A Guide to Alpine Racing Events

Slalom

 

A slalom race is a two run race with the best combined time from the two runs being the winner. Skiers alternate between red and blue turning gate and for a World Cup race there will be between 55 – 75 gates for men and 40 – 60 gates for women. Slalom has the shortest distance between turning gates of any alpine racing discipline. Women normally race on 155cm skis and men, 165cm.

 

Giant Slalom

Giant Slalom or GS as it is informally known is a step up in speed and distance from Slalom. It’s still a two run race and like slalom each the course will be reset after the first run. The vertical drop is longer than in slalom and with the additional distance between the turning gates

 

Super G

Super G (along with downhill) is regarded as a speed event. It was added to the World Cup programme in 1983 and became a Olympic medal event for the first time at the 1988 Winter Olympic Games in Calgary. A Super G race is a one run race against the clock. Like in slalom and giant slalom, athletes don’t get to practice on the course before the race, they get to inspect the course which involves side-slipping slowly down the slope. The speeds are higher than giant slalom but lower than downhill.

Downhill

Downhill racing is the fastest of all the disciplines, skiers can reach speeds of over 80mph. Skiers get training runs on the course in the days prior to a downhill race, the only alpine skiing discipline where this happens. Some of the more famous downhill races are iconic within the sport of ski racing. The Hahenkamm in Kitzbhuel is perhaps the most famous of them all!

 
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