Freestyle Skiing saw Halfpipe join the Olympic Programme for the first time at the Innsbruck 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games.
The friendly nature of the sport was underscored when Kai Mahler (SUI) won gold in a visually spectacular competition between some close friends at the men's halfpipe final on Sunday.
Mahler’s first run was a 67.25, but on his second run he stomped a huge double 12 in his first move atop the pipe, then carried his momentum to the finish for a gold medal score of 95.00 points.
He was followed by his close friends Lauri Kivari (FIN) who scored an even 90.00, and Aaron Blunck (USA) who took bronze with a score of 87.50.
Mahler, Kivari and Blunck were cheering each other on from the finish area, and said they are part of an elite group of young freestyle skiers who travel the world together competing.
Qualification - ResultsFinals - Results - Medallists
Tyrolean native Elisabeth Gram won Austria's first gold medal of the Winter Youth Olympic Games in the women's ski halfpipe final.
Gram, who revealed she took up freestyle skiing at the age of 11 as a way to help cope with the death of her mother, amassed 84.75 points to win the gold in front of a delighted crowd.
Norway's Tiril Sjaastad Christiansen, who skied with a cast on her right hand after breaking her thumb in training, still managed an impressive score of 79.25 to secure the silver medal.
Bronze went to Marine Tripier Mondancin (FRA), who skied with great skill and style, but lacked the sheer amplitude of the other medalists, and finished with 69.50.
Ski-Cross gold medalist Heider (AUT), and men’s gold medalist Niki Lehikoinen (FIN), won their disciplines after a ruling by the judges that the final would have to be cancelled due to adverse weather, and qualification runs would count as the final result.
Lehikoinen won his event with a time of 56.15 seconds. Silver went to Marzellus Renn (GER), whose run of 56.96 seconds saw him finish ahead of bronze-medalist Matty Herauf (CAN), who notched up a time of 57.34 seconds.
Men's Ski-Cross - Results - Medalists
Michaela Heider (AUT) did not know she would be competing at Innsbruck until she received a phone call on January 16, inviting her to take the place of injured teammate Michelle Buchholzer (AUT).
Heider had only raced ski-cross once before, in November 2011, but is now a gold medalist in the sport.
The Austrian was awarded the gold medal on the strength of her qualification run of 58.38 seconds, with the silver medal going to Veronika Camkova (CZE) with a time of 58.63s. Bronze went to Emilie Benz (SUI) in 58.82s.
Women's Ski-Cross - Results - Medalist