New To Ski

How Much Do Freestyle Skiers Earn? (5 Highest Paid Pros)

by Kenny Jarvis | Updated: October 27th, 2022
Freestyle Zurich

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How much money can you make as a freestyle skier? That’s what we’ll answer here. It often depends on your skill level and how often you compete but even if you’re just starting out, there’s still potential to make some money from your skills. Let’s find out more!

As with any sport, the amount a freestyle skier makes varies hugely. A top-level freestyle skier can earn around $100,000 per year with many earning a lot less. With fame and sponsorship, the highest-profile athletes can earn over a million per year but this is very rare. 

What Are The Factors That Go Into Earnings?

freestyle skis
Photo by Ruth Hartnup licensed under CC BY 2.0

Like every sport, a player earns money from participating and winning matches or coaching those who want to learn. However, the big money starts coming in from sponsors and advertisements.

The amount of money a freestyle skier makes varies. It depends on different factors such as:

  • The player’s talent
  • Matches played and won
  • Coaching
  • Sponsors 
  • Advertisement deals

A professional freestyle skier may make approximately $30,000 to $100,000 per year. To earn this you’d need to be around the level of an Olympic athlete.

Not many can reach this level of potential, and many turn away from freestyle skiing because they can’t gather the money to fund their equipment, training, traveling, and event participation. Others keep skiing for the sheer love of the sport. 

What Is Freestyle Skiing?

Freestyle Skiing 20
Photo by Lori Gillan licensed under Public Domain Mark 1.0

Freestyle skiing can be seen as a combination of two sports, ordinary skiing and acrobatic tricks. In this discipline, the focus is more on the points that you earn rather than the time that you complete a course. 

Types of Freestyle Skiing

  • Mogul skiing involves maneuvering bummy slopes and a single jump to perform tricks. 
  • Aerial skiing involves elaborate tricks and stunts.
  • Across skilling consists of skiing through a smooth slope and performing various stunts
  • Half-pipe skiing is one of the dangerous forms as athletes have to perform stunts while riding on a half-pipe wearing snow skis
  • Slopestyle skiing in which players avoid obstacles while performing tricks

Is Freestyle Skiing Popular?

Freestyle skiing is a popular sport among the young generation. This type of skiing became popular in the 1930s and freestyle skiing became internationally recognized in 1979. It wasn’t until 1992 that it became an Olympic medal event

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Many strive to become professionally recognized in this sport for fame and fortune. A skier can earn a lot of money in freestyle skiing by winning competitions, and getting corporate sponsorships and advertisement deals.

How Do Freestyle Skiers Make A Living?

Freestyle Skiings Aerial competition
Photo by 2015 Canada Games licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

It may come as a surprise but most freestyle skiers don’t make a lot of money. There are, however, others who can get rich from freestyle skiing. 

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Who are these athletes getting the big bucks? Think of them as the survivors who clawed their path to becoming pro athletes. They were lucky enough to reach the top of the mountain, to stand in the spotlight to attract sponsors.

Here is a breakdown of how much freestyle skiers make and in what ways they can earn a decent amount of money.

Entry Level Freestyle Skier

Snow Funpark
Photo by Bad Kleinkirchheim licensed under CC BY 2.0

Unfortunately, an entry-level skier does not make any money or get any benefits. They have no one to support them. They have to participate in and win local events to get famous before participating in large competitions or the Olympics. 

Entry-level skiers determined to rise to the top must put in a lot of effort to showcase their skills. Only a portion of their time is spent competing in different events. Skiers spend the rest of their time training.

Entry-level freestyle skier source of income

1. Local events

They need to learn how to ski, train, participate and win local competitions.

Pro Freestyle Skier

Freestyle Skiing Park Air
Photo by MIKI Yoshihito licensed under CC BY 2.0

There is no base salary for a freestyle skier, even for a professional. Not many athletes can make a living by just being dependent on skiing. For this reason, landing a huge sponsor and advertising deals are their main source of revenue.

If they can’t succeed as a pro, their passion for this sport is only short-lived.

1. Skiing Events

Skiers compete in different events from all over the world for a chance to win. Depending on the type of the event, winners are paid cash prizes and move on to the next competition. This increases their chances to earn more money and fame.

2. Sponsors

Sponsors may pay a retainer for a year but it won’t be much. However, the benefit of signing a contract with a sponsor is the all-paid travel expenses, fame, and some fortune, from appearing on TV and in magazines. 

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3. Advertising Deals

Getting an advertising deal is an immense source of side revenue for many pro athletes.

4. Olympic Gold Medal

Winning a gold medal at the Olympics is the major cash prize. However, the gold medal also greatly increases your chances of earning more with the above income streams. 

Retired Freestyle Skier

A few athletes become pros, and a minor percentage can last in the long run. It is a game in which you must always win to survive. Winning in competitions, pushing yourself, training, and breathing skiing.

There is no retirement package at the end of your career. You need to fend for yourself once the money for corporate sponsors stops rolling in.

An injury or a few bad seasons could be an early end of your career. Here are some ways retired freestyle skiers can make money.

1. Instructor

Getting a job as a freestyle skier and coaching future pro athletes is a great way to earn money.

2. Sport Degree

Having a sports degree is a good investment for the future. It will help develop a career in this sport and open up career opportunities. 

3. Advertising Deals

Professional and famous freestyle skiers may still earn money from advertising deals, but they must be somewhat involved in this sport.

Top 5 Highest Paid Freestyle Skiers

Ski Freestyle 6
Photo by Christian Lendl licensed under CC BY 2.0

Here is a list of the top 5 highest-paid freestyle skiers. Their per-year earnings are unknown but they earn millions thanks to corporate sponsorships and advertising deals.

Eileen Gu has recently shot to the top of the list due to her recent performance and marketability. The others on the list have had incredible careers and are regarded as some of the best freestyle skiers of all time. 

  1. Eileen Gu
  2. Simon Dumont
  3. Bobby Brown
  4. Tom Wallisch
  5. Kelly Sildaru

Final Thoughts

Freestyle skiers don’t earn much from skiing competitions, and there is no base salary. About 99 percent of pro skiers use their saved money or the money from their parents to fund their careers. 

Also, there is no retirement package. So, skiers need to make money in some other way to support themselves and their families.

It’s not the greatest sport if you want to get rich quickly but the greatest freestyle athletes can earn a lot of money.

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NewToSki.com is where over 1 million people a year come to learn more about skiing. I share everything I wish someone had told me when I was learning to ski. My name is Simon & I've been skiing since 2005. This winter, our family is taking a 3-month camper ski trip across the Alps. If you enjoy our articles, please join the free email club. We'd love to have you.
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