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Encyclopedia > Downhill

The downhill is an alpine skiing discipline. The rules for the downhill were originally developed by Sir Arnold Lunn for the 1921 British National Ski Championships. Alpine skiing (or downhill skiing) is a recreational activity and sport involving sliding down snow-covered hills with long, thin skis attached to each foot. ... Memorial to Arnold Lunn in Mürren, Switzerland. ... 1921 (MCMXXI) was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar). ...


"Downhill skiing" is also commonly a term synonymous with "alpine skiing" to denote the sport and recreational activity of alpine skiing in general. Alpine skiing (or downhill skiing) is a recreational activity and sport involving sliding down snow-covered hills with long, thin skis attached to each foot. ...


More generally, the term may be used in any sport involving the speedy descent of a hillside. Examples include snowboarding, mountain biking, different skateboarding variants, such as and longboarding, freebording and mountain boarding and even municycling. To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. ... A mountain biker climbs on an off-road track Mountain biking is the sport of riding bicycles off paved roads. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. ... Freebord model X-80, bottom side Freebords are a recent modification of the skateboard. ... Mountain boarding, also known as dirtboarding, is a new board sport, derived from snowboarding. ... Mountain unicycling, also known as MUni, is a sport that involves riding unicycles off-road. ...


The "downhill" discipline involves the highest speeds and therefore the greatest risks of all the alpine events. Racers on a typical international-level course will exceed speeds of 130 kilometers per hour (80 mph) and some courses, such as the famous Hahnenkamm course in Kitzb├╝hel, Austria, speeds of up to 150 kilometers per hour (93 mph) in certain sections are expected. Racers must have great strength, stamina, technical expertise and courage if they wish to compete in the downhill. The Hahnenkamm is a mountain above Kitzbühel, Austria, in the Kitzbühel Alps. ... Kitzbühel is a medieval city in Tyrol, Austria, situated along the river Kitzbühler Ache. ...

Contents


The course

A typical downhill course begins at or near the top of the mountain on a piste that is closed off to the public and groomed specially for the race. Alternating red and blue gates are spaced great distances apart, but not out of sight from each other. The courses in the world's most famous ski areas are preset and predetermined and do not change much from year to year. A piste is the name given to a marked ski-run or path down a mountain for the purposes of skiing, snowboarding, or other mountain sports. ...


The course is designed to challenge the best skiers in a variety of tasks: skiing at high speeds over ice, through challenging turns, extreme steeps and on the flats. A good course will have all these elements in it, as well as some jumps intended to complicate matters and thrill both the racer and the on looking crowds.


Equipment

Equipment for the downhill is a little bit different from lower speed alpine events. Skis are 30% longer than those used in the slalom, to provide added stability at high speed. Ski poles are bent so as to curve around the body as the racer stays in his "tuck position." Helmets are mandatory for head protection. Like in other alpine disciplines, downhill racers wear skin-tight suits to minimize aerodynamic drag. Slalom refers to a sport in which participants attempt to complete a course, in the fastest time, while passing through marked channels known as gates. ...


In an attempt to increase safety, the 2003-2004 season saw the FIS increased the minimum turning radius for downhill skis to 45 m (from 40 m), and impose minimum ski lengths for the first time; 215 cm for men, 210 cm for women. The International Ski Federation/Fédération Internationale de Ski (FIS) is the main international organisation of ski sports. ...


Races

In all forms of downhill, both at a local youth-level as well as the higher FIS international level, racers are allowed extensive preparation for the race, which includes daily course inspection and discussion with their coaches and teammates as well as several practice runs before the actual race. Racers do not make any unnecessary turns while on the course, and try and do everything they can to maintain the most aerodynamic position while negotiating turns and jumps.


Unlike slalom and giant slalom, where racers have two combined times, in the downhill, the race is a single "run." Times are typically between 1:30 (1 minute, 30 seconds) and 2:30 for World Cup courses and must be over 1 minute in length to meet international minimum standards. Tenths and hundreths of seconds count: World Cup races and Olympic medals have sometimes been decided by as little as one or two one-hundreths of a second, and ties are not unheard of!


Risks

Safety netting and other forms of padding are placed in worrisome areas where race officials anticipate crashes. Despite these safety precautions, the ski racing community is well aware of the inherent risks in downhill skiing, for it is tragic, but not unheard of, for racers to suffer serious injury or death while practicing or competing. Despite the risks, both racers and eager spectators enjoy the thrills and challenges of the event,.


See also


  Results from FactBites:
 
Downhill - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (680 words)
"Downhill skiing" is also commonly a term synonymous with "alpine skiing" to denote the sport and recreational activity of alpine skiing in general.
A typical downhill course begins at or near the top of the mountain on a piste that is closed off to the public and groomed specially for the race.
In all forms of downhill, both at a local youth-level as well as the higher FIS international level, racers are allowed extensive preparation for the race, which includes daily course inspection and discussion with their coaches and teammates as well as several practice runs before the actual race.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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