HISTORY OF PARA ALPINE SKIING 

Para alpine skiing is practised worldwide and features six disciplines: downhill, slalom, giant slalom, super-G, super combined, and team events. Athletes combine speed and agility while racing down slopes at speeds of around 100km/h.

The sport was developed following the end of the Second World War, when injured ex-servicemen returned to the sport they loved. In 1948, the first Para alpine skiing courses were offered.

Competition accommodates male and female athletes with a physical impairment such as spinal injury, cerebral palsy, amputation, les autres conditions and blindness/vision impairment.

Athletes compete in three categories based on their functional ability, and a results calculation system allows athletes with different impairments to compete against each other.

Skiers with blindness/vision impairment are guided through the course by sighted guides using signals to indicate the course to follow. Some athletes use equipment that is adapted to their needs including single ski, sit-ski or orthopaedic aids.

World Para Alpine Skiing acts as the International Federation for the sport which is co-ordinated by the World Para Alpine Skiing Technical Committee.

World Para Alpine Skiing Strategic Plan

 

 

Five events are on the Paralympic programme: downhill, super-G, super combined, giant slalom, and slalom.

DOWNHILL

Downhill consists of one run per competitor


Each athlete competes one run down the course with their finish time determining the final order based on ascending time. Athletes ski down a long, steep course and must pass through a relatively few number of gates. 

If an athlete misses a gate they are disqualified. 

SLALOM

Slalom consists of two runs on difference courses


Each athlete competes two runs on the same day on different courses. 

Times from the two runs are added together to determine the final order based on ascending total time. It is a technical event over a shorter course than other events but with a high number of gates that the athlete must negotiate. 

If an athlete misses a gate they are disqualified.

GIANT SLALOM 

Giant slalom has a longer course and fewer gates than the slalom


Each athlete completes two runs on the same day on different courses. 

Times from the two runs are added together to determine the final order based on ascending total time. It is a technical event with a longer course and fewer gates than the slalom. The number of gates is determined by the vertical drop of the course. 

If an athlete misses a gate they are disqualified.

SUPER-G

Super-G is a speed event


A speed event where each athlete completes one run down the course with their finish time determining the final order based on ascending time.

The course is generally shorter than downhill but longer than slalom and giant slalom.

SUPER COMBINED

Super combined is the final result of two different disciplines


A combined competition which represents the final result of two disciplines - usually one of either a downhill or super-G and a single run of slalom.

Each athlete competes two runs on the same day on different courses. Times from the two runs are added together to determine the final order based on ascending total time.

COMPETITION HISTORY

The first documented Championships for skiers with an impairment were held in Badgastein, Austria, in 1948 with 17 athletes taking part. Since 1950, events have been held around the world. The introduction of sit-ski allowed people in wheelchairs (paraplegics and double above-the-knee amputees) to begin to ski and race.

The first Paralympic Winter Games took place in Örnsköldsvik in Sweden in 1976 and featured two alpine disciplines - slalom and giant slalom.

Downhill was added to the Paralympic programme in 1984 in Innsbruck, Austria, and super-G was added in 1994 at Lillehammer, Norway.

Sit-skiing was introduced as a demonstration sport at the Innsbruck 1984 Paralympics and became a medal event at the Nagano 1998 Games.

 

GROWTH OF PARA ALPINE SKIING AT THE PARALYMPIC WINTER GAMES

 
Year Countries Medal Events Male Female Total TOP 3 COUNTRIES
1976 12 28 64 14 78 1. SUI 2. GER 3. AUT
1980 15 22 98 34 132 1. AUT 2. SUI 3. USA
1984 21 56 150 44 194 1. AUT 2. USA 3. GER
1988 21 43 167 36 203 1. AUT 2. GER 3. USA
1992 23 48 165 47 212 1. USA 2. GER 3. AUT
1994 24 66 175 45 220 1. USA 2. GER 3. FRA
1998 26 54 179 50 229 1. USA 2. ESP 3. SUI
2002 30 53 145 49 194 1. USA 2. AUT 3. GER
2006 30 24 146 44 190 1. GER 2. FRA 3. USA
2010 37 30 135 56 191 1. GER 2. CAN 3. SVK
2014 40 32 158 56 214 1. RUS 2. GER 3. FRA
2018 33 30 101 40 141 1. SVK 2. FRA 3. GER

 

ALL-TIME PARALYMPIC ALPINE SKIING MEDALS TABLE 

RANK COUNTRY GOLD SILVER BRONZE TOTAL
1 USA 91 96 70 257
2 Austria 90 88 91 269
3 Switzerland 56 39 36 131
4 Germany 45 39 24 108
5 France 39 41 34 114

 

TOP 5 MALE PARALYMPIC MEDALLISTS

RANK ATHLETE YEARS COMPETING GOLD SILVER BRONZE TOTAL
1 Gerd Schoenfelder (GER) 1992-2010 16 4 2 22
2 Rolf Heinzmann (SUI)  1980-2002 12 2 0 14
3 Martin Braxenthaler (GER) 1998-2010 10 1 1 12
4 Hans Burn (SUI) 1988-2002 6 5 3 14
5 Greg Mannino (USA)  1988-1998 6 4 2 12

 

TOP 5 FEMALE PARALYMPIC MEDALLISTS

RANK ATHLETE YEARS COMPETING GOLD  SILVER BRONZE TOTAL
1 Reinhild Moeller (GER) 1980-2006 16 2 1 19
2 Sarah Will (USA) 1992-2002 12 1 0 13
3 Henrieta Farkasova (SVK) 2010- 9 2 1 12
4 Lauren Woolstencroft (CAN) 2002-2010 8 1 1 10
5 Marie Bochet (FRA) 2014- 8 0 0 8