We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Giant Slalom Skiing?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Sports n' Hobbies is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Sports n' Hobbies, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The slalom is an alpine ski event that tests the skier’s agility and ability to make tight turns around gates. The speed of the slalom is slower than that of downhill racing, and gates range in number from 55-75 gates in the men’s events, to 40-60 gates in women’s events. Slalom is the shortest of the ski courses, with no practice runs allowed and skiers given two runs. The winner has the lowest combined time from the two runs. Disqualification occurs if a skier misses a gate.

Giant slalom is similar in many respects to slalom, but the total number of gates is usually less. This means skiers have to navigate fewer gates, about 50 for men and fewer still for women. Scoring in giant slalom is approximately identical. Skiers get two runs with a combined score. Lowest time wins the race. Skiers are not allowed practice runs in giant slalom, so the first time they ski the course they’re actually competing.

Due to the fact that there are fewer gates, the gates are more widely spaced apart, about 32.8 feet (10 meters) from each other. Unlike downhill races, or Super G, which combines the disciplines of slalom and downhill, speed is much slower in order to navigate the many directional changes needed to make it around each gate. This does not mean that the speed, for the average non-skier would be considered slow. A technically gifted skier may ski at speeds of about 45 mph (72.42 kph). The wider and fewer gates tend to make giant slalom faster than slalom events.

Speed has to be tempered with complete accuracy in turning and directional change. The quickest way to lose in the event is to miss a gate, and even though gates are farther from each other, they’re still easy for the novice, and even the professional skier to miss. Pace has to be just right in order to retain speed while making every gate, and skiers must recover from each directional change in order to be ready for the next gate, while still skiing fast.

Europeans have dominated many of the alpine ski events, and giant slalom is no exception. Skiers from Norway, Austria, Italy, France and Switzerland usually win Gold Medals in Olympic and World Cup Events. A few Americans have made a place for themselves by capturing medals in this event. Bode Miller garnered an impressive Silver at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, but failed to live up to high expectations for his performance in 2006.

Some of the greatest skiers in giant slalom have come from Italy. Of particular note is Deborah Compangnoni, who won Olympic Gold medals in giant slalom in 1994 and 1998, in addition to winning Golds at the World Championships in 1996 and 1997. Alberto Tomba, who is hugely popular in Italy, matched Compangnoni’s performance, by winning back-to-back Golds in 1988 and 1992. He also claimed Golds in the 1996 World Championship for both slalom and giant slalom.

Sports n' Hobbies is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a Sports n' Hobbies contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By milagros — On Mar 02, 2010

The size of the skis is different for different skiing events. So for example, the skis for Giant Slalom are shorter than for downhill skiing.

It kind of makes sense, they are easier to control while negotiating turns around those poles.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a Sports n' Hobbies contributor, Tricia...
Learn more
Sports n' Hobbies, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Sports n' Hobbies, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.