Once you have mastered the fundamentals of skiing you are READY TO TRY RACING…
Alpine Ski Racing simply put is skiing around poles or gates in the quickest possible time using alpine skis, also known as downhill skis. Modern day skis have fixed heels so your whole foot is attached to the ski and metal edges to allow the skier to grip as they travel down the slope.
There are a number of different disciplines in Alpine Ski Racing, which you can find out more about below.
In Scotland there are races out there for everyone, from complete novices to World Cup racers.
Alpine Racing Disciplines
There are a number of different disciplines in Alpine Ski Racing often split in two and referred to as the Technical Events and the Speed Events. The Technical Events consist of Slalom, Giant Slalom and Parallel Slalom.
In Slalom, single gates are spaced close together necessitating quicker and shorter turns. The gates are set alternating between red and blue and are arranged in a variety of configurations to challenge the competitor. In this discipline because the distances between the gates are relatively small, ski racers take a fairly direct line and often knock the poles out of the way as they pass, which is known as blocking. A course has 55 to 75 gates for men and 40 to 60 for women. A Slalom race is generally composed of two runs, held on different courses on the same ski run.
Giant Slalom, or GS as it is commonly known, involves skiing around a double gate with a panel or flag on them. They are spaced at a greater distance to each other than in slalom but less than in Super-G or Downhill. A GS race is generally composed of two runs, held on different courses on the same ski run.
Parallel Slalom, or Dual Slalom or Pro Slalom as it is also referred to, consists of to courses set parallel to one another so competitors can compete head to head with one another. You will often see this run in a team format, almost like a relay. Both provide a great spectator experience.
SUPER GIANT SLALOM
Super-G or Super Giant Slalom, consists of widely set gates that racers must turn around. The course is set so that skiers must turn more than in downhill, though the speeds are still much higher than in giant slalom (hence the name). Each athlete only has one run to clock the best time.
Downhill, often known as the Blue Riband event, for safety reasons only uses red gates. Racers get a number of inspections and at least one training run through the course before they race. The course is the longest and fastest of the alpine disciplines, and includes jumps and extended turns taken at high speed. The experience needed takes years to acquire. Each athlete has only one run to clock the best time. The fastest ever speed clocked in a Downhill race was in the Wengen Lauberhorn race in 2013, Johan Clarey of France clocked a massive 100.6mph.
Super Combined, is a speed race (Downhill or Super-G) and only one run of slalom, with both portions scheduled on the same day. A true test of the all round ski racer the winner is the skier with the fastest aggregate time.
Kombi races, are often seen in childrens ski racing and can contain a variety of different combinations of features, some can be a combination of Slalom and Giant Slalom in one run, others can be a combination of Super-G and Giant Slalom, while some can also contain berms, rollers or jumps. They can be great for childrens overall ski development.
Alpine Race Competitions
There are a host of Alpine Racing events ranging from entry level schools and club events right through to top level world class events at FIS, Europa Cup and World Cup level.
If you are new to racing and keen to get involved you can either get involved through school by attending races run by the Scottish Schools Snowsports Association (SSSA) or you can get involved with a club, outside school, and they will support you to get involved in some of the races summarised below:-
For the full SSSA calendar visit their competition page here.
The main annual club and national Alpine Races are:-
- Twin Peaks – DRY MAT SLALOM U12, U14, U16,U18 Firpark and Hillend
- Scottish Indoor Championships – INDOOR SLALOM U12, U14, U16,U18 Snowfactor
- Scottish Dryslope Championship – DRY MAT SLALOM & GS U12, U14, U16,U18 Hillend
- Craig McFie – DRY MAT SLALOM U12, U14, U16,U18 Hillend
- The Indoor Challenge – SLALOM U12, U14, U16,U18 Snowfactor
- Bairns and Lasses – SLALOM U12 Bearsden
Getting into Alpine Race Training
Getting into Alpine Racing starts off with joining an alpine race training club, where you will be coached and supported to develop your skills and knowledge to be able to compete successfully in a race.
Clubs offering Alpine Race Training in Scotland are:-
- Glasgow Ski Racing – https://www.glasgowskiracing.co.uk
- Lothian Ski Racing – https://www.lothianskiracing.com
- Gordon Skiers – https://gordonskiers.com
- Grampian Snowsports Club – https://www.gsnow.club
- Alpine Training Centre – https://www.alpinetrainingcentre.com
- Bearsden Ski Club – https://www.skibearsden.co.uk/racing-freestyle
- Muckhart and District
- Scottish Ski Club – http://www.scottishskiclub.org.uk/racetraining
- Cairngorm Ski Club – https://www.cairngormskiclub.co.uk/training
- Aberdeen Snowsports Club
- Glenshee Performance Squad – https://glenshee-performance-squad.co.uk
- Polmont Ski Racing – https://m.facebook.com/PolmonthillSC
Alpine Performance Pathway
The Performance Pathway
Snowsport Scotland employs two alpine coaches to run our development and national performance programmes.
They support alpine athletes to progress through the pathway and into the GB Snowsports teams. This is done in partnership with the Clubs, Academies and GB Snowsports.
- Pathway Coach – Christy Mackinnon
Ross works with local clubs and scenes develop their coaching team, facilities access, equipment, and more to ensure young riders across the country have the best opportunity to ride in the best environments! Once selected to Home Nations status, riders will have the opportunity to attend extra training opportunities and develop their on and off-snow skills with the inclusion of camps abroad.
- National Performance Coach – Mark Vinter
Mark works with the Alpine Performance Programme to offer selected athletes the chance to race and train in the UK and abroad. The pathway programme promotes as much alpine training as possible in conjunctions with strength and conditioning work.
GB Snowsport (GBS) is the national governing body for snowsports in the UK, managing elite British teams and the development pathway for those athletes.
They select, manage and lead British teams to international events and provide opportunities for our athletes to achieve their full potential as individuals and as a team.
To get involved with the alpine performance pathway, please speak to your local slope/mountain to find out if they are holding an introduction to freestyle course or have a dedicated freestyle night for you to join on. Please check our Facilities/Resorts.
Alpine Team Selection Criteria
For those interested in the Scottish Alpine Ski Team programme, please see the Scottish Alpine Ski Team Selection Policy 2023/24.
We recommend you discuss the required criteria with your local coach as they will be able to help guide you through the process, if however you are unable to do this please feel free to contact us. Or you would like to hear more information regarding Alpine in Scotland, please get in touch with Christy Mackinnon email: email@example.com
Alpine Ski Team 2023/2024
Snowsport Scotland are pleased to announce the Scottish Alpine Ski Team as:-
Daisy Cowie *
Louisa McIntosh *
Jake Leonard *
Blair MacLeod *
Euan Reilly *
Finlay Royle *
* New entrant
Resources for Alpine Coaches
This is one of the tools the Alpine team use to help with ski skill development
For developing and monitoring physical capacities of our athletes we have developed this set of assessments.
Resources for Race Organisers
Snowsport Scotland is committed to supporting clubs, centres, and organisations to run high-quality, efficient competitions. Please visit our Competition Resources section for more information.
In addition Snowsport Scotland offers a series Event Crew Development (ECD) workshops aimed to provide education and support to individuals, clubs, centres, and organisations looking to run competitions.
Please visit our Training Courses section for information on training for Alpine Race Officials and event crew.
If your Club or Organisation is hosting a snowsport related event or competition and would like to display it on our Calendar, please either complete this online form or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Get in Touch
For those interested in learning more and getting involved please get in touch with:
Mark Vinter – email@example.com