Sports Summary

Athletes in alpine skiing events combine speed and agility while racing down the slopes at speeds up to 100 kilometres per hour.

Athletes with a physical or vision impairment may compete in Para-alpine.

Para-alpine ski events include slalom, giant slalom, and downhill. The rules of the International Ski Federation (FIS) are used with only a few modifications. Skiers with a vision impairment are guided through the course by sighted guides using voice signals to indicate the course to follow. Athletes with a physical impairment use equipment that is adapted to their needs, including single skis, sit-skis or orthopaedic aids.

For more information on Para-alpine ski Eligibility and How to Get Involved please see the Para-alpine skiing Information Sheet (PDF – 153KB) – updated November 2021.

Events & Disciplines

There are five traditional alpine skiing events on the Paralympic Program:

Downhill

Skiers are timed as they race down a long, steep course that may include turns and jumps. They must pass through a relatively few number of gates that are used as checkpoints. The penalty for missing a gate is disqualification. One run determines the finishing order – the shortest time wins.

Super-G

The course is shorter than downhill but longer than giant slalom and slalom. The number of gates is determined by the vertical drop, with a minimum of 35 direction changes for men and 30 for women. Gates are set at least 25m apart and the penalty for missing a gate is disqualification. One run determines the finishing order.

Slalom

The course is shorter than other alpine skiing events with a high number of gates (55-75 gates on a men’s course and 40-60 on a women’s course) that the athletes must negotiate. The penalty for missing a gate is disqualification. Each athlete completes two runs on the same day on different courses. Times from the two courses are added to determine order of finish. (The ranking in the first run is the basis for the starting order in the second run, with the fastest skiing last).

Giant slalom

The course is longer, there are fewer turns, and the turns are wider and smoother than the slalom. The number of gates is determined by the vertical drop and the penalty for missing a gate is disqualification. Each athlete completes two runs on the same day on different courses. Times from the two courses are added to determine order of finish. (The ranking in the first run is the basis for the starting order in the second run, with the fastest skiing last).

Super combined

This event combines two disciplines, either one downhill and one slalom run, or a super-G and a slalom run. At the Vancouver Paralympic Games for example, a downhill run in the morning was followed by a slalom run in the afternoon. The lowest total time wins.

Classification

Para-alpine ski is open to athletes with a physical or vision impairment. Athletes are required to submit medical reports and meet the minimum impairment criteria in order to compete. Eligibility is determined by trained Classifiers.

For more information on Eligible Impairments and Classification please see the Para-alpine skiing Information Sheet (PDF – 153KB) – updated November 2021.

Rules & Equipment

Skis

The skis used in alpine skiing events are long and narrow (minimum of 60mm). Men’s skis are a minimum of 165cm and women’s skis are a minimum of 155cm. The maximum height of the binding plate is 55mm in all events.

Sit-skis

Some athletes with a physical impairment compete from a sitting position using a sit-ski, also called a mono-ski. As the name suggests, mono-skis have a specially fitted chair over a single ski. The chair includes seat belts and other strapping, as well as a suspension device to minimise wear and tear on the skier’s body.

Poles or outriggers

Skiers in alpine skiing events use poles for propulsion and balance. The poles for downhill and super-G events are curved to fit around the body. Slalom poles are straight and usually have plastic guards to protect the hands from injury. Athletes in certain Paralympic classifications (e.g. single-leg amputees who ski without a prosthesis, sit-ski users) use special poles called outriggers. Outriggers have short ski blades on the end and help the skier with balance.

Boots and bindings

Boots for alpine skiing events have a hard plastic exterior with extensive foot and ankle support. The heel height of boots is regulated, with a maximum distance of 50mm between the sole and the heel. Alpine skiers use bindings that attach at both the heel and toe.

Helmets

Hard-shell helmets are required in alpine skiing events.

Goggles

Goggles are used to protect the eyes and to maximise visibility.

Clothing

Alpine ski racers wear lightweight, form-fitting clothing (all in one suit) to minimise air resistance. Slalom skiers frequently wear pads to protect from injury.

Medal History

YearGoldSilverBronzetotal
20180022
20140022
20100134
20060112
20026107
19981012
19943249
19921124

Contacts

National Federation
OrganisationWebsite
Snow Australiasnow.org.au