Canadian Ski MuseumCanadian Ski Hall of Fame

A Brief History of the Skiing Disciplines at the Olympic Winter Games

The Olympic Winter Games have recognized a number of skiing disciplines over the years:

Cross country skiing
Demanding strength and endurance, cross country skiing was an original discipline included in the 1924 Chamonix Games, where both the men's 18 km and 50 km races were contested. The first women’s cross country races were introduced at the 1952 Oslo Games. 

Ski Jumping
A spectacular and breathtaking event, it was one of the original disciplines included in the first Olympic Winter Games at Chamonix in 1924. The events include individual normal hill (90m), individual large hill (120m), and team large hill (120m). 

Nordic combined
Nordic combined includes a scoring combination of ski jumping and cross country competition. The individual events have been included in the Olympic Winter Games' program since the 1924 Chamonix Games. 

Alpine skiing
A sport requiring speed, agility and technical skill, alpine skiing was first placed on the Olympic Winter Games program in 1936 at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. The standard alpine ski racing events are downhill, super G, giant slalom, slalom and combined. All events are timed races. 

Growing out of military patrol competitions that appeared in the 1924, 1928, & 1936 Olympic Winter Games, biathlon is an event combining the strength and endurance of cross country skiing along with the steady hand and skill needed for rifle marksmanship. As part of a winter pentathlon demonstration event, it was first included in the 1948 St.Moritz Games. Twelve years later, biathlon was officially added as an Olympic event at the 1960 Squaw Valley Winter Games. 

Freestyle skiing 
Freestyle skiing is a newer discipline within the sport of alpine skiing. Moguls, an event requiring lightning-fast reflexes and a high degree of technical skill, became an Olympic medal discipline at the 1992 Albertville Games. Aerials, another event requiring a high degree of technical skill as well as gymnastics ability, was officially added to the 1994 Lillehammer Games. Ballet was a demonstration event in 1988 and 1992 but was subsequently dropped from International and Olympic competition shortly thereafter. 

Men’s and Women’s snowboarding events made their Olympic debut at the 1998 Nagano Games. Olympic snowboard competitions include alpine and freestyle events, and require similar skills to that of alpine skiing. 

Various other skiing demonstration events have been included in the Olympic Winter Games
Freestyle Skiing - Ballet (1988, 1992)
Military Patrol (1924, 1928, 1936)
Speed Skiing (1992)
Skijöring (1924, 2006)

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For a brief history of the Olympic Games, please click here.