Slalom – consists of two runs on a 120-200 metre vertical drop for women, and a 140-220 metre vertical drop for men. The number of direction changes are 30-35% of vertical drop.
Slalom, a technical event, is the shortest course in alpine skiing, but requires a combination of speed, agility and adaptability in negotiating the shortest radius or quickest turns. A course consists of a series of gates formed by single gates of blue and red poles. The skier must pass around the gate poles forming the gate with both skis and feet for proper passage. A slalom course can contain as many as 77 gates or direction changes for men and 70 for women. The course, although generally of a consistent rhythm, also has combinations gates called hairpins and flushes, which allow for changes in direction and speed variation to allow the athlete a fair, yet challenging course. The athlete selects the fastest “line” down the course by minimizing the turn radius by crossing as close to the gate as possible skiing around the pole with their upper body in a cross blocking motion. Every competitor has two runs, unless disqualified or does not finish following the first run, and the gold medal is awarded to the lowest combined time for the two completed runs.
Giant Slalom – consists of two runs with a 250-400 metre vertical drop for both women and men. The number of direction changes is 11-15% of vertical drop.
Giant slalom, as the name indicates, is similar to slalom in that it is also considered a technical event, but with the key differences being a longer vertical course with increased vertical distance between fewer gates then the slalom event. Characteristics of the giant slalom are turns that are faster, as the competitor has far more momentum, but completed in a very fluid and smooth motion. As in slalom, the competitor must pass around the gates with both skis and feet. Giant slalom gates themselves also differ from slalom gates: instead of a set of two single poles as in slalom, they consist of a set of two double poles linked together by a piece of fabric known as a panel. As in slalom, every competitor has two runs, unless disqualified following the first run, and the gold medal is awarded to the lowest combined time for the two completed runs.
Super G – consists of 1 run at a 350-600 metre vertical drop for women, and a 400-650 metre vertical drop for men. The number of direction changes is 10% of the vertical drop (min. 30 women, 35 men).
The Super Giant Slalom, or Super G, is a speed event that combines the speed challenges of downhill combined with the technical challenge of the precision turns of giant slalom. The course is significantly longer with increased vertical distance between gates, hence the increased speeds. The gates are set such that require the athlete to pass between gates, although often with increased clearance of the gate, as not to hinder their momentum nor balance. Each competitor gets only one run, of which the lowest time earns the gold medal.