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Five tricks that will win Olympic gold in women’s slopestyle skiing

Kaya Turski mixing it up on the rail section; photo courtesy of USSA
Kaya Turski of Canada, mixing it up on the rail section; photo courtesy of USSA

When freeskiing makes its Olympic debut on Tuesday, the sport is likely to blow the pants off of spectators with a raw display of athleticism, creativity, and that little bit of crazy that many of us have come to love over the years.

However, the discipline can also be overwhelming for new viewers. With so many spins and flips performed at high speeds, sometimes it's hard to latch onto what exactly is going on. So, starting with the women's slopestyle ski event taking place Tuesday, we decided to highlight five tricks for each discipline to keep your eye on, as they may be the tricks vaulting athletes to Olympic gold. Without further ado, here are five maneuvers to look out for in ladies' slope.

Rightside 900
How to: Starting forward, competitors spin two and a half rotations and land backward.
See it in Sochi: More and more skiers are incorporating this trick into their runs, but Norway's 18-year-old phenom Tiril Sjastad  Christiansen perfected the trick in the 2013 Winter X Games to steal gold from heavy favorite Kaya Turski and often follows it up with a switch 900.

Flatspin 540
How to: This trick is essentially an off-axis backflip combined with a half rotation that has a rider start forward and land backward. When done correctly, the trick is laid out and slow to accentuate the flip.
See it in Sochi: This is a signature trick for American Devin Logan. Logan is also a very technical rail slider, but the big rodeo 540 to end her run is the easiest way to distinguish the U.S.'s strongest slopestyle skier.

Switch 1080
How to: This trick involves taking off backward, spinning three full rotations, then sticking a blind landing backward.
See it in Sochi: Kaya Turski brought this trick to the table back in 2011 and rode it all the way to four X Games golds. Even three years later, she is one of the only ladies out there landing this trick in big comps, so look for it again as she tries to earn the first-ever slopestyle skiing gold medal.

Switch Cork 720
How to: Launching off the jump backward, skiers perform two off-axis spins before stomping a backward landing.
See it in Sochi: While other skiers are landing this trick, American Keri Herman has made the switch cork 720 a stock maneuver. Herman usually holds her grab longer than anyone else on this trick and almost always scores higher than anyone else throwing it.

Double Cork 1260
How to: This trick is the future of women's freeskiing: three and a half rotations and two flips off of a massive booter.
See it in Sochi: Lisa Zimmerman was a relatively unknown German freeskier when she landed this trick at Nine Queens in 2013 and flipped the sport on its head. The trick hasn't been landed in a big slopestyle competition as of yet, but after previewing Sochi's slope jumps, this may just be the venue for its debut.

Switch Bio 900
How to: This is a very rare trick in the women's field that requires a forward-leaning off-axis spin. Skiers complete two and a half rotations and land backward. This differs from a traditional corked spin because skiers lean forward off the jump rather than back.
See it in Sochi: Canada's Dara Howell may not get as much credit as countrywoman Turski, but her bio 900 at the X Games this year earned her a bronze medal and could score higher at the Olympics.

Women’s ski slopestyle qualifications begin at 10 a.m Tuesday, Sochi time. NBCOlympics.com provides viewing details.

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