In one form or another, skiing has been a permanent feature on the Olympic Winter Games programme since 1924. The six current FIS disciplines are alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, ski jumping, Nordic combined, freestyle skiing and snowboard. The first four are rich in history, whilst the latter two are relative newcomers that are growing in popularity. To compete in these various disciplines, one needs to master speed, endurance, dexterity and determination.
Downhill and Super-G
The alpine skiing competition consists of 11 events: five each for women and men, plus a mixed team parallel combining women and men into one team. The downhill features the longest course and the highest speeds in alpine skiing. Super-G stands for super giant slalom, an event that combines the speed of downhill with the shorter and more technical turns of giant slalom. In these events each skier makes one run down a course, and the fastest time determines the winner.
The slalom is the alpine event with the shortest course and the most turns. The giant slalom has fewer and wider, smoother turns. In both events, each skier makes two runs down two different courses on the same slope. The times are added together, and the fastest total time determines the winner. In the so-called alpine combined event, one shortened downhill run is followed by a one-run slalom. The times are added together, and the fastest total time determines the winner.
The mixed team parallel event made its Olympic debut in 2018, and consists of a maximum of six competitors (at least two competitors from one gender) from the same NOC, who ski down parallel courses for four combined runs per round. After each round, teams are knocked out in a head-to-head format until the medals are awarded.
The cross-country skiing competition consists of 12 different cross-country skiing events. Women compete in the sprint, team sprint, 10km individual start, 7.5km + 7.5km skiathlon, 30km mass start and 4x5km relay. Men compete in the sprint, team sprint, 15km individual start, 15km + 15km skiathlon, 50km mass start and 4x10km relay. In cross-country skiing, there are two techniques, classic and free, which alternate between each edition of the Games.
Ski jumping has five events: the individual normal hill for women and men; the individual large hill and the team event on the large hill, both for men; and the mixed team event featuring teams of women and men. In the individual events each athlete gets two jumps, and the athlete with the highest combined score is the winner. In the team event, each team has four members, and the field is reduced to the eight best teams after the first jump.
Nordic combined is currently contested only by men, and there are three events, each consisting of a ski jumping competition and a cross-country skiing race. For the normal hill Gundersen event, ski jumping takes place on the normal hill (90m). For the team and the large hill Gundersen events, ski jumping takes place on the large hill (120m). The cross-country skiing portion of the Gundersen events has a 10km race, and the team event has a 4x5km relay.
There are 11 snowboard events: men’s and women’s halfpipe; men’s and women’s parallel giant slalom; men’s, women’s and mixed team snowboard cross; men’s and women’s slopestyle; and men’s and women’s big air.
There are 13 freestyle skiing events: men’s, women’s and mixed team aerials; men’s and women’s moguls; men’s and women’s halfpipe; men’s and women’s slopestyle; men’s and women’s big air; and men’s and women’s ski cross.