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Alpine skiing: the official rules of the game in brief

Alpine skiing is a special descent from the snowy slopes. This discipline is traditionally very developed in countries such as Italy, Switzerland, Austria, France, Germany and the USA. In Russia, it is just beginning to gain momentum. An alternative name for this sport is “Alpine skiing”, in honor of the homeland of skiing – the Alps.

The organization of most of the major international competitions in this winter discipline is the responsibility of the International Ski Federation (FIS, FIS). She oversees all types of skiing and has over a hundred representative countries. FIS is headquartered in Switzerland, although it was originally based in France.

Analysts of the International Federation annually compile a detailed calendar of such competitions as the World Cup and World Cup, as well as a number of other rating tournaments. The IOC is responsible for conducting skiing competitions as part of the Olympic Games, but not without the participation of the FIS. All ski competitions are held only according to the rules of the International Federation.

To date, the most rated and prestigious tournaments in skiing are:

  • World Cup;
  • World Cup
  • Olympic Games.

World Cup format

The Alpine World Cup is held annually under the auspices of the FIS. During the competition, the strongest skiers are identified, both in individual disciplines and in the overall classification. Men and women are eligible to take part in the World Cup. Prizes are distributed in accordance with the points scored by athletes.

For the first time, the World Cup was held in 1966, and French and American athletes became its initiators. The name was given by analogy with football. Just this year in England, the football World Cup was held. It was skiing that became the first winter discipline for which a separate world tournament was organized.

Representatives of 6 countries took part in the debut season, who played more than fifty sets of medals at 17 starts. The winners of the first World Cup were Canadians and French. Until the mid-1970s, the Cup program included only classic and giant slalom, as well as downhill skiing. Other disciplines began to gradually appear only from the 1974/75 season.

Soviet skiers for the first time won gold medals at the World Cup only in 1981. In the recent history of the tournament, Russian athletes are always ranked as a group of favorites of the championship.

World Championship History

This tournament is also organized only under the auspices of the FIS. The debut championship was held in 1931 and has been held annually since then. At the same time, the world championships have long been “tied” to the Olympic Games. Tournament laureates during the years of the Olympics received additional awards from the IOC, and in other years – independent.

Until the mid-20th century, world championships are held only in Europe. The situation changed in 1950, when the tournament was suddenly moved to American Aspen. The basis of the world championships of that period were team competitions (combinations), as well as slalom and downhill.

Since 1985, mundial began to be organized in odd years.

Program of the olympic games

Today, skiing is the foundation of the Winter Olympic Games. Despite the fact that the debut Winter Olympics took place in 1924, alpine skiing was included in the competition program only after 12 years. Then in German Partenkirchen men and women competed only in combination. At that Olympics purely amateurs competed, and German athletes became the winners.

At the 1948 Games, the ski program was replenished with slalom and downhill. To the great surprise of all, the IOC decided to exclude from the list of disciplines of the Winter Olympics a combination that was replaced with a giant slalom. As a result, the public forgot about it as part of the OI for a long 40 years. And only in 1988 at the Games in Calgary, the combination was finally returned to the mandatory program.

Since 2018, the program of the Winter Olympic Games began to include 6 types of skiing, in which more than 20 sets of awards are played.


The essence of discipline is the passage of a special route for a while. When passing certain sections of the descent, the speed of athletes often exceeds 140 km / h. The average flight length as a result of jumping at this speed is from 40 to 50 m.

The track always runs along the natural topography along the mountainside and contains a series of turns through special guiding gates. In some areas, springboards in the form of ridges and tubercles are installed. The track corridor is limited on both sides by bright contrasting lines in the snow, but in recent years small triangular flags have become increasingly common. The guiding gate is a pair of spaced poles with rectangular flags of blue or red.

As for the elevation difference, in the men’s categories they are from 800 to 1100 m, and in the women’s categories – from 500 to 800 m. Before the start, athletes have the right to fully inspect the track and ski jumps. At the latest Olympics, training on new tracks is mandatory to avoid accidents. Also, competitors must wear a protective helmet during the descent.

Classic slalom

It implies a descent from the mountain along a highway of 450-500 m, which is marked with a 4 m wide gate. At the same time, the distance between the gates can be from 0.7 to 15 m. Altitude differences here are insignificant – up to 150 m. Thanks to this, skiers develop moderate speed at 40 km / h.

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