Slalom is just one of the many ways that man has invented to answer the question: who is still better, faster, more agile
Therefore, slalom is a sport discipline for skiers, rollerbladers, and snowboarders. In slalom, they compete at the Olympic Games, Cups and World Championships, national championships of almost all countries on the planet. So what is it? Winter is coming soon and we hope for good weather, snow and tell you about slalom as one of the sports snowboarding.
Snowboarding has recently been recognized as one of the fastest growing sports in the world. We have already talked about its main varieties in the article “Snowboarding”. And now let’s focus on professional snowboarding. As a sport, snowboarding includes such disciplines as:
- Parallel Slalom (PSL)
- Parallel giant slalom (PGS)
- Snowboardcross (SBX) or Boardercross
- Half-pipe (HP)
- Big Air (BA)
- Slopestyle (SS)
The last 3 disciplines are related to freestyle and are evaluated. They are won by athletes who have scored the maximum number of points for performing tricks in the pipe, ski jumping or passing the track.
In boardercross or snowboardcross, speed is combined with the ability to turn and jump from bumps. The track with a height difference of 100–240 m and a slope of up to 18 degrees consists of many turns, shafts, jumps, etc. The length of the track can be up to 2000 m, and the width — up to 30 m. 4–6 participants take part in the boardercross at the same time, so it is rightfully considered one of the most spectacular slalom disciplines. Yes, we were not mistaken, the boardercross can really be considered as a kind of slalom, because the one who comes to the finish line first wins.
But in slalom, unlike boudercross, one (in single) or two athletes (in parallel) slalom take part in the race. In addition to the slalom itself, there are also giant slalom, parallel giant slalom and super-giant slalom, which are quite different from each other both in the track and in the technique of passing it. The main principle of slalom is to come to the finish line first, faster than other opponents, while observing all the rules for passing the track. All track parameters, equipment, passage features and evaluation of athletes at the Olympic Games are determined by the rules of the International Ski Federation (FIS), which the IOC has recognized as the official governing body of snowboarding. In addition to the Olympic Games, the FIS holds a World Championship every 2 years and every year a multi-stage snowboarding World Cup.
Single and parallel slalom
In parallel slalom, 2 athletes take part simultaneously on two adjacent tracks. At the same time, they try to make the tracks as similar as possible to each other in terms of terrain, location of the gates, etc. The length of the track in slalom is usually 450–500 m with a height difference of 80 to 100 m, while athletes overcome from 20 to 30 gates. Athletes in parallel slalom start at the same time, so the time is recorded to thousandths of a second. After the first passage of the track, the slalom participants change places. To win in pairs, you need to have the best time on the sum of two descents. In the single slalom, the athletes are given only one attempt to win.
Giant slalom or giant slalom
Parallel giant slalom (PGS) is a part of the Olympic Games. The length of the route is 800‑1000 m, the height difference is 150–300 m, the width of the route is at least 20 m. The number of gates on the route is at least 20, but the distance between them must be at least 20 m; gate width — from 4 to 8 m. The number of turns should be equal to 11–15% of the height difference.
The fastest of all types of slalom. Super giant slalom is characterized by a longer course and fewer gates. As a result, athletes develop a high speed of descent and show high snowboarding technique at speed. The speed of snowboarders in it reaches up to 100 km / h, and skiers even show speeds of up to 140 km / h.
Short and twisty slalom courses with a high density of gates require great technical skill from snowboarders, while giant slalom requires the ability to overcome gates at high speed. Therefore, participating in different types of slalom, athletes must correctly think over the tactics of the competition and take into account all the smallest features of the terrain, route, wind, snow cover, etc. Slalom is not only a competition in speed and technique, but also a test of tactical thinking, emotional and psychological stability of an athlete.
Author: Vladimir Selivanov
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