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Alpine Skiing Alpine Skiing

Alpine Skiing In a Nutshell

Alpine Skiing is about as pure as it can get – a beat the clock format in which a skier goes down the mountain from Point A to Point B and the fastest time wins. There is no judging involved as athletes fly along a downhill course free of ramps or awkward bumps (this is freestyle skiing). Instead, races are timed in hundredths of a second.

At the Olympic Games, Alpine Skiing is one of the blue riband sports and it now consists of ten medal events: five for women and five for men. The rules are the same for all but the courses differ in the number of gates to navigate and the vertical drop required.

Alpine Skiing was first introduced to the Olympic program at the fourth edition of the Olympic Winter Games in 1936 at Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Skiing had been a sporting activity since the late 19th Century, with the first Alpine Slalom competition organised by Sir Arnold Lunn in 1922 in Mürren, Switzerland.

At the 1936 Games, there were men’s and women’s medals on offer in an event that combined Downhill and Slalom. In 1948, this was held along with separate Downhill and Slalom races. Four years later at the Oslo 1952 Games, the Giant Slalom replaced the combined event. Finally, in 1988 the Super Combined returned and the Super-G was added - bringing the total number of events to five, with men and women competing in each. There is more detail under Events and Competition Format.

Alpine Skiing

Australian Alpine Skiing History

Australia has been represented by 40 alpine skiers since the 1952 Oslo Winter Games. History was made in 1998 when Alpine's own Zali Steggall won bronze in the Slalom event at the Nagano Games. Steggall, who would go on to become a four-time Olympian, had won Australia’s first individual Winter Olympic medal and etched her name into the history books. 

Since then, strong Olympic results have been achieved by many Australians. Jenny Owens, who now contests the Freestyle Skiing event of Ski Cross, placed ninth in Super Combined in 2002.Three-time Olympian Steven Lee achieved 19th place in Downhill and Super Combined in 1984 and 1992 respectively.

In 1969, Malcolm Milne became Australia’s first skier to win a World Cup medal. He competed at the 1968 and 1972 Olympics, finishing from 23rd to 33rd across six Olympic events over the two Games.

Fast Facts

Alpine Skiing Action
Days 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 14 & 15
Total Athletes
320
Medal Events
10
Venues
Rosa Khutor Alpine Centre
Crowd Capacity
7,500

Schedule & Results

Start lists for Australian athletes will be available as soon as they are allocated. Please note this can be as late as within 24 hours before the scheduled start time of the event. Medal events, regardless of Australian participation, will also be displayed here.

Day 2, Feb 09 2014

(Local) / 11:15 AM (Sochi)
Start List Results
Men's Downhill Medal Event
AUT Matthias Mayer ITA Christof Innerhofer NOR Kjetil Jansrud

Day 3, Feb 10 2014

(Local) / 11:00 AM (Sochi)
Start List Results
Ladies' Super Combined Downhill
Greta Small 29th (1:47.99)
(Local) / 3:00 PM (Sochi)
Start List Results
Ladies' Super Combined Slalom Medal Event
Greta Small 12th (52.31)
GER Maria Hoefl-Riesch AUT Nicole Hosp USA Julia Mancuso

Day 5, Feb 12 2014

(Local) / 11:00 AM (Sochi)
Start List Results
Ladies' Downhill Medal Event
Greta Small Greta Small 29th (1:44.79)
29th (1:44.79)
SLO Tina Maze SUI Lara Gut

Day 7, Feb 14 2014

(Local) / 10:00 AM (Sochi)
Start List Results
Men's Super Combined Downhill
(Local) / 3:30 PM (Sochi)
Start List Results
Men's Super Combined Slalom Medal Event
SUI Sandro Viletta CRO Ivica Kostelic ITA Christof Innerhofer

Day 8, Feb 15 2014

(Local) / 11:00 AM (Sochi)
Start List Results
Ladies' Super-G Medal Event
Greta Small
AUT Anna Fenninger GER Maria Hoefl-Riesch AUT Nicole Hosp

Day 9, Feb 16 2014

(Local) / 10:00 AM (Sochi)
Start List Results
Men's Super-G Medal Event
NOR Kjetil Jansrud USA Andrew Weibrecht CAN Jan Hudec

Day 11, Feb 18 2014

(Local) / 9:30 AM (Sochi)
Start List Results
Ladies' Giant Slalom Run 1
Lavinia Chrystal Greta Small Emily Bamford 46th (1:25.18)
47th (1:25.22)
56th (1:28.57)
(Local) / 1:00 PM (Sochi)
Start List Results
Ladies' Giant Slalom Run 2 Medal Event
Lavinia Chrystal Greta Small Emily Bamford 39th (1:23.39)
42nd (1:24.44)
49th (1:27.23)
SLO Tina Maze AUT Anna Fenninger GER Viktoria Rebensburg

