Parallel Giant Slalom introduced as a new alpine format

20 December 2015 18:36
Markus Waldner, Chief Race Director
Markus Waldner, Chief Race Director -
Agence Zoom

At the beginning of the World Cup, in 1967, there was only Downhill, Giant Slalom and Slalom. Then, over the years, different disciplines were added to the program: Combined in 1975, City Event in 1975, Super G in 1982 and Super Combined in 2005. Tomorrow, on Monday 21 December 2015, a new discipline will be introduced in the Audi FIS Ski World Cup: the Parallel Giant Slalom.


We caught up with the Chief Race Director of the men’s World Cup Markus Waldner to discuss the different aspects of this new discipline:


What is the idea behind the Parallel Giant Slalom?

The goal is to see great performances and head-to-head fights between the best Giant Slalom racers. It will be a great show for sure. It’s a very compact, TV-friendly product with lots of action and fun for the spectators.


Who is participating in this event?

We have 16 qualified racers through the Giant Slalom WCSL (World Cup Starting List), the best 4 overall racers present in Alta Badia (Svindal, Jansrud, Weibrecht and Myhrer), and then we have additional 12 guys qualified out of today’s first run. So in total, 32 athletes will be at the start tomorrow.


How does the format work?

We will start in the 1/16 finals with two runs, which means that the athletes ski one run on the red course and one on the blue. Then, from the 1/8 finals on, it’s a one run knockout format:  the fastest advances, the slowest is out. The lower bib number (higher ranked racer) choses the course. And we go one until the big final.


What’s the difference to the PGS with the other Parallel events?

First of all, we use 23 - 24 meters distances between the gates for course setting, which corresponds to the average distance in Giant Slalom. Then the racers must ski with GS skis, so 34 m radius like they used today. But like in the other Parallel events, we will use normal Giant Slalom gates and panels. Running time will be approximately 20 - 22 seconds.


How do you set the courses exactly the same?

We have already tested the course with forerunners in the last two days, and it worked. We measured everything with laser, especially the course setting and the basic course preparation. The slope has been prepared with a GPS-equipped snowcat, so that the snow and the shape of the terrain become very similar, and even equal. The course setting is also done by GPS and we manage to get really close. The difference between both courses is less than 1 – 2 centimeters.


The head-to-head races are very exciting and we are looking forward to introduce this new discipline. If you have feedback, we welcome your comments on our official Social Media Channels: Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.