The Sport Of Alpine Skiing

Julia Ford American Superstar

Alpine Skiing Olympics 2014

About Alpine Skiing known as downhill skiins, is a recreational sport where a person slides dow snow-covered hill with their feet in bindings attached to long skiis. This activity has been around since the mid - 1800s and is an event in winter

Alpine Skiing

Olympic History

Alpine skiing first became part of the Olympic program in 1936 at the Olympic Winter Games in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. Prior to this, only the slalom and the downhill were part of the Olympic sport program. At the 1952 Olympic Winter Games in Oslo, medals were awarded in three events — the slalom, giant slalom, and downhill. It was not until the Calgary Olympic Winter Games in 1988 that the super giant slalom was added to the alpine skiing program.

Alpine Skiing in Russia

In the early 1900s, so-called «hillmen» — who preferred racing downhill — began to stand out among Russian skiers, although they soon got carried away by downhill skiing involving turns, which would later be known as slalom racing. Alpine skiing’s popularity grew rapidly in the ensuing years. By the 1970s, about 28,000 athletes were being trained in sports centers for adults and children.

Alpine Skiing Today

Ten events make up the Olympic alpine skiing program, five for men and five for ladies. These include the downhill, slalom, giant slalom, super giant, and super combined races. Different courses are prepared for the different events. A total of ten sets of medals are awarded.

The downhill event features the longest courses and the highest speeds in alpine skiing, with athletes achieving speeds up to 120 km/h. Skiers cover the distance one at a time. The fastest skier wins the competition.

In the slalom, athletes must ski a course marked with flags and gates that are spaced much closer together than in the downhill event, giant slalom, or super giant slalom. In this competition, athletes must ski two courses, and the sum of their results makes up their total time.

In the giant slalom, the gates are placed farther apart than in the slalom, but not as far apart as in the super-G. Men’s races have 56 to 70 gates, while ladies’ have 46 to 58. The result is the sum of the skier’s times on two different courses.

The super giant (Super-G) incorporates aspects of both the downhill and the giant slalom. In the super giant, athletes achieve speeds just as high as in the downhill, but the course trajectory is similar to the course trajectory in the slalom. Athletes ski a course on which the gates are placed at about the same distance apart as in the giant slalom. Each skier gets only one attempt at the course.

The super combination incorporates aspects of both the downhill and the slalom. The downhill is sometimes replaced by the super giant.


  • Reinforced plastic boots are specific to the competition discipline. Bindings are the link between the boots and the skis. Gloves are made of leather or synthetic material
  • Special plastic boots. Bindings secure the skier’s feet to the skis. Alpine skiing gloves are made of leather or synthetic material.
  • Ski goggles protect the eyes against wind, snow, increased UV radiation at high elevations, and glare from the snow.
  • The helmet protects the athlete from injury and should fit the head tightly.
  • Ski poles for the downhill and super giant are curved, allowing reduced air resistance during descent.
  • Skis are made of various materials (wood or composite fibers) and are individually crafted for each athlete. Downhill skis are 30% longer than those used in the slalom. This allows for additional accuracy at high speeds.
  • Skin-tight racing suits are made of materials that minimize air resistance.

Julia Ford

As one of four skiing siblings in a ski racing family, the path to the U.S. Ski Team was pretty clear for Julia Ford, who was ripping around Vermont's Okemo Mountain Resort at age three. She spent three seasons on the U.S. Development Team and a couple on the "Trench Tour” (AKA NorAm/Europa Cup) before she was able to score World Cup points during the 2012 season, which confirmed what coaches saw coming for a long time – Ford is ready to unleash.


SOCHI, Russia -- Most Olympic athletes say they try to psych themselves into treating this grandest of competitions just like any other.

Julia Mancuso opens up the floodgates and lets it all in -- the scale, the glitz, the high stakes and high emotion. She ratchets up the expectations and the ante for herself. She packs a tiara for the medals ceremony.

It obviously works for her.

Mancuso had struggled through the early part of the World Cup season, and said she had to basically scrap it and hit reset over the holidays. On Monday, as usual, she skied her best when it mattered most to the wider world outside the snow fences.

She crushed the downhill portion of the super-combined event Monday morning and did just enough in the afternoon slalom run to elbow her way onto the podium, third behind Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany and Austria's Nicole Hosp.

Ford 34th in Val d'Isere DH
2012's Alpine Skiing Crashes - Universal Sports
Olympian Ford hasn't forgotten where she came from

Julia Ford trains at Cannon Mountain before Olympics Ford: 'I am over the moon'

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FRANCONIA, N.H. —Returning from Europe for a few days rest before headed to the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Julia Ford of Plymouth was home in New Hampshire this week, training slalom at Cannon Mountain.

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A graduate of the Holderness School and her class president, Julia, was out with their team for a little training time with her mother, Lori Ford, who is a ski coach and former member of the Middlebury Ski Team.

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