This is not my content as noted below: It is a great guide that can be found on wayback.org

It does a great job teaching a beginner the basics to alpine ski and snowboard racing.

ALPINE EDUCATION GUIDEBOOK - BOOK 1
INTRODUCTION TO SKI RACING
FOR VOLUNTEERS & RACERS
Chapter 3.5
The Ski Racing Disciplines
Revision:   03/15/99
Author: Victor Raguso
ALPINE SKI RACING EDUCATION SERIES
New York State Ski Racing Association (NYSSRA)
Review, proofing, and editorial assistance was performed by the NYSSRA Alpine Education Committee, whose members include:
Randy Abplanalp      Marty Besant
Peggy Besant             Doug Cunningham
Stacy Mosser             Kathy Okoniewski
Steve Travis               Paul VanSlyke
The contributions and advice of Thelma Hoessler, National Chairperson of the Alpine Education Working Group for the USSA, are also, gratefully, acknowledged.

 

CONTENTS:
3.5   The Ski Racing Disciplines
   3.5.1  The Downhill [Speed Event]
   3.5.2  Super-G [Speed Event]
   3.5.3  Giant Slalom [Technical Event]
   3.5.4  "Special" Slalom [Technical Event]
   3.5.5  The Parallel, or Dual Race
   3.5.6  The Combined
   3.5.7  The Multi-Race and Combi-Course [Instructional]
Bibliography

 

3.5    The Ski Racing Disciplines:


Numbers in parenthesis, i.e. (603.3.8), refer to articles in the ICR.

20 minutes: 17 minutes for presentation & 3 minutes for questions & review.

As ski racing developed, it evolved into various forms, known as disciplines. Each of them share the common characteristics of Alpine ski racing:

1.  Skiing on a set course that is marked out using control gates.
2.  A clearly defined start and finish.
3.  Racers start in a pre-determined sequence.
4.  All racers wear numbered bibs.
5.  Electronic timing determines the results.
6.  A common set of rules, governed by the FIS, controls the race.
Speed skating competes over a number of different distances, as does swimming, track and field, and bicycle racing.  So, too, does Alpine Ski Racing.  However, in addition to having events that cover different course lengths, the technical demands of each distance tests different skill sets.  In bicycle racing and running, the distances test endurance, tactics, and efficiency of motion while the shorter races test power, reaction, and top speed.

Different skills and different approaches to training and conditioning are employed by the athletes that focus on distance or sprinting.  So, too, in ski racing the athletes that focus on the technical events, the equivalent of sprints, train and condition differently than the speed event specialists, equivalent to the distance runners.

This metaphor is not without flaw.  In running and cycling it is the short distances that exhibit the highest speeds while in ski racing it's the other way around.  The longest race discipline, the downhill, exhibits the greatest speeds while the shortest and quickest, the slalom, exhibits the least.

Each discipline has its unique elements and athletic demands, and yet all share a common denominator.  Skiers that demonstrate a proficiency throughout the range of skiing disciplines are revered as great champions and great skiers.
.

Alpine Ski Racing's Common Elements:
     Set course with control gates             Numbered bibs.
     Clearly defined start and finish.          Electronic timing.
     Pre-determined start sequence.         FIS rule book.
.
Keep these Key Principles in mind:
Caution -- Fairness -- Consistency
Fun -- The Jury -- Timeliness
.
The Racer Is The Customer.
The Mission Is To Satisfy The Customer.
.
 

3.5.1   The Downhill (Speed Event):

Numbers in parenthesis, i.e. (603.3.8), refer to articles in the ICR.

{Display graphic 3.5.1 on overhead projector}
3.5.1 -- The Downhill Course
Picabo Street in the Nagano Olympic Downhill
To this day, the downhill is the premiere event in ski racing. Winning Olympic or World Championship Gold in downhill is ski racing's biggest prize. From the first alpine ski races, where there were no precisely defined courses, to the modern era, the fastest route down the hill is personified in the downhill event.

The modern discipline of downhill employs a course set designed to exploit terrain features to optimize speed, provide a challenge, and protect the competitor. (702.3)

 Downhill is referred to as a speed event.

The downhill rewards fine balance skills, aerodynamic racing postures, and strength.

Of all the disciplines, downhill courses cover the longest distance, at the highest speed, over the greatest drop in elevation, with the most distance from one gate to another. (701)

A Downhill is characterized by the four components of technique, courage, speed, and condition. It must be possible to ski the downhill course from the start to the finish with different speeds. (702.2)

The downhill race is a one run race, meaning that the competitor skis the course once only, and the fastest time wins. (706.1)

Downhill racers are required to participate in practice runs before the race, referred to as training runs. (704.1)

If a competitor or forerunner fails to wear a helmet, designed and intended for ski racing, he will not be allowed to start. (614.2.3) The Downhill, both training and racing, requires a helmet appropriate for ski racing speed events. (707)

The Downhill employs a fixed interval start where racers leave the start, one after the other, separated from each other by a fixed time interval. (621.3; 622; 704.7)
.
 


3.5.2   Super-G [Speed Event]:

Numbers in parenthesis, i.e. (603.3.8), refer to articles in the ICR.

{Display graphic 3.5.2 on overhead projector}
3.5.2 -- The Super-G Course
Picabo Street, Winning Gold, in the Nagano Olympic Super-G
The Super-G is the most recently introduced discipline .

The Super-G is a speed event.

Set like downhill courses over shorter distances, with more turning, and limiting the straight gliding found in downhill, it is a fast event that rewards fine balance skills, strength, and a tactical selection of line and timing. (1001.2; 1002{all})

The Super-G is a one run race. (1006)

If a competitor or forerunner fails to wear a helmet, designed and intended for ski racing, he will not be allowed to start. (614.2.3) The Super-G requires a helmet appropriate for ski racing speed events. (1007)

The Super-G course may be inspected but no training runs are provided for, unless they are elected by the Jury as a method of inspection. (1002.3; 1004{all})

The Super-G employs a fixed interval start where racers leave the start, one after the other, separated from each other by a fixed time interval (perhaps 45 seconds). (621.3; 622; 1005)

The Super-G may be the least understood of the race disciplines. It was developed in the early 1980s in response to a desire that the overall World Cup winner be a skier that exhibits polyvalent (cross discipline) skills. At that time, the top levels of ski racing had evolved into technical event specialists and speed event specialists. It was intended that Super-G be a speed event that technical event racers can be comfortable with.
. .
 


3.5.3   Giant Slalom [Technical Event]:

Numbers in parenthesis, i.e. (603.3.8), refer to articles in the ICR.
{Display graphic 3.5.3 on overhead projector}



The Giant Slalom, was the third discipline to be introduced, and is classified as a technical event.

It is set over slightly longer courses than Slalom, but shorter than Super-G, with greater distances between gates. It emphasizes fast technical turns that are rounder and longer than those found in Slalom. (901{all}; 902{all})

The Giant Slalom rewards precision, control, and balance.

The Giant Slalom is referred to as a technical event because it emphasizes subtle technical skills required to turn, negotiate line, and manage speed.

The Giant Slalom race is a two run race. The times for both runs are added together to yield a total time. The fastest total time determines a racer's order of finish. (906.1)

Helmets manufactured for ski racing are required for all competitors in ... all USSA Giant Slalom events for all age categories (May 1995). (Comp Guide p30)

The Giant Slalom course may be inspected but no training runs are allowed. (904)

The Giant Slalom employs a fixed interval start where racers leave the start, one after the other, separated from each other by a fixed time interval (perhaps 45 seconds). (621.3; 622; 905{all})
.


3.5.4   The "Special" Slalom (Technical Event):

Numbers in parenthesis, i.e. (603.3.8), refer to articles in the ICR.
{Display graphic 3.5.4 on overhead projector}

3.5.4 -- The Slalom Course
 
The second discipline that was developed was the Special Slalom, known today (simply) as Slalom.

Special Slalom was the first well defined race discipline, so some historians regard it as the first codified race discipline.

The modern discipline of Slalom employs a course set designed to exploit terrain features in a manner that demands great technical skills to turn, control speed, and optimize line. (801{all}; 802{all})

Slalom courses cover the shortest distance, at the lowest speed, over the smallest drop in elevation, with the least distance from one gate to another. Slalom rewards quickness, balance, and aggressiveness. (801{all}; 802{all}; 803{all})

The Slalom is referred to as a technical event because it emphasizes subtle technical skills required to turn, negotiate line, and manage speed.

The Slalom race is a two run race. The times for both runs are added together to yield a total time. The fastest total time determines a racer's order of finish, or result. (806.1)

There are mandatory course elements for Slalom racing. Specifically there must be a minimum of three hairpin combinations and from one to three vertical gate combination(s) consisting of from three to four gates. (803.2)

The Slalom course may be inspected but no training runs are allowed. (804.1)

The Slalom start does not separate one racer from the other by fixed intervals of time, but is irregular. (805.1)

.  


3.5.5   The Parallel, or Dual Race:

Numbers in parenthesis, i.e. (603.3.8), refer to articles in the ICR.
{Display graphic 3.5.5 on overhead projector}

3.5.5 -- The Parallel Course (Dual)

A Parallel Event employs a technical event format wherein two courses are set side by side in such a manner as to make them as alike as possible in length, difficulty, terrain, and average speed. (1101; 1104.3)

One of the two courses is set entirely with the use of blue gates (right hand going down) and the other entirely with the use of red gates (left hand going down). (1104.2) They are identified, one from the other, as red course and blue course.

Racers are paired together in a ladder. Each pair of racers runs simultaneously, one on red course and one on blue course. After completion of the 1st run they exchange courses and run again to complete the 2nd run. (1110{all})
{Display graphic 3.5.5a on overhead projector}
 

 
As the start is simultaneous, only the difference in time between the competitors at the finish will be registered (1109.1).

The first competitor that breaks one of the finish beams starts the chronometer and receives time <<zero>>, the following competitors stop the chronometer and receives the time difference to the first competitor (1109.1).

If both competitors fall in either the first or second run of any round, the first competitor to reach the finish successfully will advance to the next round. If both competitors do not finish, the competitor who successfully skied the furthest distance will advance to the next round (1112.2).

The competitor that does not finish or is disqualified in the first run, does not start in a second run (1112.3). If the other competitor finishes, they win the round and advance.

The competition ladder for parallel is arranged in such a way that the top four ranked competitors cannot run against each other until the semi-final round (see illustration). The object of protecting the best ranked competitors works throughout the ladder, matching the strongest against the weakest until (at least) the quarter-final rounds.

The finals of a competition should not include more than 32 competitors. These 32 competitors may be either entered directly or be the first 32 finishers from qualification competitions (1110.1).

Sixteen pairs of competitors are formed in the following manner:

The competitors are grouped to run-off, as explained above, so as to ensure that the most skillful racers in the competition are not eliminated early.
.
 

3.5.6   The Combined:

Numbers in parenthesis, i.e. (603.3.8), refer to articles in the ICR.

The combined is not one event discipline, but a combination of two. Racers compete in a downhill race and a slalom race. Their finish times for both races are added together to determine the winner.

The combined is usually part of World Championship or Olympic programs, but is not often run apart from those forums.

 


3.5.7   The Multi-Race and Combi-Course [Instructional]:

Numbers in parenthesis, i.e. (603.3.8), refer to articles in the ICR.

The multi-event is a special event for instructional level juniors, JIV & JV.

The combi-course, unique to NYSSRA, is a single course that combines gate sequences set in Slalom, Giant Slalom, and Super-G format.

The combi-course exercises the young racersí mastery of fundamental skills, rather than focusing on a sub-set of skills unique to one discipline.

The combi-course de-emphasizes the use of specialized equipment or training focused on a single discipline.

 

ALPINE EDUCATION GUIDEBOOK - BOOK 1
INTRODUCTION TO SKI RACING
FOR VOLUNTEERS & RACERS
Chapter 4
Best Practice in Ski Racing
Revision:   05/15/99
Author: Victor Raguso
ALPINE SKI RACING EDUCATION SERIES
New York State Ski Racing Association (NYSSRA)
Review, proofing, and editorial assistance was performed by the NYSSRA Alpine Education Committee, whose members include:
Randy Abplanalp      Marty Besant
Peggy Besant             Doug Cunningham
Stacy Mosser             Kathy Okoniewski
Steve Travis               Paul VanSlyke
The contributions and advice of Thelma Hoessler, National Chairperson of the Alpine Education Working Group for the USSA, are also, gratefully, acknowledged.


 
CONTENTS:
4. Best Practice In Ski Racing
   4.1 Concerns While Setting A Race Course
   4.2 Crowd Control, Course Access, and The Competitor
   4.3 Evacuation Services -- The National Ski Patrol
   4.4 Protective Equipment
   4.4.1  Netting
   4.4.2  Cushions
   4.4.3  Fencing
   4.4.4  Barricades
   4.4.5  Obstacles
   4.5 General Standards of Good Practice
Bibliography

 

4.   BEST PRACTICE IN SKI RACING:

25 minutes: 18 minutes for presentation & 7 minutes for questions & review.

We are mindful with each decision and judgment made while setting the course, and running the race, that we employ good practices. There is no rule, regulation, or requirement more important. Care should always be exercised to avoid obvious hazards and run a problem free event.

The following discussion is not intended to be a complete treatise on this, the most important, subject. Years of training and experience contribute to the competency of each high level official charged with the task of watch guarding good practice. Also, standards and practice change constantly as we advance down the path of continuous improvement. However, this general overview will provide, at least, a conceptual understanding of the need for good practices and some of the activities surrounding them.
 

Keep these Key Principles in mind:
Caution -- Fairness -- Consistency
Fun -- The Jury -- Timeliness

 

4.1   Concerns While Setting A Race Course:

{Display graphic 4.1 on overhead projector}
.
4.1 -- Course Setting Practice
Preferred Course Setting Practice
When setting the race course, awareness of problem zones should be a primary concern.
Scrutinize fixed obstacles, terrain features, and fall zones as the course is being set.
The Race Jury inspects the course and approves it, or recommends changes, but the course setter should strive to set a challenging and legal course using best known practices.
Keep these Key Principles in mind:
Caution -- Fairness -- Consistency
Fun -- The Jury -- Timeliness
.
Caution is an important concern of the course setter. They have the right to recommend (to the Jury) the introduction of changes in the competition terrain. (605.6.1)

As courses are set, constant scrutiny is given to the existence of areas that may pose problems as the race is being conducted.

At each turn, or gate, in a race course there is a (somewhat) predictable fall zone. It is the region where a racer is (most) likely to slide or tumble after a fall, before coming to a stop.

Fall zones should be free of unnecessary impediments or barriers.
{Display graphic 4.1.1 on overhead projector}
4.1.1 -- Fall Zones
A starting rule of thumb for determining how far the fall zone extends below the gate is to multiply a skierís body length (6 feet or 2 meters) by a factor dependent upon discipline. Start with slalom: at 6 ft. x 4 = 24 feet (8 meters). Double that for each discipline in rank by speed: GS = 50 ft. (15 meters); GS = 100 ft. (30 meters); DH = 200 ft. (60 meters). These values may need to be increased depending upon slope gradient, slope conditions, racer ability, etc. They are not absolute values but merely a starting guideline.

Scrutiny is also directed to the "skiability" of the course. Courses that require acrobatics unnatural to skiing fundamentals are discouraged, as are levels of difficulty that exceed the average ability of the racers attending that event. (605.7.1)

The course setter usually works in conjunction with a crew assigned to assist. (614.1.2.1)

Sometimes upon completion, the course setter, and one or more of the crew, usually ski the course to ensure that it is skiable and makes appropriate use of terrain features.

Also, forerunners are carefully observed, and report to the Jury, to ensure that the course is skiable. (607.3; 607.7)

Before the race can start, and usually before inspection by the competitors, the Jury will inspect and approve the course. (603.4.6.1; 605.3.2)

The Referee and Technical Delegate have specific responsibilities connected with the course.

The Technical Delegate's, along with the Jury's, chief concern is that the course adheres to the minimum technical standards for the level and discipline being run, and examines that the course provides a challenge appropriate to alpine ski racing. (603.4.9.4; 624.2; 625.2)

If the course (or race) does not adhere to the minimum technical standards, this does not necessarily dictate that changes should be made to bring the course into conformance (depending upon the nature of the non-conformance). Another option is to assess the penalty appropriate to the issue in question, when calculating the race penalty.

The Jury or the Technical Delegate may request that the Referee review features and consider an appropriate change or adjustment. The Technical Delegate usually does not specify what changes are necessary, but relies upon the Referee's knowledge and experience to do what is appropriate for the situation.

The Referee is most responsible for judging that the course is appropriate for the average ability level of the field. Should any changes be necessary, the Referee has the authority to alter the course as required. (603.4.10)

 


4.2   Crowd Control, Course Access, and Competitor Protection:


{Display graphic 4.2 on overhead projector}
 

4.2 -- Crowd Control
Crowd Control & Course Access
Skiers and officials on the course can be a distraction, or worse, for the racer.
Keep the "fall zones" clear.
Course access should be controlled.
No movement on course is allowed during the Downhill training, or race.
Keep these Key Principles in mind:
Caution -- Fairness -- Consistency
Fun -- The Jury -- Timeliness
 

The individuals that are assigned the duty to control access to the course and movements on the course are known as course stewards.

Often, where trails cross, it is required that a course steward be posted to serve as a kind of crossing guard to ensure that skiers don't cross through the course while a racer is approaching. (603.3.8)

When running speed events, the trail where the course is set is usually closed to the public. Access to the course, even by officials and coaches, is restricted during the conduct of the official training and race. (704.8) (Comp Guide p28)

The finish area should be completely fenced in, to provide an area that is clear of other skiers, spectators, or officials, where the skier can execute a stop without hindrance or interference. (615.1.3)

Crowd IconBesides their duties controlling entry and exit points along the course, and the movement of course workers or coaches on the course, the course steward's duties may vary according to the instructions of the Chief of Course, or one of the Chief's appointed assistants.

The organizer usually identifies areas where spectators may observe the race, without becoming a hindrance to the execution of the race. This may also provide for the provision of scoreboards and public announcement facilities that enhance the spectators awareness and enjoyment of the race event.

Pop fences are generally used for crowd control, especially to keep people out of the finish area.

It is generally considered good practice to employ fences across entry and exit points to the race course to better ensure controlled access to the course.

 


4.3   Evacuation Services -- The National Ski Patrol:

{Display graphic 4.3 on overhead projector}
.
4.3 -- The Ski Patrol
The National Ski Patrol
The National Ski Patrol has been trained in the immediate first aid skills relevant for skiing.
They are equipped with the training and equipment necessary to evacuate an injured skier from the slopes and transport them to a first aid room for evaluation.
The Race Committee and Chief of Race ensures that the Ski Patrol is notified in advance of race day when and where the course will be set and the race run.
Keep these Key Principles in mind:
Caution -- Fairness -- Consistency
Fun -- The Jury -- Timeliness
.Ski Patrol Poster
Itís part of everyday life, when human beings engage in physical activity, that they sometimes stumble, fall, and injure themselves. When that happens, we should be prepared to help.

The National Ski Patrol has been trained in the immediate first aid skills relevant for skiing. They are equipped with the training and equipment necessary to evacuate an injured skier from the slopes and transport them to a first aid room for evaluation.

The race organizing committee ensures that the ski patrol is notified in advance of race day, usually through the Chief of Race, when and where the course will be set and the race run.

The ski patrol ensures that adequate first aid services will be available on race day by scheduling the personnel required and posting equipment and patrollers to the trail where the race will be conducted.

The ski patrol will often elect to maintain a fully equipped evacuation sled at the start, staffed with a patroller, throughout the race. Some patrols maintain more than one sled. The organizer should provide an area for them to locate the sled and maintain communication with the patroller.

Often, it is found, that the start referee should be equipped with a radio and that this official can maintain direct (face to face) contact with the patroller(s), posted on duty. There are other methods of maintaining communication with the patrol; this suggestion is offered as one possible means.

It is often recommended that the Jury, or other appropriate officials, maintain communication with the ski patrol on their radio channels. This must be coordinated with the ski patrol by the organizer as neither the ski patrol nor the organizer welcomes unwanted additional radio traffic on channels reserved for their use.

 


4.4  Protective Equipment:

{Display graphic 4.4 on overhead projector}
.
4.4 -- Protective Equipment
Equipment For Competitor Protection
NETTING - is used to redirect, catch, or decelerate a skier to a controlled stop.
CUSHIONS - are used to protect a skier from directly impacting immovable objects.  "Willy Bags" are versatile cushions that are often used.
FENCES - are used for crowd control and to direct skiers and racers along controlled paths.
Keep these Key Principles in mind:
Caution -- Fairness -- Consistency
Fun -- The Jury -- Timeliness
.
CAUTION!
The use, or deployment, of these materials should be done by those experienced with their use.   The existence of a fence, net, or cushion, may provide a false sense of security if it is used improperly or inappropriately.   The information offered here does not give the reader sufficient information to make them qualified to use the materials described.

To offer a simple illustration, a cushion that is wrapped around a lift tower is a welcome feature for someone colliding with it at 2 or 3 kilometers per hour.  At 40 kilometers per hour, however, the cushion is unlikely to be adequate.  Do not underestimate the skill and experience required in the selection and deployment of the items described here.
 

 


4.4.1   Netting:

 

Netting is one method for protecting racers in speed events from skiing off the trail or into fixed objects. Netting is slung loosely and stretches to decelerate the skier, bringing them to a controlled halt.

There are fence systems available that, when properly installed, are designed to collapse and slow the racer to a controlled halt.

Netting and fencing should be used with slip sheets, where applicable, to prevent entanglement and the potential for injuries resulting therefrom.

Sometimes, slip sheets are not used where the skier is likely to pitch straight into a net. Slip sheets tend to stiffen the net and reduce its capacity to flex and absorb impact (decelerate the skier).

Engineering ICONNetting systems are often designed by an engineering firm that is contracted to estimate the potential velocities and forces that need to be contained under race conditions. Employing "common sense", experience, or personal judgment, when deploying nets, cannot duplicate the proper engineering of these systems.
 

