Giant slalom

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Giant slalom rider at a gate

The giant slalom ( usually referred to as giant slalom , RTL, in Austria ) is a discipline in alpine skiing and grass skiing . The gates to be bypassed are set in such a way that there is a constant change of direction. In contrast to the slalom , however, a fluid, gliding rhythm is still possible. A competition consists of two runs, the times of which are added together. Among the professional disciplines, the giant slalom is the one that most closely resembles the usual recreational and popular skiing.

Differences between slalom and giant slalom

Giant slalom drivers are faster than slalom drivers because a giant slalom course has fewer gates that are at a greater distance from one another than in slalom . This requires significantly fewer turns, which allows racers to accelerate more. However, the route is longer than in slalom, so that the best times of a run are 80 seconds. Giant slalom gates consist of a double pole that is connected to one another by a wide plastic strip, while slalom gates only consist of individual poles of the same color (blue or red). The first and last goal as well as combinations must be marked with a so-called outer goal in the same color.

In the slalom, the turns are significantly shorter, which means that the racers travel in a narrow and direct line. The racers come much closer to the bars, which is why they have to knock them away with their hands in order to keep the center of gravity as close as possible to the fall line . In contrast, in giant slalom the line is less direct and the gates are significantly further apart. As a result, the drivers come into less contact with the goals and, if necessary, push them away with their inner shoulder instead of with their hand.

While slaloms have always been driven in two rounds, this is basically the case with giant slalom only from the 1966 World Cup or the World Cup start in January 1967 (men) and from the 1977/78 racing season (women); In addition, both in the World Cup and at the World Championships and the Olympic Games in the early days of this new regulation (giant slalom runs with two runs, thus practically only applicable to men's races), these two runs were mostly held on two consecutive days. But the first giant slalom that was completed in this way and was considered an experiment suggested by the French was that on 28/29. January 1966 in Megève . There was a triple success for France with Jean-Claude Killy as the winner. This new regulation with two rounds took so much getting used to that even the print media used headings such as “First race”, “Second race” and “Overall classification” for the classifications, although the fact that the races took place on two days anyway (thus there was also a larger report to read from the first run), this choice of words was more understandable. - In the women’s World Cup, however, even before the general introduction with 2 rounds, there were three competitions with 2 rounds: 27th / 28th. January 1967 in Saint-Gervais-les-Bains , January 7, 1972 in Maribor and January 22, 1972 again in Saint-Gervais-les-Bains. In contrast, the men's giant slalom on March 19, 1967 in Vail was driven in just one round.

The starting order is identical for slalom and giant slalom, although the bibbo rule (named after its "inventor", the Swede Bibbo Nordenskjöld), was only applied in the second round from the beginning of the 1971/72 season is valid (with some modifications). Previously there were start groups from 1 to 15, from 16 to 30, from 31 to 45 etc. - and in the second round the actors started in their group in reverse order (so now from 15 to 1, from 30 to 16 etc. - so far an actor was not already eliminated due to a fall, other reason for abandonment or disqualification). It was not until the giant slalom of Val d'Isère (December 9, 1971, victory for Norwegian Erik Håker ) that the second round was handled for the first time based on the placement from the first run. Subsequently, there was a "super bibbo rule" for several racing seasons (the first five from the first run started in reverse order beforehand, then the others from rank 6 in the order of their placement from the first run). In the second half of the 1980s, the currently applicable additional restriction on the number of starters in the second run was introduced, according to which only the first thirty of the first run are allowed to start. Two groups are formed from them. The first fifteen of the first run start as the first group in inverse order (the best runner as fifteenth); then the remaining athletes as the second group in the order of their first run results.

Alpine skiing

Skis and goals

The skis used for giant slalom are longer and stiffer than slalom skis . The gates are built so that they bend flexibly when the driver touches them. They are also less firmly anchored in the snow than slalom goals. As a result, they offer less resistance when a racer drives into them and are swept away by him; this minimizes the risk of injury.

In order to increase safety, the World Federation FIS set the radius of the sidecut for giant slalom skis at 27 m (men) and 23 m (women) for the 2007/08 season . For the first time ever, minimum lengths for skis were introduced, 185 cm for men and 180 cm for women. However, the best skiers used less sidecut, Ted Ligety z. B. 29 m, and Lindsey Vonn 27 m. For the 2012/13 season, the FIS increased the sidecut radius to 35 m and the minimum length to 195 cm for men and to a 30 m radius and a minimum length of 188 cm for women. Many athletes criticized this decision. David Dodge is often quoted here. Dodge argues that the studies used by the FIS for the new regime are not scientific evidence. He also states that you only have to tilt a ski with a 35 m sidecut radius by 7 ° more to drive the same curve radius as a ski with a 28 m sidecut radius. However, this means that the knee comes to lie within the line between the ski edge and the center of gravity, which increases the risk of injury. He states that knee injuries have been decreasing since the 1990s.

For the 2017/18 season, the men's radius will be reduced to 30 m and the minimum length to 193 cm.

In the World Cup , the height difference of a giant slalom run for men is at least 250 and at most 450 meters; for women at least 250 and at most 400 meters. The gates must be at least four meters wide and no more than eight meters wide. The distance between the closer poles of two consecutive goals must not be less than ten meters.


1905 organized Mathias Zdarsky in Lilienfeld under the name betting driving a door travel, the course resembled a modern giant slalom. The goals were called driving marks ; in addition to speed, driving without falling was also rated. Independently of this, the Briton Arnold Lunn laid down the rules for downhill and slalom in the 1920s .

The FIS only introduced giant slalom in 1950 at the World Championships in Aspen as a fourth discipline alongside downhill, slalom and combined . The first gold medalists were Dagmar Rom and Zeno Colò . The most successful participants in title fights are Deborah Compagnoni with two Olympic victories and two world championship titles, Alberto Tomba with two Olympic victories and one world championship title and Ted Ligety with one Olympic victory and three world championship titles.

Since the introduction of the World Cup , the giant slalom has been an integral part of this racing series. Traditional venues for World Cup giant slaloms are Adelboden with the Chuenisbärgli , Alta Badia with the Gran Risa slope , Kranjska Gora with the Vitranc Cup and Maribor with the Golden Fox . Since 1999 , the World Cup seasons have opened every year at the end of October with giant slaloms for women and men on the Rettenbachferner near Sölden . The most successful athletes in the Giant Slalom World Cup are Vreni Schneider , who has won the discipline rankings four times and 20 individual races, and Ingemar Stenmark with seven overall wins and 46 races won.

Grass ski

A giant slalom has a height difference of at least 80 m, in World Cups and World Championships at least 100 m, for women a maximum of 150 m and 180 m for men. The number of changes in direction is about 11 to 15% of the height difference, for example 14 changes in direction for a 100 m height difference. The regulations for course setting are recorded by the FIS in the International Competition Rules. The same rules apply to the starting order as in the slalom .

Web links

Commons : Giant Slalom  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Giant Slalom  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Ted Ligety, Skiing's Most Outspoken Critic, Is Still the Best in the World , bleacher report, October 28, 2012.
  2. ^ A Letter To FIS , David Dodge, 2011.
  3.  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
  4. Update on Injury Trends in Alpine Skiing , Johnson, Etlinger, Shealy, Update on Injury Trends in Alpine Skiing, 2009.
  5. Accidents and injuries in alpine skiing ( memento of the original dated November 25, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF, 2.9 MB), David Schulz, Evaluation Center for Skiing Accidents, Safety in Skiing Foundation, 2011. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /