Guide to the Winter Olympics: Slalom Ski

It’s all about precision. And personality. Historically slalom racers have gone on to become racecar drivers, actors, and even personalities branded with their own perfume line. Check out our picks for racers we think might podium or have a future in Hollywood.
Jean-Baptiste Grange

Take Alberto Tomba, the Fabio of slalom racing, who won three Olympic gold medals, retired in 1998, and now has his own signature perfume. Then there’s American slalom standout Bode Miller, a rebel from New Hampshire known for his hard partying, who once quit the U.S. Ski Team to start his own independent team. And don’t forget Jean-Claude Killy, the gate-bashing star of the ’60s who moonlighted as an actor and racecar driver. The point? Slalom breeds big personalities. In giant slalom, super G, and downhill, the gates are wider, the course is longer, and the speeds are higher. But in slalom, where skiers thread the needle between gates set close together, the winning line is all about precision and technique. The slightest mistake can result in a missed gate—an automatic DNF—or lost time. Sadly for spectators, perpetual newsmaker Hermann Maier has retired from competition, but fellow Austrian Benjamin Raich, who won gold in Torino in both slalom and GS, will be back to defend his country’s gold-studded slalom history.

Ones to Watch: Maria Riesch and Jean-Baptiste Grange.

Look out for Germany’s Maria Riesch and France’s Jean-Baptiste Grange in Vancouver. They’re both masters of technique who broke onto the World Cup scene in 2004. Riesch, who’s also the 2009 Lange Girl, won four World Cup slalom races last winter. In her first Olympics, 25-year-old Riesch will be looking to take down one of her closest friends, American speedster Lindsey Vonn. Although Grange didn’t finish his slalom run at the 2006 Torino Games, he has been on the upswing ever since, with a first-place ranking in the 2009 World Cup.

Also, check out a guide to:

Ski Cross




Ski Cross

Guide to the Olympics: Ski Cross

Welcome to the throwdown, year one, also known as ski cross. A Winter X Games event since 1998, ski cross premieres this year as an event in the Winter Olympics. If you are wondering about gold, make sure to watch the two former ski racers, Daron Rahlves and Casey Puckett, participating in the event.

Jean-Baptiste Grange

Winter Olympics Event Calendar

Whether you're heading to Vancouver to watch the Olympics or just tuning in from your TV, we've got a schedule of the events you don't want to miss from February 12-28. And if you are traveling to watch the Games live, we've got some helpful pointers on where and when to eat, ski, and party.

Olympic Moguls

Guide to the Olympics: Moguls

The precursor to slopestyle, moguls are as close as you will get to watching off-axis 720’s. Twenty-three year old American mogul skier Hannah Kearney seems like a promising gold medal pick for the event, held at Cyprus Mountain, just 20 miles from Vancouver.

Lindsey Vonn

Guide to the Olympics: Downhill

Like thoroughbred racing but with more cowbells, downhill races seem to be the most captivating event at the Olympics. Go to watch the Austrians and ski racing’s favorite girl, Lindsey Vonn.

No, that’s not a typo. The Games are notoriously poorly attended. For 2010’s events, just 12 of Whistler and Blackcomb’s 200-plus runs are closed. Better still, Whistler insiders told Skiing that January bookings are lagging, meaning for several weeks leading up to the Games you won’t be fighting for first tracks. Lucky you. Plus, Whistler won our Best Overall Resort in our 2010 Resort Awards.

7 Reasons to Ski Whistler During the Olympics

Unless you live in Whistler, you wouldn’t know that a certain segment of the community is opposed to hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics. Some locals have decided to leave town for two weeks, rent their houses to “some rich Americans,” and go surfing in Mexico. Let them. Here are seven reasons why the 2010 Winter Olympics are the perfect time to hit Whistler.

Lindsey Vonn World Cup Crash

Making Olympic Ski Racing Safer

If charging down a super G course doesn't scare you, it should. After a rash of early season injuries, officials re-examined how race courses are designed, making the Olympic slopes safer—maybe.

Ski Cross

Dear Ski Cross. Welcome to the Olympics

The U.S. Ski Cross Team consists of two guys: Daron Rahlves and Casey Puckett, both retired ski racers. We caught up with them while they were training in Telluride in preparation for the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.