Alpine skiing

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Alpine skiing

In alpine ski races (short: alpine skiing ), the racers drive a course marked out by gates on a ski slope . Alpine skiing (also known as skiing or downhill skiing ) is an Olympic ski discipline alongside cross-country skiing , ski jumping , Nordic combined , freestyle skiing and snowboarding . The descents combine speed and perfect ski and body control with anticipatory skiing.

The evaluation is done by timing the run of the individual racer, during which all obstacles ( gates ) previously marked out by experts must be correctly passed from start to finish. Competitions are held in eight different competitions, which differ in terms of course setting, number and spacing of goals, length of the route, height difference and evaluation mode. Typical competitions are downhill , super-G , giant slalom , slalom and alpine combination .


Ski exist in some colder countries since about 10,000 years ago. For sports Alpine Skiing in the 19th century: In Oslo , a Norwegian championship was held in 1868. Alpine skiing became Olympic in the 20th century: an Alpine combination was held in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in 1936.

The first downhill skiing competitions took place in Central Europe in 1893. The 3.40 m long Norwegian skis used at the time were unsuitable for steep mountain descents; it was usually only possible to stop by falling seriously. Downhill runs with obstacles emerged around 1900 from tests that ski instructors held with their protégés in winter sports resorts in Alpine countries.

In 1911 the first alpine competition took place in the Swiss Kandahar area. The participants had to complete a 3 mile glacier run and then drive 14.28 km downhill, whereby it had to be proven that they mastered the turns (Christiania or Christies) they had learned.

At the first Olympic Winter Games in 1924 there were only 5 sports, which included ski jumping and Nordic combined, but no downhill runs yet. In 1930 the first world championships took place in Mürren / Switzerland , but they were not generally recognized. The first international championships were held at the same location in 1931, in which women also took part. The name was given to Alpine skiing because most of the sports clubs were established in the Alps and there were most of the constant downhill slopes.

After downhill skiing had been demonstrated at the 1932 Winter Olympics , the International Ski Federation (FIS) recognized the Alpine 1936 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen as an Olympic sport . First, the Alpine Combination came into the program; In 1940 and 1944 the event was canceled due to the Second World War. Afterwards there were Alpine competitions again in St. Moritz in 1948 , now also individual competitions.

After the Second World War, those interested in the mountains of Austria and Switzerland prepared the first alpine ski areas especially for skiing.

The rapid development of athletics and equipment meant that Super G found its way into World Cup competitions in 1982 and the Winter Olympics in 1988. Downhill skiing became more and more popular with the construction of ski lifts, not only among competitive athletes, but also among amateurs and winter tourists.

From the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville , the races became a regular part of the world competitions and take place every four years in different locations. There are no separate world championships in an Olympic year, the Olympic champions are also world champions in this winter season. If separate world champions are shown in the tables anyway, this is due to the fact that new disciplines have undergone a corresponding development before they are accepted into the Olympic program .

Participants in international competitions can be all athletes who achieve the specified qualification times in competitions marked by the FIS.


There are eight alpine competitions recognized by the International Ski Federation (FIS). The definition of disciplines and competitions in alpine ski racing is inhomogeneous. According to the FIS, a discipline is a branch of a sport and can include one or more competitions. For example, Alpine skiing is considered a discipline while Alpine Combination is considered a competition.

If there was no fall on the slope, the athletes' start interval was 60 seconds; the timekeeping is fully electronic and allows accuracies of 1/100 seconds. The FIS Congress decided on an important change to the start intervals on 18/19. May 1979 in Nice : they can now be extended up to 120 seconds. This was adapted in the interest of TV recordings.


The descent, known exactly as a special descent, is considered by many to be the supreme discipline of alpine skiing, as it not only includes challenging curves, jumps and gliding phases, but also has very high speeds of up to 150 km / h and therefore, in addition to sophisticated technology, also courage and a lot of effort required from the runners. The descent has the longest route of all competitions and is the second oldest alpine ski competition after the slalom. One to three training runs take place before a race so that the drivers can memorize the route precisely. In a downhill competition, in contrast to the slalom disciplines, all skiers complete only one run. The runner with the fastest time is the winner.

Before the actual start, every athlete must complete a fall-free training run. The builders of these routes plan a minimum amount of difficulty such as three long jumps, compressions, or the like.

