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Alpine Skiing

Learn about this Winter Olympic sport

January 10, 2014
DOUG PENSINGER—GETTY IMAGES

 

If you enjoy being on the fast track, then alpine skiing is your sport. Alpine skiing sped into the Winter Games in 1936. There are five types of races in which male and female athletes can compete: downhill, slalom, giant slalom, super-G and super combined.

The Rules of the Game

The downhill event has the longest course and highest speeds. Each competitor makes a single run down a single course. On the other hand, the slalom features the shortest course, the quickest turns, and two runs down two different courses on the same slope. The giant slalom is similar to the slalom, but with a longer course and fewer and wider turns. This event also has two runs down two different courses on the same slope.

What's the super-G? It's short for super giant slalom. This event combines the speed of downhill with the precise turns of the giant slalom. Athletes make a single run down a single course. Finally, the super combined event features a shortened downhill run, followed by one slalom run. In all events, the skier with the fastest total time wins.

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