News

Did You Know Ski Ballet Was Once an Olympic Sport?

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago back in the 1980s, ski ballet was a sport. At the Olympics. Yes, it's hard to fathom, but there was, in fact, an event, (technically a demonstration sport) at the 1988 Calgary Games and the 1992 Albertville Games, that entailed performing to music on a ski slop, with full skis and poles. One athlete even sported gold lamé sleeves on his ski suit. Although it was called "ski ballet," it's more like an eclectic celebration of ice skating meets gymnastics, with a ski base, and a dash of baton twirling.

The only question to be asked: Why is this still not a thing? Do yourself a favor, stop everything and watch these amazing highlights from this forgotten, yet wildly fantastic hybrid sport.

P.S. You're welcome.


Hermann Reitberger's Men's Ballet Final performance at Calgary in 1988 might be the most dramatic performance since Swan Lake. His mullet haircut is also quite impressive.


Here's a compilation that includes those gold lamé sleeves.


And finally, here are three women's performances from the 1992 games, including American Sharon Petzold's jazzy number to Fever.

Teacher Voices
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Technique
Nan Melville, courtesy Genn

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"Often when we tell dancers to go down, they physically push down, or think they have to plié more," she says. These are misconceptions that keep dancers from, among other things, jumping to their full potential.

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