Alpine skiing: history, types of races, competition rules


In the article “Alpine skiing” we will tell you about the history and features of alpine skiing, types of racing and competition rules, and answer popular questions.

#ГорнолыжныйСпорт #Skiing #ГорныеЛыжи #ЗимнийСпорт

Skiing is one of the most popular sports in the world, combining dizzying speed, incredible accuracy and agility. Skis have been used by our ancestors since prehistoric times. Fragments of planks used as skis have been found frozen into the ice in Russia, their approximate age is 7,000-8,000 years BC.

Prehistoric skis were used as a means of transportation on the plains and in the mountains, which were covered with loose and deep snow. Skis were also used by the military in countries such as Russia, Sweden, and Norway.

Sondre Norheim
Sondre Norheim

Modern alpine skiing was invented in the middle of the 19th century, around 1850. Their main architect was the Norwegian skier Sondre Norheim. It was he who first developed and popularized skis with curved sides, which were more aerodynamic and suitable for steep turns.

Norheim also used rigid heel straps, which were made of willow, and combined with curved skis allowed him to develop various forms of turns. He first demonstrated the Telemark turn, which included cross-country running, slalom and jumps, and his Christiania turn is part of parallel turn and braking instruction in any ski school.

The growing popularity of alpine skiing made it possible to hold the first international competitions in the Alps (1905). At the Olympics alpine skiing made its debut in 1936 and was represented by 2 disciplines: downhill and slalom.

At the Olympic Winter Games, skiing is currently available in six disciplines: Downhill, Slalom, Giant Slalom, Super-G (also known as super-G), Ski Combination and Team events.

Competitions in alpine skiing
Competitions in alpine skiing

Downhill is the fastest discipline in skiing, in which athletes reach speeds of up to 140 km / h on a specially prepared track. The athlete who shows the lowest time will be considered the winner.

In the slalom, skiers race down a winding course and cross about 50 gates that must be passed with both skis in order to stay in the qualification. Slalom skiers complete two heats, each on their own course.

Giant slalom is very similar to slalom competitions, but has fewer gates that are also further apart. A distinctive feature of the Super Giant Slalom is the reduced number of turns, which allow you to develop a higher speed. Essentially, the Super Giant Slalom is a combination of downhill and giant slalom. The ski combination includes a combination of downhill and slalom.

In the team competition there are four athletes (two men and two women). Each of the participants passes his track and brings his team 1 point for the victory. In case of a tie, the winner is selected by the best pair (man + woman). In the parallel team competitions athletes perform on the track of giant slalom, and in the combined competitions on the track supergiant slalom and regular slalom. In combined competitions a team wins according to the sum of occupied places of the team members.

Skiing equipment
Skiing equipment

In the FIS (International Ski Federation) World Cup, athletes compete in 5 events, just like in the Olympic Games, except that there are no team events.

In the World Cup athlete for each race can earn from 1 to 100 points, depending on the place taken. At the end of the season, the points earned for each competitor are counted and the highest score is awarded the Crystal Globe.

Each year, the leading ski manufacturers improve their skis for a specific skiing discipline. For example, the waist of giant slalom skis is shorter than that of slalom skis.

Alpine skis
Alpine skis

The waist on alpine skis is just the result of the so-called “carving revolution. Almost 30 years ago, the geometry of classic skis was changed (the waist was narrowed and the heel and toe were widened). Thanks to this shape, the athlete gets additional acceleration, because turns can be made on the arc trajectory (slashing glide – acceleration when exiting the turn).

In the international language of skiing, “carving” means a series of steep turns performed on the edges. With more flexibility and better contact with the snow, a tapered waist ski saves the skier from preparatory motions and reduces the effort to make turns.

Carving turn
Carving turn

The edge is a steel band that runs along the ski’s base and prevents the ski from slipping on turns. The edges are made of high-carbon, hardened steel. The edges are also sharpened at different angles, and sometimes skiers use their own special skills.

Professional skiers begin preparing long before the opening of the ski season, and the main task – to sharpen their coordination, because in this sport everything depends on it.

This is why experts recommend enrolling your child in skiing no earlier than 6 years of age, since by this age the vestibular system is “matured”. At an earlier age, the child will simply not be ready for alpine skiing.

In sports schools classes are mostly free of charge or cost a token amount of 1,500 rubles / month. The main expense parents will incur to buy equipment and pay for travel to training camps and competitions. Skiing perfectly increases immunity, strengthens the muscular corset, forms a correct posture and discipline, so lessons at all costs are worth it.

About skiing


Skiing is a winter Olympic sport in which athletes descend on special skis on a prepared and snow-covered mountain track in minimal time. It is one of the most popular outdoor activities in the world (annual number of tourists ≈ 200 million people).

Curved poles in skiing are made to create the least amount of aerodynamic drag. During the descent, the poles pressed against the body hide behind the athlete's back and reduce the resistance of the air flow. Curved poles also allow for optimal trajectory in tight turns.

Vibration in skiing is caused by uneven snow cover. Small potholes and potholes at high speed create shaking, which impairs control and grip of the skis with the piste. In order to dampen the vibration in alpine skis, vibration absorbers of different shapes and designs are used. Modern models have vibration absorbers built into the front and back of the ski. The lion's share of vibrations is absorbed by the athlete himself due to his trained muscles.

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