Alpine skiing

Alpine Skiing is one of the most incredible sporting competitions in the world. As the name suggests, it is a winter sport and has its own spot at the Winter Olympics. It consists of sliding down the snow slopes, on skies that have fixed-heel bindings. With chair lifts and other facilities, skiing is practiced in ski resorts, across the world. Different skiers practice their sport and it is one of the most anticipated events at the Olympics. Along with it, the FIS World Cup and the World Championships are major competitions of the Alpine skiing community. There are five disciplines in modern-day skiing competitions- slalom, giant slalom, super-G, downhill, and the combined.

Alpine Skiing - FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Slalom - Zagreb, Croatia - January 4, 2022 Mikaela Shiffrin of the U.S. in action during her first run REUTERS/Antonio Bronic

History of Alpine Skiing

Skiing was first practiced during the 19th and 20th centuries. The International Ski federation recognized downhill racing back in the 1930s. Likewise, the first men's world championships were held in 1931; whereas, the women's events were added in 1950. The 1936 Winter Olympics in Germany, saw the first Alpine event make its debut. With all the history in place, the first slalom competition happened in Murren, Switzerland, back in 1922.

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The five disciplines

In major competitions around the world, they use five disciplines in these competitions. The slalom and giant slalom competitions are technical events while the downhill and super-G events are speed events. The combined competitions have both technical and speed events to determine the winner. There are separate events for both men and women, along with mixed alpine competitions.

The slalom competition is the shortest discipline. It includes gates that skiers must go in between to finish the course. It is a fast and technical course that includes skiers maneuvering swift turns to finish fastest at the end. Giant slalom is bigger. It consists of different gates with two poles linked by flags. Finding the right path is a necessity that helps the skiers to post fast times. Downhill is one of the fastest competitions in skiing. As the name suggests, skiers just need to get down to the finishing line by posting the fastest times. They can attain an average speed of 80mph as massive jumps are a part of the course. Super-G is similar to downhill but the skiers make turns during the course. Patience is the key as they take tight turns at incredible speeds.

2022 Beijing Olympics - Alpine Skiing - Women's Giant Slalom Run 2 - National Alpine Skiing Centre, Yanqing district, Beijing, China - February 7, 2022. Nina O'Brien of the United States crashes during her run. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Greatest skiers in the world

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There are many talented skiers who have captured the hearts and minds of skiing fans, across the world. But, there are a few who dominate the competition for a long time. With no particular order, these are the few legendary skiers in the world.

  • Bode Miller: Miller is an Olympic and World Champion and is a two-time overall World Cup champion in 2005 and 2008. He has 33 world cup victories and has won the World Cup in all five disciplines.

  • Ingemar Stenmark: Arguably the greatest skier of all time, Stenmark has won 86 international races in his career. The Swedish legend is adept in slalom competitions.

  • Hermann Maier: During the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics, the 'Herminator' suffered a major crash and still won the Olympic gold medal. He has 54 World Cup race victories.

  • Lindsey Vonn: Having won four World Cup races and an Olympic gold medal, Vonn is a legend of the sport. She has 82 World cup victories and is one of the greatest skiers of all time.
VAL-D'LSERE, FRANCE - DECEMBER 20: (FRANCE OUT) Lindsey Vonn of the USA takes 1st place during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Women's Downhill on December 20, 2014 in Val-d'Isere, France. (Photo by Michel Cottin/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

  • Janica Kostelic: She is the only woman to win four gold medals for Alpine skiing at the Olympics and won three Alpine skiing gold medals in a single Olympic Games. Kostelic is a legend of the sport.

  • Alberto Tomba: He won three Olympic gold medals, two World Championships, and nine World Cup season titles. Being the only male skier to win at least one World Cup race for 11 consecutive seasons, he is an icon of Alpine skiing.

  • Mikaela Shiffrin: Being the youngest Olympic slalom champion in the sport's history, Shiffrin is a two-time Olympic gold medalist. Moreover, she won 17 World Cup races, in a single season, being the only one.

  • Annemarie Moser-Proll: She won five consecutive World Cup titles in the 1970s and won another to make a grand total of six. A three-time Olympic medalist, Annemarie is incredible.

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