Olympic Trials event overview: Aerials

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The Olympic Trials are scheduled to air at 12:30 p.m. Saturday on NBC.

Schedule

Wednesday

8:30 a.m. Nordic combined trial jumps at Howelsen Hill

9 to 9: 30 a.m. Nordic combined competition jumps at Howelsen Hill

11:30 a.m. to noon Nordic combined 10-kilometer cross-country race at the rodeo grounds at Howelsen Hill

12:45 p.m. Moguls showcase at Voo Doo ski run at Steamboat Ski Area

1 to 1:45 p.m. Men’s and women’s moguls Run 1 at Voo Doo ski run at Steamboat Ski Area

2 to 2:45 p.m. Men’s and women’s moguls Run 2 at Voo Doo ski run

3:30 p.m. Final Awards for all events at Gondola Square, at Steamboat Ski Area

4 p.m. Concert — Big Head Todd & The Monsters, Gondola Square

■ Thursday

10 to 10:30 a.m. Aerials Run 1 at Voo Doo ski run at Steamboat Ski Area

10:40 to 11:10 a.m. Aerials Run 2 at Voo Doo ski run

11:30 a.m. Aerials awards at Voo Doo ski run

All events are free and open to the public

After being added to the 1994 Winter Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway, the sport of aerials has truly become one of the must-see events.

Skiers soar 50 feet in the air off of a jump made of snow, landing on a steep slope where the snow is chopped for a softer landing. Keys to a successful run are finding the right speed to take the jump. Once in the air, skiers perform flips and twists.

Judges score athletes on the quality of the takeoff, height, form and body position and how skiers maintain balance when they land.

In the Olympics, skiers compete in two rounds of qualification jumps, and the top 16 move on to the final round.

The skier with the best combined score from two finals jumps wins.

Currently, the highest scored trick is the Hurricane, performed by Jeret “Speedy” Peterson. It involves three flips and five twists. The second flip alone has three twists.

Athletes to watch:

Ryan St. Onge

The current world champion must be considered the favorite. St. Onge, who trained with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club and graduated from The Lowell Whiteman School in 2001, also won the 2009 U.S. Aerial Championships. All told, he has seven career World Cup wins, five U.S. titles and five Junior Worlds medals. He made the Olympic team in 2006 after winning the trials in Steamboat.

Jeret ‘Speedy’ Peterson

Peterson finished seventh at the 2006 Olympics and ninth in 2002. He’s a three-time U.S. aerials champion and has five World Cup wins. He won a World Cup in Lake Placid, N.Y., earlier this year. To date, he’s the only skier to land the Hurricane.

Scotty Bahrke

Bahrke competed in aerials, moguls and big air until deciding to focus on aerials in 2005. In 2007, he was the World Cup Rookie of the Year. He had four top-10 finishes in the 2008 season, but just two top-12s in 2009.

Dylan Ferguson

One of the youngest athletes, Ferguson is part of the next wave of aerialists. He made his first World Cup start in 2007 and finished seventh at the 2009 World Championships. He had his best World Cup result, an eighth-place finish, this season.

Emily Cook

The veteran skier and former gymnast picked up her first World Cup win in 2008. She qualified for the Olympics in 2002 but tore ligaments in both feet and broke bones in her left foot three weeks before the games. She fought back to make the 2006 team, where she finished 19th at the Olympics. In 2009, she’s had two World Cup podium finishes.

Jana Lindsey

Finished 16th at the 2006 Olympics and was the 2008 U.S. Aerials Champion. A former gymnast, she is having her best season. She finished fifth at the World Championships in Japan.

Lacy Schnoor

She finished seventh at the World Championships and third at the U.S. Championships. The gymnast was recruited to an aerial camp before the 2002 Olympics and made her first World Cup start in 2005.

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