Super G

The name Super-G stands for Super Giant Slalom , i.e. super giant slalom. The Super-G was added to the World Cup calendar as a competition in 1982 and is the second fastest competition in alpine skiing after downhill. The route at Super-G is shorter than at the descent, but technically more demanding, as there are more directional gates that are also narrower. Together with the downhill, the Super-G is one of the so-called “speed competitions”, which above all require strength, endurance and courage from the athletes. As with the descent, a running time determines the result.

Giant slalom

The giant slalom ( Giant Slalom (GS)) is also known as the giant slalom (RTL). The gates to be bypassed are set in such a way that there are constant changes of direction. Since a giant slalom course has fewer gates than a slalom and these are also at a greater distance from one another, significantly fewer turns are required, which means that the racers can reach higher speeds. Together with the slalom, the giant slalom is one of the so-called technical competitions. In the giant slalom, two different runs with different courses are completed on the same slope. However, there can be different routes, according to which only the start and finish are in the same place, but the first run could be held on the right side of the slope, the second on the left (or vice versa). This depends on the size of the slope (sometimes also just on the given snow conditions). Both runs take place on the same day. The two runtimes are added together, the fastest overall time means victory.


The slalom, also known as the slalom run, is the oldest competition in alpine skiing and is primarily referred to as the most technically demanding competition. Slalom courses have very short distances between the gates, which require extremely quick changes of direction. The line of travel of the skis goes very close to the poles, which is why the poles are tipped away with the hands or legs in order to keep the center of gravity as close as possible to the fall line. In slalom competitions, as in giant slalom, two different runs are completed on the same slope and the times of both runs are added. Various slalom slopes allow very different routes for both runs, e.g. B. Wengen or Kitzbühel, where the topography of the two runs can be very different (start and finish are, however, in the same place). The racer with the lowest total time wins.

Combination competitions

There are various combination competitions, the super combination , the classic alpine combination and special forms. Separate partial competitions are carried out for super combination competitions. In super combination competitions, in contrast to classic alpine combination scores from independent individual competitions, only the overall result from two runs counts. Triple and quadruple competitions are special forms of combination competitions. The way in which combined competitions are carried out has changed significantly over the course of time and often causes controversy between the representatives of the FIS and the national associations. The super combination is a new variant of the earlier alpine combination and consists of just one slalom run and a shortened descent or a super G run. Both runs are carried out on the same day within the shortest possible time interval. In 2005, the first super combination was held as a World Cup competition. In 2007, at the Alpine World Ski Championships in Åre , the super combination was first carried out at a major event. The classic alpine combination has been removed from the program.

Parallel competitions

In parallel competitions, two courses, which are as identical as possible, are set next to each other and are always used by two runners at the same time. As a rule, runners complete each of the two courses to level out any terrain inequalities. Parallel competitions are mostly held in the knockout system . The runner with the fastest time from both runs will advance one lap. The parallel races are mostly carried out as a further set slalom, sometimes as a giant slalom. Parallel competitions were initially held in so-called “professional races”, a spin-off from the FIS World Cup. In 1975 the first parallel slalom in the World Cup was held at the season finale in Val Gardena. From 1998 to 2010 there were no parallel races on the World Cup calendar. The parallel race has been an integral part of the World Cup as a city ​​event since 2011 . At the World Championships in Cortina d'Ampezzo 2021, parallel races will be held as individual disciplines for the first time.

Knockout competitions

In knockout competitions, there is initially a qualification run on a first course. The 30-person field for the next round is based on the times. Then there will be a first run with duels "16th place against 15th place" to "30th place against 1st place" on a second course. The 18-man field of the next round results from the 15 duels and 3 lucky losers . Then there will be a second run with duels “10th place against 9th place” to “18th place against 1st place” on a third course. The 9-person field of the next round results from the 9 duels. Finally, the final run takes place on the third course. The final result is based on the times of the last two laps.

Team competitions

There are different variants of the team competition. The team competition at professional level was held from 2005 to 2009 in the combined team event mode (super-G and slalom) and has been held in the Alpine team event mode (parallel giant slalom) since 2010 .


The FIS distinguishes between six types of events:

Olympic Games, World Championship and Junior World Championship

The highest category includes the major events of the Olympic Games, World Championships and Junior World Championships.

Alpine skiing was held for the first time at the Olympic Games in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in 1936 . In 1940 and 1944 the event was canceled due to the Second World War. Between St. Moritz 1948 and Albertville 1992 , the event was held every four years at different locations. Since Lillehammer 1994 , where the Olympic Games were held again after two years, the event has been held again in this cycle.

