Downhill skiing is a sport of the alpine skiing discipline which was developed during the early 20th century in Great Britain. As opposed to other types of alpine skiing where the emphasis is more on technique, downhill is all about speed. It very common to see speeds upwards of 80mph in international competitions.
A downhill course is typically designed to reach high speeds and at the same time also consists of challenging turns on both sides, shallow dips, flat regions, and small jumps. The skis used for downhill are about 30% longer than skis used for other alpine skiing. Ski poles used are bent to curve around the rider's body. Helmets and skin-tight suits are the other equipment required for the sport.
Before the race begins, riders are allowed to inspect the course and prepare a strategy for the best aerodynamic position possible to navigate the course. In downhill races, unlike other alpine skiing races, riders are allowed only a single run through the course. The length of the course varies, but it is usually long enough for a rider to complete the course in 90 to 150 seconds.
Downhill skiing is currently a medal event, for both men and women, in the Winter Olympics and Paralympics.
Other Alpine Skiing Sports
- Speed Skiing — the objective is to ski downhill on a straight path as fast as possible.
- Ski Cross — multiple downhill skiers race head-to-head on a course including big jumps, rollers and high-banked turns.
- Skiboarding — like snow skiing, but with shorter and wider skis.
- Grass Skiing — involves skiing on grass-covered slopes on skis with wheels
- About Alpine Skiing — includes slalom, giant slalom, super giant slalom and downhill.
- Complete list of sports
- The Encyclopedia of Sports
- Alpine Skiing at the Winter Olympics