Disappointed ski ballet isn’t at Sochi? We aren’t

ski ballet

Fabrice Becker of France won ski ballet at the 1992 Alberta Winter Olympics where it was a demonstration sport. Photo by Chris Cole/Allsport/Getty Images

Once upon a time, the Winter Olympics featured the sport of ski ballet, a freestyle skiing event that combined figure skating with cross-country skiing to produce a series of choreographed spins, flips, and jumps.

ski ballet

Annika Johansson of Sweden competes in ski ballet at 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France. Photo by Chris Cole/Allsport/Getty Images

Uh, yes, ski ballet. Remember that?

Later to be called acroski, it was a competition from the late 1960s until 2000, with its biggest acclaim being a demonstration sport at the Winter Olympics of 1988 in Calgary, Canada, and the Winter Olympics of 1992 in Albertville, France.

This is the same sport that brought us Suzy Chaffee, the former ski racer who became the face of ski ballet in the 1970s and was better known as Suzy Chapstick for her commercials endorsing the popular lip balm.

Oh where have you gone, ski ballet?

We think Bustle nailed where it's gone:

As you can imagine from the description, this sport probably became the butt of one too many jokes. But behind the cartoony glitz and glam, the ski ballerinas do exhibit legitimate skill. You try twirling in the air down a mountain synchronized along to music with skis attached to your feet. This is no simple feat and we are totally disappointed that the IOC decided not to continue the sport in the Olympics.

No simple feat, we'll give you that. But, sorry, we prefer aerials, moguls, slopestyle, ski cross, and halfpipe in our freestyle skiing lineup for the Winter Olympics.

For a taste of what’s missing in Sochi, however, we are happy to provide some footage of the great George Fuehrmeier of West Germany competing in ski ballet in Breckenridge, Colorado, in 1985 (with fluffy sleeves and all):


"It's as if ballet dancers were forced to wear skis on a bunny slope and said: No matter, I shall still dance,'" The Atlantic opined about the lost sport.

Our favorite reaction to ski ballet, however, comes courtesy of recently retired USA snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler. She watched the above video and summed up our thoughts beautifully in this Facebook post: "Oh wow … I just have no words here. I sense a new Will Ferrell movie coming soon with this #skiballet."

And if you just can't get enough, we bring you Suzy Chapstick with John Eaves, doing a “piste” de deux (track of two):


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