The world championship was initially held every year between Mürren 1931 and Zakopane 1939 in different locations. Between 1940 and 1947 the World Cup was canceled due to the Second World War. Between St. Moritz 1948 and Schladming 1982 , the World Cup was held every two years, with the alpine skiing competitions alternating between the Olympic Games or independent competitions. Since Bormio 1985 , where a world championship was held only three years later, the world championship has been held again in this cycle, with independent competitions being held since then. In 1995 the World Cup was canceled due to lack of snow and was only held in Sierra Nevada in 1996 .

The Junior World Championship has been held every year at different locations since Auron 1982 .

World cup

The World Cup is the highest racing series and is held in the northern hemisphere during the winter months.

Continental Cups

Continental Cups are racing series below the World Cup and are held on the respective continent in the winter half-year.

In addition to the European Cup, there is the Nor-Am Cup and the Far East Cup as well as the South American Cup and the Australia New Zealand Cup .

International competitions

International competitions are races outside of the World Cup and outside of Continental Cups.

They are often referred to as FIS races .

Competitions with special admission regulations and / or qualifications

Competitions with special admission requirements and / or qualifications are regulated in Article 201.1 of the International Competition Rules.

Competitions with non-members of the FIS

Competitions with non-members of the FIS are regulated in Article 201.2 of the International Competition Rules.

Organization of ski races


The organization and implementation of ski races that are listed in the FIS calendar are subject to the International Competition Rules (IWO). Competitors with a valid FIS license registered by the national ski associations are entitled to participate in the competitions advertised in the FIS calendar within the framework of the currently valid quotas. These competitions must be monitored by a FIS Technical Delegate.

In addition to ski races for racers with FIS licenses, ski races for amateur athletes are also held in many ski areas, the procedure and regulations mostly being based on the basic rules of the FIS. These public races, often also called hobby or guest races, are mostly simply slalom runs with a shorter distance and a slight slope.


The downhill slopes were not specially prepared at the beginning of alpine skiing, after the Second World War they were rolled or trodden down. - Since about 1990 they are separately covered with ice . In the 21st century, the route is measured with centimeter accuracy using GPS , and the curve radii are calculated using a computer (year 2001). From the winter of 2001, the organizers sprinkled colored powder on the snow to additionally mark the curves around the gates. Since around 2000, some of the slopes have been named after internationally renowned alpine skiers.

Alpine ski racing tracks on which competitions recognized by the FIS are held (e.g. the tracks for World Cups ) must be approved ( homologated ) by the FIS and meet precisely defined standards of preparation and safety for the respective competition. Compliance with these standards is monitored by the race jury under the leadership of the race director and the FIS technical delegate.

The important safety precautions include fall areas secured by safety nets and upholstery and a course setting that is adapted to the circumstances. The preparation of the racing slopes is carried out with a view to offering almost the same conditions for all participants. For this reason, emphasis is placed on a snow cover that is as compact and uniform as possible, which is achieved using physical and chemical preparation methods.

In some ski areas (e.g. France, La Plagne area), state-of-the-art equipment is used to monitor the quality of the downhill slopes. The GeoStation system , originally developed to monitor road conditions, combines 3-D aerial photographs (which have been compiled into a digitized cartographic database) with GPS and thus provides constantly updated comprehensive information on the condition of the runway surfaces, including topography, difficulties, vegetation and recommendations for State maintenance.

Some particularly long and steep slopes with many chicanes are now well known internationally, including:

The gate poles are special standardized constructions (tilt poles) that offer as little resistance as possible in the event of body contact.

Technology and material

In terms of technique, a distinction is made in particular between various turns in alpine skiing .

The material includes the skis , the ski bindings and the ski boots .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Alpine skiing. In: IOC, accessed September 25, 2019 .
  2. Schladming stood out from Valtellina - last paragraph . In: Arbeiter-Zeitung . Vienna May 20, 1979, p. 12 ( - the open online archive - digitized).
  3. Ski World Championship News - 2 new World Championship races instead of combination-offs. February 13, 2019, accessed February 13, 2019 .
  4. ^ Book IV - Joint Regulations for Alpine Skiing. In: International Competition Rules. FIS, July 2018, accessed February 18, 2019 .
  5. ^ The International Ski Competition Rules (ICR). (PDF; 2.2 MB) Book IV - Joint Regulations for Alpine Skiing. In: Fédération Internationale de Ski, July 2018, pp. 1–2 , accessed on March 25, 2019 (English).
  6. ^ Chip magazine , 2002 / Sept.
  7. Homepage , accessed on August 22, 2019.