of freestyle skiing, it's when they set it to music like ice dancing that it got out of whack.
 
I didn't have any serious injuries from the acrobatics, I took a couple hard landings doing aerials, and a knee twist on mogeles.
 
I still ski very aggressively but not like I did when I was a kid.
 
This ski area no longer exist but this is the group I skied with, I'm the one with the RWB K2's :D
post #28 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Freestyle1975 View Post

I liked the Acrobatic part of freestyle skiing, it's when they set it to music like ice dancing that it got out of whack.
 
I didn't have any serious injuries from the acrobatics, I took a couple hard landings doing aerials, and a knee twist on mogeles.
 
I still ski very aggressively but not like I did when I was a kid.
 
This ski area no longer exist but this is the group I skied with, I'm the one with the RWB K2's :D

Hey, good to see another USSA Central Divsion freedogger!  My posse was about 5 years after you, at Buck Hill.  I do think i recognize a couple folks in that video that were aging out of under 18 as I was starting in Central.  Welcome to EpicSki and check out the Old School Freestyle thread..

post #29 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by jc-ski View Post

Hmm, this guy looks a tad familiar...

 

 

Regardless, pretty smooth moves!  icon14.gif


That video is good.

When ballet emphasizes athletic moves it really works.

Interesting to hear Mosely talk about his ballet background and how it helped his balance and moves.

Unfortunately, it got more than a bit off the rails as that 80's video above shows. Synthesizer music at it's worst, and excessive arm movements to fill space. I find similar fiiler issues in women's floor routines in gymnastics.

The problems aren't limited to ballet though.

 

Check out this clip. While the turns themselves are good, the rest of it is Exhibit A of "Why people went to snowboarding".

 

http://youtu.be/l0MJOq0OB20

post #30 of 53

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=A6JP-UOvnD4#!

 

Kinda fun, found it on Ted Ligety's blog

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