Slalom Skiing - Equipment

Equipment

With the innovation of "shaped" skis around the turn of the 21st century, equipment used for slalom in international competition changed drastically. World Cup skiers commonly skied on slalom skis at a length of 203-207 centimeters in the 1980s and 1990s but by the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, the majority of competitors were using skis measuring 160 cm or less.

The downside of the shorter skis was that athletes found that recoveries were more difficult with a smaller platform underfoot. Over concern for the safety of athletes, the FIS began to set minimum ski lengths for international slalom competition. The minimum was initially set at 155 cm for men and 150 cm for women, but was increased to 165 cm for men and 155 cm for women for the 2003-2004 season.

American Bode Miller hastened the shift to the shorter, more radical sidecut skis when he achieved unexpected success after becoming the first Junior Olympic athlete to adopt the equipment in giant slalom and super G in 1996. A few years later, the technology was adapted to slalom skis as well.

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