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Alpine Skiing


 


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Fast, faster, Alpine Skiing

Originally, skiing was simply a way of getting from one place to another. A famous advocate of early skiing was the Norwegian explorer, Fridjtof Nansen, who crossed Greenland on skis in 46 days. Another Norwegian, Sondre Norheim, who also introduced the word slalom, is considered to be the founder of modern skiing. Around 1900, skiing became a popular pastime and an event in sporting competitions. In the 1950s, skiing became popular internationally as cable cars and ski lifts were built to transport people from valleys to the tops of mountains.

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Disciplines in Alpine Skiing

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The alpine ski sport is divided into the following disciplines:

  • Downhill
  • Slalom
  • Giant slalom
  • Super giant slalom
  • Alpine skiing combined
  • Super alpine combined
  • Alpine Skiing World Cup

That takes place every season and crowns World Cup winners in the first four disciplines listed above and two overall champions – one male and one female. Skiing is a very popular sport and consequently of great importance for the betting industry. Many online bookmakers offer skiing in their betting repertoire: on bwin, for example, you can already place your bets in the summer for the next ski season.

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Techniques and Rules

The basic principle behind skiing involves sliding on two narrow boards aligned parallel to one another, which in the past had been made out of wood and are now made out of synthetic materials. In order to make a turn, one ski is turned to the side and the second is placed parallel to it. Skiers usually go down groomed slopes that, for the most part, are quite steep. In competitions, the skier that completes the slope the most quickly without missing a turn wins. The rules of skiing vary depending on the event. Ski racers wear skin-tight suits in order to keep wind resistance to a minimum. Additionally, they wear helmets and back protection. Choosing the correct ski wax also plays an important role as it needs to be appropriate for the particular snow conditions.

Downhill

The leading discipline in skiing is so-called downhill skiing. The trail used is marked on the slope by single-colored poles (which are bendable and can be pushed to the side). The slope is usually quite diverse and also includes jumps, which increase speed. Each participant only completes the slope once.

Slalom

The second most important discipline in alpine skiing is called slalom. In slalom skiing, the skier must make lots of turns and pass through various gates (two bendable poles of the same color), which are alternately blue and red. Although slalom is the slowest skiing competition, it is regarded as the most difficult because the gates are spaced close to each other and consequently, competitors must make sharp turns. Slalom and giant slalom both consist of two runs; in the second run only the 30 fastest skiers from the first round are allowed to participate.

Giant Slalom

A special variation of the slalom is the giant slalom, which, because of a larger distance between the gates, allows for a more elegant descent. Furthermore, there are fewer gates used than in slalom competitions, which allows for higher speeds. There are two gates, which consist of two poles connected with a piece of plastic cloth, which the skier needs to pass through. Giant slalom races consist of two runs and the times of both are added together for the final result.

Super G

The second fastest discipline of skiing is the super giant slalom, which was introduced in Val-d'Isère in 1982 by the FIS (International Ski Federation). The route is shorter than in downhill, but because there are more gates, it is more challenging. Before the race, skiers are allowed to view the route, but may not take a test run.

Alpine Combined

The so-called alpine skiing combined is, as can be inferred from the name, a combination between downhill (where endurance is necessary) and slalom (where technique is important) and therefore calls for a versatile skiing style. Usually, the event begins with a downhill run followed by two slalom runs, which are only open to skiers that pass the downhill competition. The results of each run are then converted into points and added up.

Super Alpine Combined

The newest discipline in alpine skiing is called super alpine combined and was first introduced in Wengen, Switzerland in 2005. The competition consists of one slalom race and a short version of a downhill or super giant slalom.

FIS

The most important international institution governing skiing and its development in the various disciplines is the FIS (International Ski Federation/Fédération Internationale de Ski/Internationaler Ski Verband), which was founded during the Olympic Games in 1924. Besides establishing a body of rules, the FIS organizes international competitions such as the Alpine Skiing World Cup.

Alpine World Cup

The first Alpine Skiing World Cup was held in 1966/67 and has taken place every winter since then. The competition is divided into four, separately evaluated events and an overall winner is also chosen. In the various disciplines, downhill, slalom, giant slalom and super giant slalom, individual champions are determined and the male and female skiers with the highest number of total points receive overall World Cups. Every season approximately 35 competitions take place on various international slopes (most of which are in Europe, the USA and Canada). There also is a Nations Cup, which was won by Austria a total of 28 times in the last 17 years.

Hall of fame

Successfull countries in Alpine Skiing: Austria (ÖSV), Sweden, Norway, France, Germany (DSV), Switzerland, Italy, Finland, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Croatia, Canada, USA, Japan.

Male skiers:

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  • Ingemar Stenmark (Sweden)
  • Hermann Maier (Austria)
  • Franz Klammer (Austria)
  • Alberto Tomba (Italy)
  • Marc Girardelli (Luxembourg)
  • Pirmin Zurbriggen (Switzerland)
  • Stephan Eberharter (Austria)
  • Benjamin Raich (Austria)
  • Bode Miller (USA).

Female skiers:

  • Annemarie- Moser Pröll (Austria)
  • Vreni Schneider (Switzerland)
  • Petra Kronberger (Austria)
  • Renate Götschl (Austria)
  • Katja Seizinger (Germany)
  • Anja Pärson (Sweden)
  • Hanni Wenzel (Liechtenstein)
  • Erika Hess (Switzerland)
  • Janica Kostelić (Croatia)
  • Michela Figini (Switzerland)
  • Michaela Dorfmeister (Austria)
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