Alpine skiing evolved
from cross-country skiing. 5000 years ago primitive skis were used in Norway for
Northern Europe Vikings used skis to get around in the 10th century, when they hunted on snow-covered hills.
Downhill skiing expanded throughout Scandinavia and Russia as a mode of winter transportation and eventually became a sport similar to cross-country skiing.
The first alpine competition, which was a primitive downhill event, was held in the 1850s.
The sport was exclusively for rich people, and over the next few decades it spread to other parts of Europe and the United States.
An Englishman called Sir Arnold Lunn and Austrian, Hannes Schneider, invented modern alpine racing.
Arnold Lunn organised the first slalom in 1922, in Muerren, Switzerland, and later joined forces with Schneider to organise the first Olympic alpine event.
Alpine skiing became part of the Olympic program at the 1936 Garmisch-Partenkirchen Games. The first Alpine skiing program in the Olympics that year was a men’s and women’s combined event, featuring a downhill and two slalom runs.
When you ski, you shift
your body weight back and forth, kicking the skis out from side to side in the
snow. After you begin moving on your skis sliding back
and forth from leg to leg, you’ll need to learn how to stop.
To stop, you press the front tips of the skis close together.
As you are going downhill, think about moving from right to left on your skis. This skill requires you to shift your weight from side to side to allow the skis to turn naturally in the direction you are trying to go. As you shift to the right side, your left ski should come slightly of the ground, while your weight shifts to the right ski in the direction you want to go.
rules of downhill skiing are quite simple, and are the same for both men and
women. Of course the skier who can complete the track in the least amount of
time wins. It is not uncommon that more than one skier gets the same time, even
if their finishing time is measured to 0,01 seconds.
The athletes that compete in downhill have the longest course, in the Olympics it’s about 3 kilometres, and the speed in downhill is also the greatest in all of the events. The finishing line between 800 to 1000 metres lower than the starting point for men. For women it’s between 500 and 800 metres. Three days before the downhill race, all the skiers take part in three days of official training. Each participant only gets one run down the coure.
In Super G, skiers have to skate through a number of gates. This takes much training, and the participants have to be very fast and skilful. Super G is a fast event, but not as fast as downhill and it also has a shorter course. Skiers have to avoid making wide turns, because if they do, they will lose time. The skiers that go first have a smoother and therefore faster race. Each skier makes one run down a single course and the fastest time determines the winner. If they fail to make both their feet pass through each gate, they are disqualified.
Giant slalom is a looser version of the slalom with fewer and wider turns, it also requires speed. The giant slalom course is longer than the slalom course. Gates on the giant slalom course are spaced farther apart from each other. The slalom features the shortest course and the quickest turns. Each skier makes two runs down two different courses on the same slope. Both the slalom and giant slalom events allow skiers two runs. The runs take place on the same day. The times are added, and the fastest total time determines the winner. Athletes are not allowed to take training runs through the courses, but on race day, they can inspect each course by skiing slowly alongside it. Inspection of the second run does not begin until all the racers have had a chance to ski the first run.
The combined event consists of one downhill followed by two slalom runs. The times are added together and the fastest total time determines the winner. The combined downhill and the combined slalom competitions are separate from the regular downhill and slalom events, and the combined courses are shorter. In 2002, for the first time at the Olympic Winter Games, the entire combined event will be held on a single day at the same venue. Also, the combined slalom will be held on the lower part of the combined downhill slope.
Both Sweden and Italy have many famous skiers, and they win about the same number of competitions. Some Swedish ones that are active right now are Anja Pärson and Fredrik Nyberg. Anja’s best event is slalom, while Fredrik mostly competes in giant slalom. The leading Italy an skiers are for the moment Karen Putzer whose primary event also is giant slalom, Isolde Kostner who competes mostly in downhill, and Kristian Ghedina. He also does best when competing in downhill. Because parts of the Alps go through Italy, they might have an advantage over Sweden, who mostly just has small skiing slopes.