Para Alpine Skiing

User Rene de Silvestro of Team Italy competes during the Men's Giant Slalom Sitting Run 1 on day six of the Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympics at Yanqing National Alpine Skiing Centre on March 10, 2022 in Yanqing, China.
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Winter Games Milano Cortina 2026

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Para Alpine Skiing

Para Alpine skiing was introduced at the Winter Paralympic Games in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden in 1976. It includes five different events: special slalom, giant slalom, super-G, downhill and super combined. As we look forward to Milano Cortina 2026, here is everything you need to know about this sport.

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Competitions

At the Milano Cortina 2026 Paralympic Games, athletes will participate in five different events according to their type of disability: standing, sitting (on a shell or monoski) or vision impaired (vision impaired and blind, who race following a guide connected via radio). The five specialties are:

  • Special slalom
  • Giant slalom
  • Super G
  • Downhill
  • Super combined

The men's and women's races will be held in Cortina d'Ampezzo, on the Tofane Olympia.

Territory

Picture of Cortina d'Ampezzo. Click on the image to discover more about the area.
Cortina D'Ampezzo

Origins

Skiing as a sport for people with disabilities dates to the Second World War, which led to a large number of injured soldiers. An amputee in Germany attached crutches to short skis, inventing the first equipment for skiers with lower limb amputations. Several years later, an Austrian veteran who had lost both legs due to a hand grenade founded a division of the Austrian Ski Association for disabled skiers, and annual competitions began to be held in Austria. Ludwig Guttmann, an important figure in the development of Paralympic sports, helped organise skiing events.

For years, skiing for people with disabilities was limited to amputees, but in 1969 a vision impaired skier named Jean Eymere, a former ski instructor who had lost his sight, started a ski programme in Aspen, Colorado, for blind skiers. In 1974 the first international competition, the World Para Alpine Skiing Championships, was held in France.

Olympic History

The first Winter Paralympic Games were held in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden in 1976, with two Alpine events: slalom and giant slalom.

Downhill skiing was added to the Paralympic program in 1984 in Innsbruck, Austria, and the super-G was added in 1994 in Lillehammer, Norway.

Sit-skiing was introduced as a demonstration sport at the 1984 Innsbruck Paralympics and became a medal event at the 1998 Games in Nagano.

Basic Rules

The main equipment includes outriggers, sit-skis and monoskis. The monoski, a shell attached with a shock absorber to one or two skis and used in combination with mini-skis, helps the athlete balance. In relation to the disability, timing correction system allows athletes with different disabilities to compete against each other.

Equipment

The main equipment includes outriggers, sit-skis and monoskis. The monoski, a shell attached with a shock absorber to one or two skis and used in combination with mini-skis, helps the athlete balance. In relation to the disability, timing correction system allows athletes with different disabilities to compete against each other.

Curiosities about Italian Championships

Italy has two exceptional Para Alpine skiing athletes: Giacomo Bertagnolli and Rene de Silvestro. In the recent Paralympic Games, visually impaired athlete Bertagnolli made history by winning two gold medals (slalom and super combined) and two silver medals (super-G and giant slalom). Rene De Silvestro, an athlete in the sitting category, also brought home a silver medal in giant slalom and a bronze in slalom at the Beijing Paralympics.

FAQ

Here are the answers to your questions.

  • Who is the most decorated male Paralympic skier at the Olympic Games?

  • Who is the most decorated female Paralympic skier at the Olympic Games?

  • Which nations have won the most medals at the Paralympic Games?

  • Where will the Para Alpine skiing competitions at Milano Cortina 2026 take place?

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