There are four distinct disciplines in alpine skiing, plus an event that combines two of them and a team competition.
Alpine skiing at the Olympics has multiple disciplines that go beyond just seeing who gets down the mountain the fastest. From slalom to downhill to the exhausting super-G and alpine combined. Here is a look at the differences between each form.
The slalom is the shortest course in alpine skiing. It also has the most turns. Skiers have to navigate from one gate to the next. Cutting a turn too close or missing a gate altogether will incur a time penalty which could be the difference between a gold medal and no medal at all. Each skier makes two runs down the slalom course.
It’s basically what it sounds like. It’s a longer slalom course and the gates are spaced further apart. This is also a two-run event.
It’s all about speed here. Lines are painted on the outside of the course to show the boundaries. There are no gates to navigate between, so it all matters as to who gets down in the shortest time possible.
Super-G means super giant slalom. It combines the speed of downhill but the technical turning necessary of the giant slalom. The course winds more than the downhill course, but the gates are spaced out more so that the skiers can pick up speed.
The alpine combined consists of one downhill run and one slalom run, both of which are completed on the same day.
The mixed team competition made its debut in 2018. Skiers go down, side-by-side, on identical slalom courses — men vs. men and women vs. women. After each round, teams are knocked out until the medals are decided.