Day 12, Feb 19 2014

(Local) / 11:00 AM (Sochi)
Start List Results
Men's Giant Slalom Run 1
Dominic Demschar Ross Peraudo 42nd (1:26.47)
50th (1:29.07)
(Local) / 2:30 PM (Sochi)
Start List Results
Men's Giant Slalom Run 2 Medal Event
Dominic Demschar Ross Peraudo 38th (1:27.30)
38th (1:27.30)
USA Ted Ligety FRA Steve Missillier FRA Alexis Pinturault

Day 14, Feb 21 2014

(Local) / 4:45 PM (Sochi)
Start List Results
Ladies' Slalom Run 1
Lavinia Chrystal Greta Small Emily Bamford 34th (59.74)
40th (1:01.19)
41st (1:02.13)
(Local) / 8:15 PM (Sochi)
Start List Results
Ladies' Slalom Run 2 Medal Event
Greta Small Emily Bamford Lavinia Chrystal 28th (56.41)
33rd (58.16)
33rd (58.16)
USA Mikaela Shiffrin AUT Marlies Schild AUT Kathrin Zettel

Day 15, Feb 22 2014

(Local) / 4:45 PM (Sochi)
Start List Results
Men's Slalom Run 1
Ross Peraudo Dominic Demschar 66th (58.52)
(Local) / 8:15 PM (Sochi)
Start List Results
Men's Slalom Run 2 Medal Event
Dominic Demschar
AUT Mario Matt AUT Marcel Hirscher NOR Henrik Kristoffersen

Selection Info

Australia qualified an Alpine Skiing squad of five athletes.

Events and Competition Format

The format for the men’s and women's Alpine Skiing is identical. However, they are held as two (2) separate events on two (2) different courses except for Slalom which is held on the same slope with a different start elevation.

The starting order of the competitors in all Alpine competitions is determined by their FIS (International Ski Federation) points. A first group of the 15 best competitors present regardless of nationality will be drawn. All remaining competitors start in order of their FIS points.

In Downhill, Giant Slalom and Super-G, competitors will normally start at regular intervals of up to 90 or 120 seconds for the first competitors. In Slalom, the start takes place at irregular intervals. The competitor on the course need not have passed the finish line before the next competitor starts. Intervals may be changed for reasons such as weather or crashes.

Downhill

Downhill is the fastest of all alpine events with competitors reaching speeds in excess of 100km/h. Downhill is characterised by six components: technique, courage, speed, risk, physical condition and judgement. It must be possible to ski the course from start to finish with different speeds, with the athlete adapting speed and performance to their technical skills and individual judgement.

Each skier makes a single run down a single course and the fastest time determines the winner. Competitors ski within a series of control gates which define the correct route, test technical skill and control speed.

Slalom

Slalom requires skiers to negotiate gates which are positioned to provide a number of changes of direction, while also making it possible to gain speed and maintain a steady flowing rhythm through the course.

Each skier makes two runs down two different courses on the same slope. Both runs take place on the same day, wherever possible. The times are added together and the fastest total time determines the winner.

For men, there is a vertical drop of between 180 and 220m and the number of gates must be between 55 and 75, plus or minus three. For women, there is a vertical drop of between 140 and 220m and the number of gates must be between 45 and 65, plus or minus three.

To be eligible for a second run, each skier must pass through every gate with both feet. If a skier misses a gate, the athlete may hike uphill and try to clear it successfully before continuing down the course. All skiers who finish the first run successfully will be ranked according to their times for the second run. The top 30 start in reverse order of finish and the rest follow in order of finish. Competitors keep their original bib so will appear out of sequence in the second run.

Giant Slalom

The longer of the technical events, Giant Slalom is generally considered to be the most technically demanding of the Alpine disciplines. The course is designed with long, medium and tight turns that exploit natural variations of the terrain.

The number of gates is between 12-15% of the vertical drop in metres.

Each skier makes two runs down two different courses on the same slope. Both runs take place on the same day, wherever possible. The times are added together and the fastest total time determines the winner.

To be eligible for a second run, each skier must pass through every gate with both feet. All skiers who finish the first run successfully will be ranked according to their times for the second run. The top 30 start in reverse order of finish and the rest follow in order of finish. Competitors keep their original bib so will appear out of sequence in the second run.

Super-G (Super Giant Slalom)

The Super-G is designed to incorporate elements from the Giant Slalom and the Downhill, putting emphasis on the sequence of long and medium turns down the course, determined by the gates which each athlete must pass through.

Each skier makes a single run down a single course and the fastest time determines the winner.

The course is normally set the day before the race and must have a minimum of 35 changes of direction for men, and 30 for women. Inspection of the course is limited to the morning of competition only and there are no training runs on the course.

Super Combined

The Super Combined event consists of one Downhill or Super-G run followed by one Slalom run. The times are added together and the fastest total time determines the winner.

The Downhill events are held on the Downhill course, but with different starting points. The men’s event starts at the women’s Downhill start and the women’s event starts below this. Both courses have the same finishing point. The Slalom events are also held on the Downhill course, with the women starting below the men.

Qualification, Nomination and Selection

There is a maximum of 320 athlete quota places. Each nation can qualify a maximum of 22 athletes (maximum of 14 males or 14 females).

