Rules of the Sport - Downhill Skiing

Rules of the Sport - Downhill Skiing

Rules of the Sport - Downhill Skiing

 Rules of the Sport - Downhill Skiing - Ohio Fitness Garage



Downhill skiing actually has a rich Scandinavian history, where it wasn’t as much of a competition rather than a means to get from point A to point B as fast as possible. The sports ancestors determined that skis were actually the best tool for fast transportation across snow, and the rest is history. Now, downhill skiing is one of the most popular alpine events in the Winter Olympics.


How to Downhill Ski


Unlike other alpine skiing events like slalom, giant slalom, super G, and combined, downhill skiing is a true test of speed. Some skiers will reach speeds of up to 100 mph (averaging around 80 mph) as they zip across the landscape.


To be competitive in downhill skiing, one must have a bonafide love for taking huge risks. In addition, they must also be highly adept skiers to make last second adjustments. To maximize speed, skiers will attempt to make their bodies as aerodynamic as possible to reduce wind drag.


Rules of Downhill Skiing


  • Downhill courses are the longest out of all the alpine variants, with lengths of up to 3 miles for men and 1.5 miles for women. Of these distances, men will typically descend over 3,000 feet and 2,200 feet for women.
  • Because of the incredible speeds that skiers will reach, downhill courses will contain less sharp turns to reduce to risk of serious injury. The distance in between gates is wider as well, stretching to at least 26 feet apart.
  • There is safety netting surrounding the entire course in the event that a skier loses control. In areas where there are difficult lips, drops, or turns, there are usually heavy padded walls on both sides.
  • Skiers are also now required to wear crash-helmets given the history of traumatic injuries that have resulted from poor standards for safety equipment.
  • Downhill skiers use slightly different equipment than other alpine skiers. Their skis will be longer (7 foot 2 for men, 6 foot 11 for women) to help keep skiers balanced when turning at higher speeds. Their poles are also curved so skiers can tuck them closer to their bodies for maximum aerodynamics.
  • If a skier misses a gate, they are immediately eliminated from competition.
  • Because downhill skiing is a test of time, there are no judges. The fastest time wins, and there have been moments where races were decided by less than a hundredth of a second.


Downhill skiing is also unique in the sense that you only have one run to place your fastest time, as opposed to two runs for other alpine events. Because downhill skiers push their bodies to the absolute limit during each race, studies have shown that they’ll lose close to 300 calories each half hour spent on the course.




Written by: Devin Pickell

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