Super G Skiing
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Super G Skiing

Super G stands for Super Giant Slalom which is a specific type of downhill ski racing. Super G skiing is primarily a speed event rather than technical event which both Giant slalom and slalom events are considered to be. Super G slalom is known to be the second fastest ski event after downhill skiing.

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What does super G mean in skiing?

In skiing super G stands for Super Giant slalom. This is a type of high speed, professional type of ski racing. As can be deduced from its rather ‘to the point’ name, this is a style of racing that combines both classic downhill ski racing with slalom racing. As with slalom racing, Super Giant slalom racing requires the racer to ski between set gates. The gates on Super Giant slalom courses are set further apart than on Giant Slalom courses.

Although you might assume that Super Giant Slalom and Giant slalom may be basically the same event, this is not strictly speaking correct. Super Giant slalom is considered to be more of a speed event where Giant slalom and slalom races are considered to be technical events. As testimony to that, Super Giant slalom races are held on downhill races courses (albeit starting at a much lower level, further down the course) instead of taking place on slalom race courses.

There are also few significant differences in equipment used for each of these two types of races. For Super Giant slalom races a minimum ski length of 205 cm for men and 200cm for women is compulsory. This is for stability while skiing at high speeds, and ultimately for the safety of the skiers.

In some variations of ski racing, multiple attempts at a race are allowed to obtain a best time, however in Super Giant slalom this is limited to just one attempt. The Super G competition is then conducted in the format of different rounds with competitors being eliminated based on their timed races. If you miss a gate, understandably that equals an automatic disqualification!

What is the difference between Super G and downhill skiing?

Super G and downhill ski racing are the two fastest events at ski events such as the Winter Olympics or the World Cup. There are two major types of skiing – Alpine skiing and Freestyle skiing. Freestyle skiing incorporates more stunts and tricks, while alpine skiing is concerned more about speed and technique. Super G and downhill skiing are grouped in the latter, Alpine skiing. There are 5 different events within Alpine skiing including Downhill, Slalom, Giant slalom, Super-G, and a combined race which has a downhill race and two slalom runs.

While both Super G and downhill are mostly concerned about speed, and both events contain gates for the racers to navigate around, there are some large differences between these events. Super G courses are more similar to downhill race courses than slalom, however the courses are shorter and make the skier focus more on technique and turning than tucking down and going for sheer speed.

Equipment used for each of these races is also quite different. Skis used for downhill racing are generally longer than those used for Super G, and the side cut radius is also a bit shorter for downhill compared to Super G. competitors in Super G often use shin, arm and knee protectors.

How long should Super G skis be?

Super G skis should be minimum ski lengths of 205cm for men and 200cm for women when competing for the safety of the skiers. Ski length differs for Giant slalom and for slalom races, as each type of skiing requires different technique and a different style of skiing.

Do longer skis go faster?

As a general rule, yes longer skis will get you to the bottom of the mountain faster if skied in the same way. This does not mean that if you have longer skis you will automatically be faster than someone else who has shorter skis, as there are many other factors to take into consideration such as weight and technique. The reason longer skis will make you ski that bit faster is due to the pressure exerted on the skis by your body weight and movement being spread out over a larger surface area, which means the skis can move smoother and faster over the snow.

What happens if your skis are too long?

There are a number of important factors to consider when choosing ski length. If skiing in deep, fresh, powder snow, a slightly longer (and winder) ski will be really useful for you to get that extra bit of float, and help you stay nearer to the surface of the snow instead of getting stuck. If you are skiing on-piste with skis which are too long for you, you will find your manoeuvrability decreases significantly. Longer skis will make your turning more difficult – especially short turns, and means you will have to focus more on longer carving turns. If you are especially heavy for your height, it may be more beneficial to get slightly longer skis than normal, as weight is an important factor when choosing your ski length also.

Super G skiing speed

As Super G skiing is considered to be more of a speed event, skiers in Super Giant slalom is the next fast skiing event after downhill. Super G skiers will not quite reach the same speed of downhill skiers who ski at speeds of up to 100mph, but will sit somewhere between the speeds of 50mph achieved by Giant slalom racers and 100mph, achieved by some downhill racers.