 


4.4.2   Cushions:

 

A cushion is a padding or soft shroud that is used to isolate barricades and obstacles and serve as a softer impact surface.

The best known, and most versatile, of the cushions is the "Willy Bag". Named for Willy Schafler. It is a tough reinforced nylon bag, as large as a mattress, and filled with Styrofoam peanuts. Similar cushions are used as landing pads in track and field for the high jump and pole vault events.

Large padded mattresses are also used as cushions. They are less effective as they cannot flex and absorb impact as effectively as nets.

So too, bales of straw are used as cushions. If bales of straw are used, they are contained within a plastic bag to prevent them from getting wet. Also, the bailing twine is cut. These precautions are taken to exclude the possibility of the straw getting wet and freezing solid, or the material being too tightly compacted. (702.3)
 

 


4.4.3   Fencing:

 

Pop fencing is often used for crowd and traffic control. It is a temporary obstacle not capable of restraining skiers that collide with it.

Pop fencing can be reinforced with bamboo poles. With adequate reinforcement, prescribed according to the average speed of a moving skier it will be expected to restrain, it is capable of stopping a racer short of a dangerous precipice or immovable object. THIS SHOULD BE USED AS THE LAST LINE OF DEFENSE, AS HITTING A REINFORCED FENCE CAN EXPOSE THE SKIER TO INJURY.

When pop fencing is reinforced with bamboo, the bamboo used must be appropriate for use on a race course. Poles of this nature are sold by racing equipment suppliers, that wrap them with plastic tape in a specific a way that contains most splinters when a pole is sheared or broken.

To determine the MINIMUM number of reinforcing poles required, along a 1 meter length of pop fence, divide the average race speed (in kilometers per hour) by 20. For example, if the race is a Super-G and the speed expected is 90 kph (55 mph), that would mean 90 / 10 = 9 poles per meter (1 bamboo every 4-1/2 inches). This is a minimum rule of thumb. Different race courses and conditions may dictate that more, or less, be used.

When using a pop fence in this way the use of slip sheets must also be considered, to guard against unnecessary entanglement.
 


4.4.4   Barricades:

Barricades are emplacements that are permanent in nature. A wooden fence, side wall of a building, or a vertical rock wall are some examples.
 


4.4.5   Obstacles:

An obstacle is a fixed object or terrain feature that is immovable. Examples include telephone poles, prominent rocks, ravines, snow making hydrants, or lift towers.

 


4.5   General Standards of Good Practice:

{Display graphic 4.5 on overhead projector}
.
4.5 -- Course Setting Practice
Good Course Setting Practice
Set courses with adequate fall zones..
Take care not to direct the racer into imprudent or along technically questionable paths.
Avoid fixed obstacles.
Control course access and movement.
Coordinate with the National Ski Patrol.
Maintain good communication links.
Make everyone aware of local rules.
Keep these Key Principles in mind:
Caution -- Fairness -- Consistency
Fun -- The Jury -- Timeliness
.
Set courses with adequate fall zones.

Restrict the access, to the course of skiers and spectators, so as to eliminate the possibility of having people, or their equipment, located in the fall zones on the course. (614.1.4; 702.3)

Restrict and control course workers and course officials so as to keep them out of fall zones. (614.1.4; 667.2)

Set courses that are challenging, but do not exceed the average ability level of the race field. (605.6.1; 605.7.1)

Establish and maintain communication links between the start and the finish, and all members of the race Jury, at all times. (603.4.8; 611.1)

Establish communication links with the ski patrol and evacuation or medical personnel, and ensure that the Jury knows how to communicate through those channels. (603.3.9)

Establish that a qualified course setter has set the course and ensure that a proper course inspection has been conducted by the race Jury. (603.4.6.1; 605.3; 605.7.2)

Ensure that all competitors and coaches are aware of the local rules, and have been informed of specific procedures during the race: yellow-flag zones, course access restrictions, and the schedule for the day are just a few to remember.

Ensure that all competitors are properly equipped as required by USSA and FIS rules. Specifically look for proper helmets (designed and intended for ski racing), ski braking devices, plate/riser height conformance, and approved racing suits among other things.

More fences, nets, and cushions are better than fewer.

Engineered systems, from a qualified designer, offer the most peace of mind.
.

Alpine Ski Racing's Common Elements:
     Set course with control gates             Numbered bibs.
     Clearly defined start and finish.          Electronic timing.
     Pre-determined start sequence.         FIS rule book.
.
Keep these Key Principles in mind:
Caution -- Fairness -- Consistency
Fun -- The Jury -- Timeliness
.
The Racer Is The Customer.
The Mission Is To Satisfy The Customer.

 
ALPINE EDUCATION GUIDEBOOK - BOOK 1
INTRODUCTION TO SKI RACING
FOR VOLUNTEERS & RACERS
Chapter 6.2 thru 6.2.4
Gate Passage Rules
Revision:   05/15/99
Author: Victor Raguso
ALPINE SKI RACING EDUCATION SERIES
New York State Ski Racing Association (NYSSRA)
Review, proofing, and editorial assistance was performed by the NYSSRA Alpine Education Committee, whose members include:
Randy Abplanalp      Marty Besant
Peggy Besant             Doug Cunningham
Stacy Mosser             Kathy Okoniewski
Steve Travis               Paul VanSlyke
The contributions and advice of Thelma Hoessler, National Chairperson of the Alpine Education Working Group for the USSA, are also, gratefully, acknowledged.

GOTO BOOK 1

CONTENTS:
6.2 Gate Passage - Right and Wrong
   6.2.0  The Duties of a Gate Judge
   6.2.1  Gate Passage in the Slalom
   6.2.1a Gate Passage in the DH; GS; and SG
   6.2.1b Gate Passage in the Parallel (Dual)
   6.2.2  Examples of Correct Gate Passage
   6.2.2.1  Hooking, Acrobatic But Legal
   6.2.3  Examples of Incorrect Gate Passage
   6.2.4  Description and Specification for the Gates
Bibliography

GOTO INDEXGOTO BOOK 1

6.2    Gate Passage -- Right and Wrong:

17 minutes total: 14 minutes for presentation, 3 minutes for questions.
Ski Racer Icon
A review of the rules governing definition of the gates, correct passage, and gate judge activity in alpine ski racing today.

The fundamental feature of alpine ski racing is the control gate. The control gate was developed early in the twentieth century in a collaboration between an English travel agent, seeking to promote recreation on the European continent, and an Austrian ski instructor in the legendary Arlberg region of the alps.

Sir Arnold Lunn, working with the Austrian ski instructor Hannes Schneider, developed the control gate. It is still in use today and is one of the distinguishing features of alpine ski racing. Two poles are set into the snow, to de-mark the beginning and end of the "gate line", which each racer must cross. The "gate line" is an imaginary line that runs across the surface of the snow between the two poles. All of the various "disciplines" of alpine ski racing employ the concept of a control gate and the "gate line".

Sir Arnold also founded the first ski club that promoted organized racing, The Kandahar Ski Club, and developed the first codified (regulated by specific rules) race discipline, the "Special" Slalom.

Therefore, the rules for gate passage are based upon the fundamental concepts laid down by Sir Arnold Lunn and the legendary Austrian, Hannes Schneider.
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6.2.0   The Duties of a Gate Judge:

 
9.2.3 -- The Gate Judge's Instructions
The Gate Judge's Instructions
To reduce confusion, or misinterpretation, the only instructions that a gate judge should offer are "BACK" or "GO".
"BACK" should be used to indicate that the racer may expect disqualification, that is he/she is not yet back far enough into the gate (663.2.1).
"GO" should be used if the competitor should expect no disqualification (663.2.2.).

 

6.2.1   Gate Passage in the Slalom:

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6.2.1 -- Correct Gate Passage - Slalom
 

6.2.1a   Gate Passage in the DH, GS, and SG:

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6.2.1a -- Correct Gate Passage - DH, GS, & SG
 

6.2.1b   Gate Passage in the Parallel:

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6.2.1b -- Correct Gate Passage - Parallel
 

6.2.2   Examples of Correct Gate Passage:

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6.2.2 -- Correct Gate Passage - Hiking


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6.2.2 -- Correct Gate Passage - Hiking


 

6.2.2.1   Hooking, Acrobatic but Legal:

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6.2.2.1 -- Correct Gate Passage - Hooking p.1 6.2.2.2 -- Correct Gate Passage - Hooking p.2
 

6.2.3   Examples of Incorrect Gate Passage:

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6.2.3 -- Incorrect Gate Passage {Display graphic 6.2.3a on overhead projector}

6.2.3a -- Straddling and Skinning


 

6.2.4   Description and Specifications for the Gates:

{Display sample Hinged Slalom Pole and sample Bamboo Pole}
 


Rigid Poles:
 

Flex poles: Slalom:
  Giant Slalom and Super-G:
  Downhill:
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ALPINE EDUCATION GUIDEBOOK - BOOK 1
INTRODUCTION TO SKI RACING
FOR VOLUNTEERS & RACERS
Chapter 6.2.5
Courses
Revision:   05/15/99
Author: Victor Raguso
ALPINE SKI RACING EDUCATION SERIES
New York State Ski Racing Association (NYSSRA)
Review, proofing, and editorial assistance was performed by the NYSSRA Alpine Education Committee, whose members include:
Randy Abplanalp      Marty Besant
Peggy Besant             Doug Cunningham
Stacy Mosser             Kathy Okoniewski
Steve Travis               Paul VanSlyke
The contributions and advice of Thelma Hoessler, National Chairperson of the Alpine Education Working Group for the USSA, are also, gratefully, acknowledged.

 
CONTENTS:
6.2.5  Courses
   6.2.5.1  Vertical and Horizontal Gates
   6.2.5.2  Hairpin Turns in the Slalom
   6.2.5.3  Proper Use of the Hairpin Turn in Slalom
   6.2.5.4  The "Flush" in Slalom
   6.2.5.5  Gate Passage Strategies and Course Inspection
   6.2.5.6  Downhill, Giant Slalom, and Super-G Courses
   6.2.5.7  More Gate Passage Strategies and Course Inspection
   6.2.5.8  Terrain Features and Hidden Gates
   6.2.5.9  The Implied Gate Pole in Downhill
   6.2.5.10  Vision Enhancement in Downhill
Bibliography

 

6.2.5  Courses:

The use of the control gate has evolved over time. It has been adapted for use in the various disciplines, and has taken on different forms as a consequence. The essence of the control gate remains the same: two vertical poles designating the beginning and end of an imaginary "gate line" that extends across the surface of the snow between the two poles.

However, adaptations have been made to enhance visibility and distance or speed (the gate panel), and to facilitate a more direct line through the gate pole (the flex gate). Adaptations have also been made in the pattern in which the gates are set to exercise various technical elements of ski racing (open gate, closed gate, flush, hairpin, corridor, and control gate).

Combining the various elements into a course set is the challenge that faces the course setter, and those elements must be appropriate to the discipline involved. For example, flushes and hairpins are common names for vertical combinations of gates, and these forms are only appropriate in the slalom. Also, the use of gate or pole color varies from discipline to discipline.

Setting a course is not merely an exercise in laying out a pattern of gates at appropriate distances. It is also dictated by the use of terrain features that will appropriately exercise the technical elements appropriate to the discipline involved. Experience is the course setter's greatest asset.

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6.2.5.1    Vertical and Horizontal Gates:

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6.2.5.1 -- Gates & Courses - Slalom
Gates are described according to the direction of their set, relative to the "fall line".

The "fall line" is the path of steepest descent, that can otherwise be thought of as the path that a soccer ball would travel if released from any given spot on the hill.

If the gates are set along the fall line, so that the gate line runs parallel to the fall line, they are set vertically.

If the gates are set across the fall line, so that the gate line runs perpendicular to the fall line, they are set horizontally.
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6.2.5.2   Hairpin Turns in Slalom:

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When two vertical gates are set in close proximity they are referred to as a combination, specifically a "vertical combination".

A "two gate vertical combination" is a special case that is referred to as a "hairpin turn".

The rules require that a minimum number of hairpins be set in each slalom course.

Hairpins can be set in one of two ways, although they are predominately set in one manner, as we shall see.

The first is so that the fastest line is achieved by skiing above the top pole and entering the first gate from the side opposite the approach. In this is case the first gate of the combination is referred to as an "over gate".

The second is so that the fastest line is achieved by skiing directly into the first gate in the combination, or "thru". The first gate, then, is referred to as a "thru gate".

It must be remembered that the description of the gates does not depict the correct legal passage. Any means used to properly cross each gate line, from any direction or in any sequence, is legal. However, there is usually one one line that results in the fastest negotiation of the gates. The descriptions here depict the fastest line.
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6.2.5.3   Proper Use of the Hairpin Turn in Slalom:

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Let's examine why the second arrangement of a hairpin, that is described as a "thru hairpin", is rarely set.
6.2.5.3 -- Gates & Courses - Slalom Hairpin
The second arrangement of a two gate vertical combination is set so that the fastest line is achieved by entering the first gate on a direct line from the gate above. In this case the first gate of the combination is referred to as an "through gate".

Setting a hairpin "through" is not considered to be good course setting practice. This is because the same race track can be described by setting a single open gate in place of the two gate vertical. So the hairpin is a "waste" of a gate.

Another reason that argues against setting a "through" hairpin is that the hairpin (when set "over") serves as a device that effects a transition in the race track, bringing it across the hill. Setting a hairpin to accomplish what can be accomplished by setting a single open gate is a "waste" of the hairpin.

Some course setters set the combination so that the last gate in the series, the one placed at the bottom of the line of four, is offset from the line established by the others. This is inconsequential since the bottom pole has no effect on the selection of the turn or racing line (it's not a turning pole). The reason this is done is to keep the pole clear of racers that may be turning late, and over-shooting the ideal line.
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6.2.5.4   The "Flush" in Slalom:

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6.2.5.4 -- Gates & Courses - The Flush
Another type of vertical combination is the three or four gate combination. When more than two, but fewer than five, vertical gates are combined it is referred to as a "flush".

As with the hairpin, a flush can be set "over" and "through", judging from the ideal entry required at the top gate in the combination.

Since there is an odd number of gates in a three gate combination, the transition rules are reversed from that of the hairpin. The "through" entry provides a cross hill transition, and the "over" entry does not.

A four gate combination functions in the same manner as the hairpin. It is rarely set although it is perfectly legal.
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6.2.5.5 -- Gates & Courses - The Flush
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6.2.5.5    Gate Passage Strategies and Course Inspection:

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Vertical combinations should be examined carefully during course inspection. Choosing the fastest line through a combination should be a high priority for the racer. Selecting the "wrong" entry path will result in a slower time, much slower, than might otherwise have been achieved had the "correct" entry been selected.

Most racers examine each combination by judging the best exit path from the bottom gate, and imagining the line in reverse from there.

Negotiation of a vertical combination is, for all practical purposes, automatic. If the best entry is chosen the racer will exit at the bottom on the optimum race line.

Paths to enter and exit the combinations are scrutinized carefully during inspection, both by the racers and by the Jury. Racers pick up speed in combinations that are set straight down the fall line. The additional momentum gained makes additional demands upon the racer's reflexes and precision turning skills. The faster they travel the quicker the gates "come at them".
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6.2.5.6   Downhill, Giant Slalom, and Super-G Courses:

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In a manner that is the same as for slalom, it is possible to set gates vertically and horizontally for Downhill, Giant Slalom, or Super-G.

However, no vertical combinations are provided for, in the rules, for Downhill, Giant Slalom, or Super-G. The potential speeds are too great to make such combinations viable.

It is possible, under the rules, to set one vertical after another when they are separated by the ordinary distances the separate the other gates, but it is hard to imagine a reason to do so. It is discouraged as poor course setting practice.

Vertical gates in these disciplines are almost always set singly; by that I mean there are usually not two set in sequence one after the other.

Vertical gates are usually set so as to control the racersí line. That is, it is set in such a place that the line must be adjusted so as to make a correct passage, but that adjustment (may or) may not entail an turn specific to that gate placement.

Put another way, the control gate may shift the line one way or another, and the racer may elect to describe a large radius arc that encompasses more than one gate passage, to effect the fastest line through that course section.

Such tactical considerations are important aspects of each racer's concerns as they inspect the course.
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6.2.5.7   More Gate Passage Strategies and Course Inspection:

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Another course setting device that is relatively common is the "corridor".

The term "corridor" is rather loosely applied to a large variety of gate arrangements. One coach may describe a specific gate arrangement as a corridor while another may not.

