Ski cross is a downhill race event where four skiers compete simultaneously to reach the end of a course first. Heavily inspired by the courses and obstacles seen in motocross, competitors navigate sharp turns, big jumps, and each other at high speeds in a race to the finish line. The intense demands of the jumps and drops on the course, combined with the nature of racing against three other skiers, results in an event sure to keep you on the edge of your seat (and the skiers on the brink of a crash).
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Ski cross at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games starts on Thursday February 17th and ends the next day with the Men’s finals on Friday February 18th.
The event was birthed unofficially in the 1970s in Alaska, and then officially in 1997 (at the first Winter X Games in Big Bear Lake, California). Ski cross was first introduced as an Olympic sport at Vancouver 2010. It was an event listed under Freestyle Skiing, where it has remained since.
Despite intentional contact with other racers being illegal in the sport, and something that results in immediate disqualification, cross-competitor crashes in races are common. These crashes (as well as the general nature of skiing down a steep mountain) mean that ski cross is one of the most dangerous sports at the Winter Olympic Games.
Ski cross underdogs have wiped out entire races, world champions have been airlifted to hospital, and skiers in the clear have seen gold medals slip through their gloves as they try to flex but end up breaking bones at the last jump. The thing with ski crossers is that they simply don’t fear any of this. Athletes regularly return from injuries / comas to the slopes, often performing even better than they did pre-crash.