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Skier competing in the slalom.—Fabrice CoffriniAFP/Getty Images
Alpine skiing event in which competitors race one at a time down a zigzag or wavy course past a series of flags or markers called gates. The course is carefully designed to test the skier's skill, timing, and judgment. A skier who misses a gate is disqualified unless he or she returns and passes through it from the proper side. Men's events use 55–75 gates, women's 45–65. The giant slalom has characteristics of both slalom and downhill skiing; giant-slalom gates are wider and set farther apart, and the course is longer than in the slalom. The supergiant slalom (super-G) is closer to downhill; its course is steeper and straighter than that of the other slalom events and features longer, more sweeping turns taken at higher speed.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on slalom, visit Britannica.com.