Skiing Rules and Laws

Alpine skiing competitions involve five events: Downhill, Super G, Giant Slalom, Slalom, and Combined. The first four are unique competitions, while the combined event combines one downhill and one slalom run. A competition held for both men and women would thus have a total of ten events, five for men and five for women. The objective is to navigate down the mountain, through any "gates" on the course and cross the finish line as fast as possible. Failure to navigate through a gate results in disqualification.

"Gates" that have two poles with a flag rolled out between the two are used in alpine skiing. Open gates will have 6 to 8 meters (19 to 26 feet) between them from inner pole to inner pole. For the closed gates, the space should be between 8 to 12 meters (26 to 39 feet).

The Downhill has a vertical drop in elevation between 800 and 1000 meters for men and between 500 and 700 meters for women. A Super G course requires a minimum of 35 gates for men and 30 gates for women. The vertical drop on a Super G hill is between 500 to 650 meters (1650 to 2145 feet) for men and 350 to 500 meters (1155 to 1650 feet) for women.

Giant Slalom courses have gates that are placed wider apart. This forces participants to make wide turns from one side of the hill to the other as they travel down the slope. The vertical drop on a Giant Slalom hill is between 250 to 400 meters (825 to 1320 feet) for men and 250 to 350 meters (825 to 1155 feet) for women.

With more gates and tighter turns, the Slalom is the most difficult event in terms of maneuvering through all of the gates. Two or three "chicanes" may also be present, a combination of 3 to 5 consecutive closed gates that are close together. The skiers must pass on the correct side of the pole. Men's slalom runs will have between 55 to 75 gates while women will see between 45 to 65 gates. The vertical drop on a Slalom path is 180 to 220 meters (594 to 726 feet) for men and 130 to 180 meters (42 to 594 feet) for women.

Cross-country courses are designed to provide a technical, tactical and physical challenge to skiers. Generally, courses consist of one-third uphill with gradients between 9 and 18 degrees, one-third undulating, rolling terrain with short climbs and downhill, and one-third downhill that demand versatile downhill skiing techniques.


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