Organized freestyle skiing in Canada took shape when a group headed by John Johnston founded the Canadian Freestyle Skiers Association (CFSA) in 1974. Shortly thereafter, the Canadian Ski Association adopted Freestyle as one of its member disciplines, and hired Johnston to administer and organize competitive freestyle programs for amateur skiers across the country.
In 1979, the International Ski Federation (FIS) officially accepted Freestyle as a member of the international skiing community, and the first FIS-sanctioned World Cup freestyle events were held. A new dimension was added in February 1986 with freestyle skiing holding its first-ever FIS World Championship in Tignes, France. They were held for a second time in 1989, and have been staged every two years since.
With the acceptance of moguls as an official Olympic medal sport for the 1992 Games, and the subsequent acceptance of aerials for the 1994 Olympics, freestyle has gained even more widespread attention and undergone phenomenal growth in Canada and abroad.
In 1995, Canada established its own national governing body: the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association. There are now over 50 active freestyle clubs within Canada.
Internationally, nearly thirty countries have developed active competitive programs. At the top of the scale, elite national teams participate each year on the FIS World Cup tour, which features events in Australia, North America, Japan, Scandinavia and western Europe.
Freestyle continues to evolve. Recently, FIS decided to incorporate ‘new style’ skiing events, such as quarter pipe, big air, slopestyle and skiercross, into their competition schedule. These events will comprise a Super Series this coming winter, which will be staged in parallel with the World Cup. The 2001 World Championships will also feature quarter pipe and big air demonstration events.
- A total of 23 World Cup medals were won by the Canadian team in 1999-2000.
- Nicolas Fontaine has won the overall World Cup title in Aerials for the last four World Cup seasons.
- Canada’s best World Championship medal count came in Nagano, Japan in 1997. Canadian’s won 7 of a possible 21 medals.
- Canada’s previous best World Championship medal count came in 1989 with 6 medals in Oberjoch, Germany.
- Canada’s Mike MacDonald was the lone Canadian to capture a medal at the 1999 World Championships in Meiringen, Switzerland. MacDonald won the silver medal in Acro, behind American veteran, Ian Edmondson.
- Canadians won 4 medals at the 1993 World Championships, with Gold for Moguls skier Jean-Luc Brassard, for Aerialist Phillipe Laroche and for Combined skier Katherina Kubenk. Bronwen Thomas won a bronze (moguls).
- Jean-Marc Rozon of Sherbrooke Quebec, one of the pioneers of world class Aerials, won gold when Freestyle was introduced as a demonstration sport at the 1988 Olympics in Calgary.
- One of Rozon’s students, Nicolas Fontaine, captured the silver medal at the 1992 Olympics behind victorious teammate, Phillipe Laroche. Aerials was still a demonstration sport.
- Jean-Luc Brassard was the 1994 Olympic Moguls champion.
- At the inaugural Goodwill Winter Games last season in Lake Placid, New York, Canadian athletes won 3 medals: Veronica Brenner (gold, women’s aerials), Pierre-Alexandre Rousseau (gold, men’s dual moguls) and Jean-Luc Brassard (silver, men’s moguls).
- Canada won the prestigious Nations Cup last season for the third time in four years. The trophy is awarded to the nation amassing the most World Cup points over the season.