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How to watch freestyle skiing halfpipe at the Winter Olympics: A guide to understanding and appreciating the sport

What time is freestyle skiing halfpipe on at the Olympics? Plus all the rules, streaming information, listings and more you need.

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2018  Visa U.S. Freeskiing Grand Prix Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Not only did Team USA pull an unprecedented medal sweep of the men’s freeski slopestyle event during its 2014 Winter Olympics debut, but the Americans also pulled a gold medal sweep in the debut of freeski halfpipe. Winning the men’s final was U.S. skier David Wise, and Maddie Bowman took home gold for the women’s heat.

Both Wise and Bowman return to the 2018 Olympic Games in Pyeongchang and will try to defend their gold medals.

It’s not just the medalists returning from the 2014 team. Joining Wise on the men’s squad will be Torin Yater-Wallace and Aaron Blunck, along with Olympic rookie Alex Ferreira — although he’s an X Games medalist in his own right. All four are among the best in the world in the sport, and each one of them has a shot at winning gold — or silver, or bronze.

All four of the women competing for the United States in this event also competed in Sochi in 2014. Bowman will be joined by Brita Sigourney, Annalisa Drew, and Devin Logan — Logan competed in slopestyle at the last Olympic Games but received the discretionary spot for this year’s halfpipe competition.

What time and how can I watch?

Women’s final

  • Date: Feb. 19, 2018
  • Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
  • Location: Phoenix Snow Park, Pyeongchang, South Korea
  • TV: NBC
  • Streaming: NBC Sports | FuboTV

Men’s final

  • Date: Feb. 21, 2018
  • Time: 9:30 p.m. ET
  • Location: Phoenix Snow Park, Pyeongchang, South Korea
  • TV: NBC
  • Streaming: NBC Sports | FuboTV

Why should I quit my job and become a lifelong devotee of freeski halfpipe?

Like the other freeski and freestyle snowboard events, the halfpipe is another mesmerizing competition filled with high-flying action and the potential for big wipeouts. The runs include some of the most technically advanced tricks in the sport, and the athletes really try to outdo themselves each run.

What are the rules of freeski halfpipe?

Also known as the superpipe, the halfpipe is a U-shaped course with 22-foot walls. Skiers use both walls of the pipe to execute tricks and jumps as they make their way through the halfpipe. Each athlete will get two runs during the qualifying round and three runs in the final, with their top score counting in each. Judging is a bit subjective, but scores are supposed to reflect the overall impression of the run, including amplitude, difficulty, variety, execution, and progression.

What can I talk about to impress the freeski halfpipe enthusiast in my life?

Some trick terms to know are:

Alley-oop: When a skier rotates 180 degrees or more in the uphill direction. This increases the difficulty of a trick because the skier is spinning against their direction of travel.

Cork: An off-axis rotation. If a skier inverts twice, the trick becomes a double cork. A third invert makes it a triple cork, and so on.

Switch: Skiing backward. The skier’s back is pointed toward the bottom of the slope while the skier’s front is facing toward the top. Sometimes called “fakie.”

Whose jersey should I buy?

Wise. He is looking to defend his gold medal in Pyeongchang. Snowy conditions during his 2014 medal run forced Wise to slow down his planned run, but he still managed double-cork 1260s in both directions. He had a slow 2017 but is looking to best what he did during his last Winter Olympics performance.

What is the sport’s AMERICA RATING?

Team USA pretty much dominated the freeski halfpipe event during its debut in 2014, and while it claimed only gold — in both men’s and women’s finals — this year could push its dominance over the edge. The men’s team has a great chance to sweep all three medals in Pyeongchang, and the women should claim at least one. Freeski halfpipe earns four out of five bald eagles.

What’s the best GIF I can watch from freeski halfpipe?