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An Olympic sport since Chamonix 1924, the Winter Olympics wouldn't be the same without the skiing.

Alpine Skiing at the Winter Olympic Games

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Skiing, Alpine Skiing, Cross Country Skiing, Freestyle Skiing, Nordic Combined, Olympic Greats, Ski Jumping, Skiing Links, Snowboard.


The sport of skiing has evolved to include snowboarding and freestyle, giving snow fans even more disciplines to choose from

Alpine Skiing

Alpine Skiing consists of ten events: five for women and five for men; skiing on different courses.


This is the longest course with the fastest speeds; where each skier makes a single run and the fastest time determines the winner.


The slalom is run on the shortest course with rapid turns through a series of 'gates'..

Each skier makes two runs down two different courses, on the same slope, on the same day; with the both times added and the fastest total time deciding the winner.


The combined event consists of one downhill (on a shorter course than the regular downhill) followed by two slalom runs.

The times are added together and the fastest total time determines the winner.

Giant Slalom

Similar to the slalom but with fewer turns and wider, smoother turns.

Each skier makes two runs down two different courses on the same slope; with the fastest total time determining the winner.


The super giant slalom combines the speed of a downhill with the more precise turns of a giant slalom.

The course is shorter than the downhill but longer than a giant slalom course. Like the downhill race, racers only have the one run down and try to register the fastest time.

Cross Country Skiing

Although cross-country skiing was on the first Winter Olympic programme at Chamonix 1924 (18km and 50km races for men), women cross-country skiers had to wait until Oslo 1952.

Individual Start

In a staggered start, men race 15km and women race 10km.

Mass Start

Introduced at Salt Lake City 2002, skiers start simultaneously for the long-distance races (50km for men and 30km for women); with athletes passing through the stadium every 10 to 12 minutes, while skiing around the loop.

Individual Sprint

The individual sprint begins with a qualification round where skiers start in 15-second intervals and ski one lap of the course; with the fastest finishers moving on to the elimination heats.

Team Sprint

In the team sprint, each team consists of two athletes who alternate skiing the sprint course three times each for a total of 6 laps.

Pursuit Events

After a mass start, using the classical technigue, skiers enter the stadium at the halfway stage and change their skis and poles to complete the course using a free technique.


Beginning with a mass start, teams of four ski the first two legs of the relay using the classical style, and the last two legs using a free technique.

Freestyle Skiing

Freestyle skiing, where skiers perform aerial manoeuvres while skiing downhill, was a demonstration event at the Calgary 1988 Winter Olympics.

Freestyle Aerials

Added as an Olympic Winter event in Lillehammer 1994.

Competitors complete two jumps in a qualification round. The aerialists with the highest total scores from the qualification round move on to the final round; completing two more jumps in reverse order from their qualification results.

Athletes are judged on the quality of take off, height gained, form and body position, and how they maintain balance upon landing.

The aerialist with the highest combined score from the two final jumps wins.

Freestyle Moguls

Added as an Olympic Winter event in Albertville 1992.

Athletes ski down a steep slope and over a series of large bumps (moguls); with two jumps required. Skiers need to keep their upper bodies facing straight down the hill while their lower body and skis are constantly turning. Maintaining snow contact with the skis is an important element.

The top skiers from a qualification round move into the final run; with the start list in reverse order of the qualification results.

The 'turn' judges award points based on the quality of the skiers’ turns, with deductions for technical mistakes, while the 'air' judges determine what jump was performed, how high they are off the jump, and the jump’s quality.

Run times are compared to a pace-time set for the course, with the faster skiers being awarded more points.

Freestyle Ski Cross

Added as an Olympic Winter event in Vancouver 2010.

The mass start (four skiers) of ski cross sets the stage for fast and exciting competition; with the ski cross course incorporating turns in a variety of types and sizes, flat sections and traverses, as well as rolls, banks and ridges similar to those found on a normal ski slope while structures on the course resemble those found in snowboard cross events.

A timed qualification run is used to seed the skiers into different heats of four skiers each.

The top two finishers from the groups of four then progress to the next round.

Nordic Combined

Although men have competed in Nordic combined individual events since the first Winter Olympic Games in Chamonix 1924, the team event was introduced for Calgary 1988, and the sprint event joined the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City 2002.

A 'Gunderson' start uses the results of the jumping as starting seeds for the cross-country race that follows; with the best jumpers at the front and other 'trains of skiers' trying to chase them down.

First skier across the line is the winner.


Each competitor make two jumps on a 'normal hill' and is scored for length and style.

The second part of the competition is a 15km cross-country race.


Athletes jump (once) on a 'large hill'; with score differences then used to seed the 7.5km cross-country race.


Each team consists of four athletes making two jumps; with the team's score in the jumping portion being the total score of the eight jumps.

The same skiers who participated in the jumping must compete in the 4x5km relay; with the Gundersen Method used to determine the start times.

The winner is the team whose final skier crosses the finish line first.

Ski Jumping

While men’s ski jumping has been part of the Winter Olympic Games since Chamonix 1924, the large hill competition was added at Innsbruck 1964.

The K90 jumps are off a normal hill while the K120 use the large hill and produces longer jumps.

There are individual men's events in both the K90 and K120 and a team event in K120; with a team consisting of four jumpers.


Giant slalom and halfpipe snowboarding events made their first appearance at the Nagano 1998 Winter Olympics; with parallel giant slalom replacing the individual giant slalom at Salt Lake City 2002, and snowboard cross added at Turin 2006.

Snowboarding is open to both men and women athletes.


Something like skateboarding on snow, snowboarders use the speed gained on the slope to come up over the rim of the pipe and perform a routine of difficult acrobatic aerial tricks.

Parallel Giant Slalom

After the qualification round, a 16-person tournament is established. Two snowboarders race head-to-head down the mountain through a series of gates; with the fastest of the two qualifying for the next round.

Finalists would have taken part in nine rounds; more than any other skier in the Winter Games.

Snowboard Cross

Four racers start at the same time and compete down a course of jump ramps and obstacles; with the fastest two from each heat moving on to the next round.

Skiing - Olympic Greats

Simon Ammann surprised even the Swiss when he brought home gold medals from both ski jumping events at Salt Lake City 2002.

Kazuyoshi Funaki was the youngest member of the Japanese ski jump team in Nagano 1998 but managed to win silver in the normal hill event, gold on the large hill and a second gold in the team event.

Winter Sports

Biathlon in the Winter Olympics Bobsleigh in the Winter Olympics Curling in the Winter Olympics Ice-Hockey in the Winter Olympics Luge in the Winter Olympics Skating in the Winter Olympics Skiing in the Winter Olympics

Skiing Links

International Ski Federation:
The official website of the Fédération Internationale de Ski (FIS).

Alpine Skiing:
Where to ski when it starts to snow.

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