Para alpine is practised worldwide and features seven events: downhill, slalom, giant slalom, super-G, alpine combined, parallel team events.
The sport was developed following the end of the Second World War, when injured ex-servicemen returned to the sport they loved. In 1948, the first Para alpine courses were offered.
Competition accommodates male and female athletes with a physical impairment, such as spinal cord injury, coordination impairment, or amputation and vision impairment. Athletes compete in three categories depending on the degree of activity limitation resulting from the impairment, and a factors system allows athletes with different impairments to compete against each other.
Skiers with vision impairment are guided through the course by sighted guides using signals to indicate the course to follow. Some athletes use equipment that is adapted to their needs including single ski, sit-ski or orthopaedic aids.
Since July 2022, the International Ski and Snowboard Federation (FIS) acts as the International Federation for the sport following the transfer of governance of Para Snow Sports from the International Paralympic Committee.
There are five events on the Paralympic Games programme: downhill, super-G, alpine combined, giant slalom, and slalom. Downhill and super-G are commonly referred to as speed disciplines while giant slalom and slalom as technical disciplines.
The first documented Championships for skiers with impairment were held in Badgastein, Austria, in 1948 with 17 athletes taking part. Since 1950, events have been held around the world. The introduction of sit-ski allowed people in wheelchairs (paraplegics and double above-the-knee amputees) to begin to ski and race.
The first Paralympic Winter Games took place in Örnsköldsvik in Sweden in 1976 and featured two alpine disciplines - slalom and giant slalom.
Downhill was added to the Paralympic programme in 1984 in Innsbruck, Austria, and super-G was added in 1994 at Lillehammer, Norway.
Sit-skiing was introduced as a demonstration sport at the Innsbruck 1984 Paralympics and became a medal event at the Nagano 1998 Games.