World's Top Moguls Skiers Compete for Title at Deer Valley

World's Top Moguls Skiers Compete for Title at Deer Valley

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News Specialist Shelley Osterloh reporting From a group of about 70 skiers, the field has been narrowed to just 32 men and women who hope to win the title of World Freestyle Moguls Champion.

The rules for moguls have changed. And some competitors are doing tricks that are tougher than ever.

When 1998 Olympic gold medalist Jonny Mosely tried to win gold again in 2002, he knew he had to do something no one had tried before: he created what he called the "dinner roll," a sort of somersault on his side. But judges questioned it because freestyle rules did not allow jumpers' feet to go above their heads on a jump.

Expect to see tricks even more difficult in the World Championships -- tricks even more difficult than those performed in the Olympics. The International Ski Federation has changed its rules on jumps and will now allow inverted jumps.

But those jumps have to be on the side, or off axis, as they call it.

"Now your feet are allowed to go higher than your head. The only thing you are not allowed to do is a straight-over back flip or a straight-over front flip. As long as you have twisting in the flip, it's going to be legal," says Luke Westerlund with the freestyle team.

Moguls skiers like World Cup leader Canadian Pierre-Alexandre Rousseau welcomes the changes.

"The rules of freestyle skiing need to change because the sport is growing so fast and we are stuck with the same rules for 20 years now," Rousseau says.

Still many athletes may choose to stick to tried and true moguls jumps so they can keep up speed on the bumps. Speed is 25 percent of their score.

"That's what people don't realize. They see these people doing these tricks at the park, but to do these tricks in the middle of a moguls course and still have to maintain your speed, it's a whole other ball game. It makes it like 20 times harder," Westerlund says.

"I can do all the tricks, but I'm holding off because I don't believe the judges are scoring them properly, so I'm just kind of making a stand and when they start scoring them properly I'll bring them back in," says freestyler Toby Dawson.

As top moguls skiers continue to push the sport, more rules are expected to change. And the best of the best compete for the title of World Champion on Friday starting at 10 a.m.

In addition to the single moguls competition tomorrow, there is a dual moguls competition on Saturday. That's when two skiers go head-to-head in an elimination round.

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