Alpine skiing was first introduced to the Winter Olympics in 1936 and has remained in the programme since. All athletes compete on skis with a fixed heel on challenging courses often spanning the whole mountain.

Athletes compete against one another in speed and technical disciplines over one or two-timed runs respectively. Competitors must pass through set checkpoints, or ‘gates’ set out at varying frequencies and on different aspects of slope, depending on the discipline.

Downhill

The first of the speed skiing events, and the fastest, Downhill is not for the faint hearted. Gates are widely spaced when compared with other Alpine disciplines to allow competitors to maintain speeds of between 90 and 140km/h - sometimes more! The risk is high as racers only have one run to stake their claim on the title on a physically and mentally demanding course.

2014 Men’s Champion: Matthias Mayer, Austria

2014 Womens’ Champion: Tina Maze, Slovenia, and Dominique Gisin, Switzerland (joint)

Super-G

The second of the speed events, Super-G is decided over one run, just like Downhill. Speeds are typically not quite as high as in the Downhill, as Super-G courses are more technical, with a mixture of turn angles, requiring a combination of speed and precision. The gates are not as frequent or tightly packed as in technical disciplines, normally at least 25m apart, however courses are longer and steeper than Slalom and Giant Slalom

2014 Men’s Champion: Kjetil Jansrud, Norway

2014 Womens’ Champion: Anna Fenninger, Austria

Giant Slalom

Giant Slalom, or ‘GS’ as it is often abbreviated to, is a technical event timed over two runs, like Slalom. There are less gates on a GS course and they are spaced wider than in Slalom, at 10m or more, which allows for higher speeds.

2014 Men’s Champion: Ted Ligety, USA

2014 Womens’ Champion: Tina Maze, Slovenia

Slalom

The most technical of all of the Alpine disciplines, Slalom requires supreme precision and concentration. There are up to 75 gates on course set as close at 75cm to one another. The course varies in pitch and riders will be challenged by changes in steepness, or transitions designed to catch competitors out.

2014 Men’s Champion: Marion Matt, Austria

2014 Womens’ Champion: Mikaela Shiffrin, USA

Alpine Combined

Competitors race against the clock over two runs on different courses, one run on the Downhill course and the second on the Slalom course. Positions are decided by the cumulative time over the two runs.

2014 Men’s Champion: Sandro Viletta, Switzerland

2014 Womens’ Champion: Maria Höfl-Riesch, Germany

Team Event

New for the 2018 Winter Olympics, this exciting form of racing is a head to head relay race set out over a short Giant-Slalom style course. Teams are made up of two male and two female skiers of the same nationality and race on identical courses simultaneously, a format sometimes called Dual Slalom. 16 national teams will compete in an elimination tournament.