Alpine Skiing – What are its origins and in what it consists?

The first alpine skiing competition, as recognised by the international regulatory body (FIS) took place in Oslo, Norway, around the 1850s. This first event was the one that is more aggressive and faster of all alpine skiing events: ‘The Downhill’

Alpine skiing emerged as an evolution from cross-country skiing (check our earlier post about ´Nordic Combined’ to see some details on cross-country skiing ). Some decades after, around the beginning of the 1900s, alpine skiing spread to other European countries, as well as to  the United States. The sport was popular around miners which organized such competitions to entertain themselves during the winter.

The first slalom – another event within alpine skiing – was organised in 1922 in Mürren, Switzerland. In 1928 another competition – The Arlberg-Kandahar, also known as AK, a combined slalom and downhill event – was held in St. Anton, Austria. This event is now referred to be the first ‘legitimate Alpine race’  and the one that planted the seed for Alpine’s inclusion in the Olympic programme, and for FIS (International Ski Federation) official recognition, in 1930, of alpine skiing events in addition to the traditional Nordic disciplines.

Alpine skiing then became in the 1936 Garmisch-Partenkirchen Wintergames an Olympic sport. In these games both a men’s and a ladies combined event were held as part of the games’s official programme.

Currently, alpine skiing encompass the following main 5 events:

– Downhill

– Super-G

– Giant Slalom

– Slalom

– Super Combined (one downhill or Super-G and one slalom runs)

In futures posts we will depict each of the alpine skiing events in more detail, as well as the names of the more renowned skiers.

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