What is Super G Skiing: Alpine Skiing’s 6 Disciplines

by | Jan 16, 2023 | Skiing | 0 comments

What is super g skiing? Well, saying it’s cooler than normal skiing isn’t a good definition. The best answer to the question is that it is a discipline of alpine skiing where the main focus is speed. However, that definition raises a new question, “What is alpine skiing?” This article will cover super g skiing and the other disciplines of alpine skiing and how they differ from each other. 

What is Alpine Skiing?  

What is super G skiing you might ask?

What is alpine skiing?

Alpine skiing is a skiing event that is broken up into six categories with the goal to get the fastest time possible skiing on a downhill slope while navigating a series of gates.

The 6 categories of Alpine skiing

1. What is Slalom Skiing? The First Discipline. 

The First Discipline of salom skiing

Slalom skiing is a technical event where the goal is to get through each gate as fast as possible. Red and blue gates are placed alternately throughout the slalom course in various ways. Each runner gets two runs on the course to determine their time. Their combined time between both runs down the course is what determines their placement. If they miss even one gate they are disqualified. Of all the alpine skiing disciplines, this one is the shortest. The distance between gates is also the shortest.  

2. What is Giant Slalom Skiing? The Second Discipline. 

While giant slalom skiing is a technical event like slalom skiing with the same goal, giant slalom has a few differences. One difference is that the course is bigger. Another difference is that the gates the skier must go through are further apart. Although the turns are more spaced out, they are still tight enough that a skier must pay great care when turning to avoid losing time. Just like in slalom skiing, the final time is taken as a combination of the times over two runs on the course.  

3. What is Super Giant Slalom Skiing / super g skiing? The Third Discipline. 

super giant slalom skiing

At this point, you might notice how things have been progressively escalating as we’ve moved through each discipline. You might have correctly guessed that super giant slalom courses are bigger than slalom courses. After all, it does have “super” in the name, and speaking of super, this ski event is better known as super g skiing, an abbreviation for super giant slalom skiing.

Why is it called super G skiing?

Super G skiing is an abbreviation for super giant slalom skiing. Going forward I will stick with super g when mentioning this event. Now, how does super G skiing work? Not only is the super g course bigger than the giant slalom courses, but the flags are also spaced farther apart.

Slalom and giant slalom are technical events, therefore the reason for the difference in classification is because of the changes to the course. More specifically, it has to do with the widened distance between each gate. 

However, there’s something fundamental that has changed about the nature of slalom skiing.    

What is the difference between Slalom, giant slalom, and super g skiing?

Slalom and giant slalom ski events are considered technical because the turns you make are very tight. It is very difficult to turn precisely through each gate while keeping a good flow throughout. In super g, there are fewer turns to worry about and the course is longer, so the goal has shifted to gaining more speed as you go further down the mountain.   

Downhill racing requires a lot of speed for a good time.

There is another big difference from slalom and giant slalom–unlike in technical races, you do not get multiple runs on the course. That’s right. You get one shot. You are allowed to inspect the course beforehand so that you can prepare yourself, but that’s it. It should go without saying that missing gates also leads to disqualification. So, you only have one shot to get a lot of speed as you navigate the course. In some ways, it can be more taxing than slalom since you’re skiing at higher speeds.   

Now that we’ve spent some time on the main focus, let’s move on to other skiing disciplines. Next up is another speed event, downhill skiing.  

4. What is Downhill Skiing? The Fourth Discipline. 

Like super g skiing, downhill skiing is a speed event, but the difference between super g and downhill skiing is that the course in downhill skiing is once again bigger, and the gates are fewer and farther between. Essentially, it’s a more extreme version of super g skiing, and it has the same rules as super g skiing, including the stipulation that each skier is allowed only one run. Downhill races are even faster than super g races, with skiers at the professional level reaching speeds over 80 mph. Despite being the longest course of the four, the run time is usually under a couple minutes. 

There are a couple more disciplines to go over before we end things. Though they have the same courses, they aren’t like the previous four because they have different rules. These events have been a part of the Winter Olympic games since 2018.

5. What is Combined Skiing? The Fifth Discipline. 

This is an event that combines speed and technical races. You start with either downhill or super g skiing, and later the same day you do slalom skiing. The score is based on your combined times in both courses.  

6. What is Mixed Team Parallel Slalom?  The Final Discipline. 

Originally, there were only five events skiers could participate in during the Winter Olympics. However, there has been a recent addition. The mixed team parallel slalom is a mixed-team event where contestants start on the same slope and race on identical courses to determine the winner. Each team has two people racing against two others from the opposing team.   

Men and Women Course Length Differences 

Men’s super g skiing and skiing courses in general are longer and have more gates on them than the equivalent for women. That doesn’t mean that one is more entertaining or more difficult than the other. No matter who’s racing, it’s bound to be a steep competition. See what I did there?   

Let’s cover one last topic: super g vs alpine skiing.

A lot of people ask what the difference is between super g and alpine skiing, but super g skiing is actually one of the many forms of alpine skiing. The next time you hear someone talking about alpine skiing, ask them which discipline they’re referring to.

Final Thoughts 

Super g skiing is an exciting part of alpine skiing, but it isn't something that requires a lot of training.

There was a lot to cover, but now you should know that super g is an abbreviation for super giant slalom and that it is a speed event that serves as one of the disciplines of alpine skiing. It’s good to have a general understanding of alpine skiing and all its events to better understand what super g skiing is.

If you’re curious about some competitions related to super giant slalom–or super g skiing–then check out the Olympics website or YouTube channel. Alternatively, you can check out the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup for some action taking place right now.

If you enjoyed this article, check out “What is Nordic Skiing” and learn about its disciplines as well.


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