The qualification period is July 2012 – January 2014. The International Ski Federation (FIS) will allocate quota places to each nation on Monday 20 January 2014.

After this date, Ski and Snowboard Australia will nominate athletes to the Australian Olympic Committee to fill the available quota places, provided the athletes meet the selection criteria.

It is anticipated Australia will qualify 2 men and 2 women. Where Australia has an athlete ranked in the top 100 in the world we will have the opportunity to nominate an additional athlete in that gender.

Read the qualification, nomination and selection criteria in full here:

Sochi 2014 – FIS Alpine Skiing Qualification System >>
2014 Nomination Criteria – Alpine Skiing >>
2014 Selection Criteria – Alpine Skiing >>

Alpine Skiing

Equipment

Helmets

For Downhill and Super-G, helmets are mandatory.

Suits and protective gear

Skin-tight racing suits are worn to reduce air resistance and suits must meet minimum requirements for air permeability. Padding may be worn under the ski suit and a plastic back protector is usually worn in Downhill. For Slalom, guards are worn on the arms, knees and shins.

Skis

Skis are generally made of various material (wood, composite fibres) specially adapted to the wear and tear they undergo during a race. Their "performance" on the snow depends also on their length, width and shape which vary, depending on the course, and the speed. Metal edges on the skis are sharpened for every race to make the ski hold during the turn on the icy surface.

Men’s Alpine skis must be a minimum of 165cm, women’s must be a minimum of 155cm. At the bindings, skis must be at least 63mm wide. There are other restrictions based on the discipline and gender. In Slalom and Giant Slalom, the minimum height of the shovel tip is 50mm. In Downhill and Super-G, the minimum tip height is 30mm.

Boots

Reinforced plastic boots are specific to the competition discipline. Raising of the boot sole is permitted to increase the ability to pressurise the ski. The maximum distance between boot sole and foot is regulated, presently at 43mm for both genders.

Useful Links

International Ski Federation

Ski & Snowboard Australia

Trivia

There are two main forms of turns used in the Alpine event of Downhill skiing. The oldest, and still common, is the concept of "stemming"- pushing the front or rear of the skis sideways from the body so they form an angle to the direction of travel. A different form of turn is the "carve". Carving is based on the shape of the ski itself; when the ski is rotated onto its edge, the pattern cut into its side causes it to bend into an arc.

Trivia

In the Alpine Skiing event of Slalom, if a competitor loses a ski during a run, the athlete is permitted to finish without it, regardless of where the ski was released.

Rosa Khutor Alpine Centre

Rosa Khutor Alpine Centre

The Rosa Khutor Alpine Resort is located at the Aibga Ridge. The venue, which incorporates 20km of competition tracks over 1,820 ha, will host all alpine skiing disciplines: Downhill, Super Combined (downhill and slalom), Giant Slalom and the Super-G.

Sochi so Soon!

Exclusive fan e-news

Aussies take on the Giants

Aussies take on the Giants

ALPINE SKIING: On Day 12 of the Games, Australian alpine skiers Dominic Demschar and Ross Peraudo have finally done what they came here to do: race fast.

Giant Slalom tests Aussie trio

Giant Slalom tests Aussie trio

ALPINE – GIANT SLALOM: Aussie trio Lavinia Chrystal, Greta Small and Emily Bamford have finished 46th, 47th and 56th respectively in their first run of the Giant Slalom competition in what were difficult rainy conditions on Tuesday.

Demschar sits out Super-G

Demschar sits out Super-G

ALPINE SKIING: Australia’s Dominic Demschar has pulled out of his debut Olympic event the Men’s Super G on Sunday.

Small mistake ends Super G run

Small mistake ends Super G run

ALPINE SKIING: Australia’s speeding bullet Greta Small has had her first slip up at her debut Olympic Games after missing a gate in the Super G event at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Centre on Saturday.

Sochi so Soon!

Exclusive fan e-news

Small achieves downhill goal

Small achieves downhill goal

ALPINE SKIING: Greta Small is the talk of the Rosa Khutor Alpine Centre after the 18-year-old produced another strong performance at these Games.

PREVIEW Small takes on big girls in Downhill

PREVIEW Small takes on big girls in Downhill

ALPINE SKIING: Chasing a record equalling fourth gold medal at the Winter Olympics, German Maria Hoefl-Riesch is in top form and one the favourites to finish on top of the podium in the Women’s Downhill on Wednesday.

Day 3 through the Green & Gold Lens

Day 3 through the Green & Gold Lens

BLOG: Day 3 had its ups and downs for the Australian Olympic Team. After Greta Small's blistering Alpine debut, crashes became contagious for the Aussies. But there was plenty of silver lining nonetheless!

Impressive start to Olympic campaign for Small

ALPINE SKIING: Greta Small has finished in 15th place in the women's super combined event, the first of five events Small will compete at in Sochi. After the event she spoke to the media in Rosa Khutor.

Just the Beginning: Small

Just the Beginning: Small

ALPINE SKIING: Aussie young gun Greta Small has made a stunning Olympic debut finishing 15th in the Super Combined at Sochi 2014.