All corridors have one thing in common, they direct the racer along a given path with fewer turns than might otherwise be the case in the remainder of the course. Certainly, most corridors break out of the left-right-left-right "rhythm" that is common in most course sets.

It is easier to judge what a corridor is and what it isnít by skiing the course. Depending upon each racerís approach to a set of gates, the set will define a corridor or not. Generally, sections that may be skied in a low tuck are corridors.

Corridors are important tools for negotiating various terrain and course features. Remember, courses should not be set that demand acrobatics unnatural to skiing fundamentals. Certain trails, terrain features, and course sets may dictate that the use of a corridor makes good sense.

A common example of this is a trail that has a section that is relatively flat and long. The course setter may judge that it would be best to provide the racer a means of gaining additional speed so as to effectively negotiate the flat section in racing fashion. Setting a corridor above the flat section is one means of accomplishing that aim.
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6.2.5.8  Courses: Terrain Features and "Hidden" Gates:

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Terrain may have the effect of obstructing a racerís vision of the upcoming sections of the course.

This is often the case when terrain drops sharply from a plateau. The lower sections are not visible to the racer until she reaches the knoll of the drop.

If the "wrong" line had been selected in the approach to the knoll, it cannot be corrected after the racer is launched over the headwall.

Racers should be provided with a means of judging where the next gate is so as to adjust their line during the approach to the knoll. In cases such as this, a double high gate may be constructed below the knoll, sufficiently tall as to present a visual reference to anyone in a low tuck on the trail section above the knoll.

The reader may recall seeing the television replays of racers being launched over the edge of a jump and missing the next gate on the headwall drop. At times, this was because the racer selected a line while still above the headwall that directed him outside the lower gate. A double high gate may have helped in some of those situations.
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6.2.5.9  Courses: The Implied Gate Pole in Downhill:

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In downhill, the gates and banners are set with a uniform color, and do not alternate as in other disciplines.

From the racer's viewpoint, looking for a single color, while traveling at speed, may make the task of spotting the gates easier and facilitate their negotiation of the course.

An "implied" pole set is permissible in downhill.  Where a gate runs close to a net, the net itself may be implied as the outside pole set and banner.  The inside pole set and banner must be a standard set.  When this is the case, the gate line runs from the inside pole to the net, intersecting the net at a perpendicular to the net line.
 


6.2.5.10   Courses --  Vision Enhancement in Speed Events:

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In speed events, vision is important to the racer.  Traveling at high speeds, the racer has fractions of a second to effect judgments regarding edging, pressure, and angulation.

A common condition known as "flat light" reduces the racer's perception of terrain features.  Flat light occurs when the illumination falling on a scene comes from all directions.  This occurs, most frequently, in fog or on days with heavy cloud cover.  The sun's light is diffused through the water vapor and illuminates the terrain from all directions.  Shadows are not cast as there is no "point source" of the light.

Under conditions with flat light, it is more difficult to perceive the rolls and features of the snow surface.  Bumps and rills in the course may surprise the racer and drops may be more difficult to judge.  Goggle lenses that are amber in color, the same tint applied to aviator lenses, has been found by some racers to be helpful in providing enhanced vision.

Another technique that is found by some to be helpful, is the provide a contrasting coloring to the snow.  This can be accomplished in a number of ways, but a time honored technique is to spread needles from evergreen trees in the track.  Larger boughs may also be used to line the edges of the course.

Powdered chalk may be sprinkled on the snow, as well, but blue chalk (a common commodity in hardware stores where it is sold to refill carpenter's snap lines) should be avoided.  More effective chalk colors are red, orange, and green.
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Alpine Ski Racing's Common Elements:
     Set course with control gates             Numbered bibs.
     Clearly defined start and finish.          Electronic timing.
     Pre-determined start sequence.         FIS rule book.
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Keep these Key Principles in mind:
Caution -- Fairness -- Consistency
Fun -- The Jury -- Timeliness
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The Racer Is The Customer.
The Mission Is To Satisfy The Customer.
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BIBLIOGRAPHY:

International Competition Rules (ICR) Book IV, English Language Edition
Copyright 1996 by the International Ski Federation (FIS)

Alpine Competition Guide (Comp Guide)
Copyright 1998 by the US Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA)

Alpine Competition Manual (Comp Manual)
Copyright 1998 by the New York State Ski Racing Association (NYSSRA)

Alpine Officials Manual (Officials Manual)
Copyright 1996 by the US Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA)

USSA Alpine Training Manual and Officials Examinations (USSA Training Manual)
Copyright 1998 by the US Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA)

Pictorial History of Ski Racing, by Stan Cohen
Copyright 1985 by the Pictorial Histories Publishing Co.

A History of Alpine Ski Racing, by Patrick Lang (translated by Adam Shaw)
Copyright N/A, download December 1997 from The World Wide Web:
http://www.skinet.com/competition/96/history1.html

Downhill Race Day - Davos 1935, by Warren Miller
Copyright N/A,, download December 1997 from The World Wide Web:
http://199.107.233.31/articles/dec96warrenmiller.davos.htm

The History of Skiing, by Afshin & Ghodsi Skibba
Copyright N/A,, download December 1997 from The World Wide Web:
http://www.jeffco.k12.co.us/dist_ed/spring96/onlineb/askibba/

Technical Statement of Alpine Ski Racing, The United States Ski Team
Copyright 1993, by the US Ski Coaches Association (USSCA)

Alpine Training Manual, The United States Ski Team
Copyright 1977, Revised Nov. 1985, by the US Ski Coaches Association (USSCA)

Alpine Skills Achievement Manual, by Ellen Post Foster
Copyright 1992, Revised Nov. 1993, by the SchŲnberger Foundation, Inc.