The Accidental Roots of Slalom Ski Competion

Slalom Ski  pic
Slalom Ski
Image: fis-ski.com

A graduate of the University of Washington, Thomas Spetter has extensive experience as an account manager in the pharmaceutical sector. A skiing enthusiast, Thomas Spetter participated in slalom racing events in high school. One of the most challenging types of downhill ski events, the slalom was an accidental creation in the mid-1930s.

Poor weather in the Mottarone ski area in Italy’s Piedmont region in early 1935 meant that there was not enough snow to hold a regularly scheduled downhill event. The Italian Ski Federation commissioner Gianni Albertini made an executive decision to set up a new course marked with gates. This directed skiers through a narrow path along a 300-meter vertical drop with sufficient snow. The course was so short that the event was split into two identical runs.

The slalom event was an unexpected success, and a regular giant slalom race was introduced into the schedule the next month. In 1950, the first World Alpine Ski Championships featuring a giant slalom was held, and today the event is a well-established highlight of the Winter Olympics.

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