Alpine ski racing is a fast-paced, exciting sport that is one of the most popular events of the Winter Olympics. But you don’t have to wait every four years for racing thrills. There are racing events every winter for ski enthusiasts to enjoy. Ski racing, however, is not simply a matter of getting to the bottom of the mountain as quickly as possible. There are several different kinds of races for both men and women. The only difference between the men’s and women’s races is the length of the courses. Otherwise everything in the following races is the same for all competitors.
The downhill race is generally regarded as the most exciting of all the alpine ski races. It produces the highest speeds and is longer than the others. Furthermore, while other events combine a skier’s time over two or three runs, downhill races only use one time for each skier. That means an athlete only has one chance to get it right. And, unlike some of the other races, the downhill races don’t have any gates for skiers to maneuver around, allowing them to race down the mountain at breakneck speeds. Each skier goes down individually and the skier with the fastest time wins.
This event tests a racers speed and coordination as they try to get to the bottom of the course in the shortest amount of time without missing any of the gates. The gates are bunched fairly close together so skiers have to make sharp turns in order to reach the next one. Competitors in this event have to run the course twice, though the second time they go, the placement of the gates will have changed. After both runs their times are combined and the skier with the fastest time is the winner.
Giant doesn’t mean longer. Instead, there are fewer gates and they are placed farther apart. This means there are wider turns and more speed to be attained. Just like in the Slalom, skiers make two runs down different courses, though the courses are on the same slope. After the two runs, the skier with the fastest combined time wins.
The only difference between this race and the Grand Slalom is this one is longer, though still shorter than a downhill course. The structure of the race and determination of the winner is the same as the other slalom events.
These events not only test a skiers speed and coordination, but also their endurance. Skiers make three runs and the skier with the fastest combined time wins. They do one downhill and two slalom courses, though not the same courses as the regular downhill and slalom events. Combined downhill and slalom are shorter than the regular ones.
It isn’t entirely clear why these are “super,” since there are only two runs compared to the Combined Events’ three runs, but this is the last of the major ski racing events. Participants complete a slalom race and either a downhill or Super-G race.