Ski Ballet: The Raddest Olympic Sport You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

Ski ballet athlete Alan Schoenberger is being inducted into the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame. We’d never heard of ski ballet, so we looked it up — and gee, are we glad we did.

Ski ballet is no longer an Olympic sport, but it definitely should be. As the name implies, it’s ballet … performed on skis. However, even that mental image doesn’t do this bizarre, awkward, and oddly beautiful sport justice.

Watching athletes like Alan Schoenberger perform it does, though.

Schoenberger is actually a huge figure in ski history. He is a technical ski technique author, inventor of the ski simulator, and a master alpine race coach. In his day, he’s coached over 400 athletes who’ve gone on to earn eight Olympic medals, three World Championships, five Overall World Cup Globes, and 19 World Cup Victories.

But, none of that is why Schoenberger was inducted into the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame. That achievement is the result of his dedication to the now-obscure sport of ski ballet. According to the Alf Engen Ski Museum’s website, between 1974 and 1976, Schoenberger finished first or second at 16 different international ballet skiing competitions.

The man clearly has talent. His pirouetting, twisting, flipping, spinning dance moves on skis are … well, unlike anything we’ve ever seen. Congrats, Alan!

Runtime: 26 minutes

Alan Schoenberger: Ski Ballet Master Inducted Into Hall of Fame

Here’s a bit more history on Schoenberger’s ski ballet career, and some more throwback footage of the sport.

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Will Brendza
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Will Brendza is a writer, journalist, and professional misfit based out of Boulder, Colorado. Will grew up on the Western Slope of the Rocky Mountains, reenacting "Survivorman" episodes and studying books like "Hatchet," "The Monkey Wrench Gang" and "Into the Wild". He's written on topics ranging from cannabis to local news, the environment and, of course, outdoor gear and adventure. If he's not banging stories out on his computer, you’ll probably find Will skiing or mountain biking (depending on the season)—or drinking beer at some remote craft brewery.

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