Men’s and women’s alpine skiing both debuted on the Olympic Games programme in 1936 at Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The only event that year was a combined competition of both downhill and slalom. In 1948, this was held along with separate downhill and slalom races. Four years later, the giant slalom was added, and in 1988, the super giant slalom became a fourth separate event.
Downhill is characterized by the longest course and the highest speeds in alpine skiing.
The Super-G, or super giant slalom, is a competition that combines the speed of the downhill with the more precise and technical turns of the giant slalom. In these competitions, each skier competes on a single course and the fastest time determines the winner.
Slalom is an alpine ski race with the shortest course and the most turns. Giant slalom has fewer turns and wider, smoother turns. In both races, each skier makes two runs down two different tracks drawn on the same slope. The times are combined, and the lowest total time determines the winner. In the alpine combined, a shortened downhill is followed by a one-run slalom. The times are added up, and the lowest total time determines the winner.
Ski Cross includes a qualification phase in which the athletes have to ski down a natural slope, modified with artificial elements, such as jumps, bumps, and parabolic curves, in the shortest possible time, and an elimination phase in which four athletes compete at the same time for each heat.
The mixed team parallel slalom made its Olympic debut in 2018. The race consists of a mixed competition between men and women, each competing in pairs in a parallel giant slalom.