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Skiing and boardsports disciplines

The different disciplines in alpine skiing

Downhill

Slalom courses are the shortest, but they have the greatest number of gates, as well as the narrowest. The giant slalom requires a great deal of accuracy, a good sense of rhythm, and enough power to optimally tackle each turn.
As its name indicates, the giant slalom's course is longer than the slalom's. The gates are also further spaced, which causes wider turns.

Super G

This is a compromise between the downhill and the giant slalom. The difference in altitude in the Super G is slightly less than that in the downhill, but the course is prepared in nearly the same way.
Unlike the downhill, the competitors cannot try out the course before the official race. As they have limited time for recognition, they must know how to quickly memorize all the physical parameters of the race.

Ski jumping

A winter sport in which the skiers descend a slope on a ramp to launch off the ski jump, aiming to travel as far as possible. In addition to distance, the judges award points for style in mid-air and for the landing.
The skis used are long and wide.

Combined

Henceforward, the combined is a sport in its own right where the participants must perform a downhill round followed by a round of slalom in the same day. This event highlights versatile skiers who know how to use their speed in the downhill and outdo others in dexterity and technique in the slalom.

Cross-country skiing

Cross-country skiing is performed on flat or hilly land. It belongs to the Nordic family of skiing activities, which also includes the Nordic combined and the biathlon. It is the consummate winter endurance sport.

Off-piste skiing

Skiing or boarding off-piste consists in travelling up and down unmarked, unmonitored, and ungroomed slopes. This sport conveys more thrills than on-piste skiing, but it is also more dangerous.
Skiers should think about taking precautions and calling on a guide.

Definitions relating to extreme (freestyle) disciplines of skiing and snowboarding

The skiing discipline has evolved considerably in recent years. At one time, skiing was based on the downhill, the slalom, and ski jumping. Thanks to the improvement in manufacturing techniques and in adapting snowboards to skis, twin-tip skis have appeared and given skiers access to an extreme sport. The evolution of the ski has given rise to technical terms that are now commonly used:

Rider

A term used to designate skiers and snowboarders performing their sport in an extreme mode (freestyle, backcountry, etc.).

Freestyle

Freestyle consists in developing increasingly complex aerial tricks, on higher and higher jumps, and by sliding down metal rails, or by combining all of these. Freestyle skiing allows for every whim.

Freeride

Freeride consists in ascending to the summit of a mountain or going outside marked paths (off-piste), and descending in the powder, being the first to leave tracks, all while avoiding avalanches and crevasses. In this sport, the skier can play with the slope more easily: making large curves, turning "on the lip", and so on.

Tricks

Figures performed by a skier or snowboarder.

Skicross / Boardercross

These disciplines are performed on a piste made up of moguls and banked turns to spice up the race taking place between four skiers or snowboarders who are prepared to do anything just to get to the bottom first. This results in a frenetic race with jumps and falls an explosive mixture.

Half Pipe

A half-pipe is a snow structure used for freestyle skiing and snowboarding. It is a half-tube shape in snow used for performing aerial tricks.

Slopestyle

Slopestyle is a sport that takes place on a run. A slopestyle course brings together all the components from freestyle onto one piste: quarters, tables, rails, and the half-pipe. The skier must link these tricks together optimally. Much more comprehensive than big air, slopestyle (along with the half-pipe) is on its way to becoming the benchmark competition format in freestyle.

Backcountry freestyle

A fusion of freeride and freestyle. In this, a rider performs tricks on kickers in the backcountry fashioned using natural elements, such as a combe, a ledge, or a tree. Backcountry freestyle skis are wider than standard freestyle skis, since riding and landing are on unprepared snow.

Flat

Flat tricks consist in linking tricks on skis or snowboard while riding on the piste itself, occasionally using undulations in the terrain.


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