Olympic Downhill and Slalom Skiing Events

A private ski instructor and competitive amateur skier, Jim Decker of Vancouver, BC, has competed in races across Canada, the United States, and Switzerland. James Decker also stands out as an accomplished freelance photographer, who has photographed a number of Olympic skiing events for publication.

At the Olympic Games, downhill skiers compete in five different events. The basic downhill skiing event tests a competitor’s speed. It features the longest downhill course in the Olympic games and sends skiers down steep straightaways at speeds of up to 90 mph.

By contrast, the slalom and giant slalom events emphasize agility rather than velocity. The basic slalom event is shorter but requires the competitor to change direction quickly and navigate extremely tight turns. The giant slalom, although similar, has fewer and wider turns with a longer total distance.

Another type of turn-focused event, the super giant slalom, or “Super G,” further reduces the tightness of turns to allow higher speeds. Often considered a combination of downhill and slalom racing, the Super G requires athletes to turn skillfully at speeds of more than 50 mph. Competitors may also demonstrate both skills in the alpine super combined event, in which the skier completes a single downhill run as well as a single slalom run and receives a combined finish time as the final score.


Choosing the Right Skis Involves A Lot of Options

A Vancouver, British Columbia, native, James “Jim” Decker is a freelance photographer and private ski instructor. Jim Decker has been a ski instructor in Vancouver, BC, since 2005 and has competed in several skiing competitions throughout the United States, Switzerland, and Canada.

The first step to selecting the right skis is looking at skis for one’s specific gender. Skis are designed for high functionality based on the skier’s gender, thus eliminating many other options and making the process easier. Choosing the right skis also depends on skill level and ability. There are six levels of skiing ability that range from beginner to expert, and each group requires a different type of ski. However, not every ski within one’s skill range is a good fit.

There are also several different types of skis, including powder, race, and carving skis. Ski types differ in terms of length, wideness, and stiffness, depending on the different skiing categories they fit into. All-mountain skis, which have the capability of being any skis an individual wants them to be, are often best suited for first-time buyers.

Balancing on Skis

Jim Decker has worked as a private ski instructor in Vancouver, British Columbia, for nearly a decade. An avid snow sport enthusiast, he also enjoys snowboarding and snowmobiling. James Decker also serves the Vancouver, BC, area as a freelance photographer.

Skiing can be an exhilarating, full-body workout during the cold winter months, but before hitting the trails it is important to learn how to balance on skis. Amateur skiers should begin by practicing evenly distributing pressure between both ski boots, with their weight focused between the heel and arch of the feet. This is the basic skier’s stance, a position from which the skier can change direction quickly and effectively.

To build confidence in this stance, beginners should lean forward until they lose balance (using the ski poles to keep from falling), repeating the process until they feel comfortable balancing on the skis. This exercise can be repeated leaning backward and to either side to gain a solid feel for how much give the skis will allow. With enough practice, new participants to the sport should have a rudimentary ability to remain balanced on their skis.

The International Ski Federation World Cup Events

A professional photographer, James Decker of Vancouver, BC, particularly enjoys photographing outdoor sports, including skiing. Some of the ski events Jim Decker has photographed include the Winter Olympics, which in 2010 was held in Vancouver, BC, as well as the International Ski Federation (FIS) Alpine Ski World Cup and the FIS Nordic Combined World Cup.

The FIS Alpine Ski World Cup and FIS Nordic Combined World Cup are comprised of many races throughout the ski season. Instead of being scored over the course of a single event, as in the Winter Olympics, top skiers are scored based on their performance during an entire season. Alpine ski races consist of four different types of downhill races: slalom, giant slalom, super G, and downhill. Nordic combined races, on the other hand, consist of ski jumps and a specified interval of cross-country skiing. Nordic combined has been referred to as the “decathlon of skiing,” as participants must utilize different muscles to complete the respective competitions. The FIS World Cup events are held in a number countries around the world.

Vancouver, British Columbia’s Historic Stanley Park

Based in British Columbia, Jim Decker is a freelance photographer who has shot numerous sporting events spanning Canada and the world, including the Winter X games and the Super Bowl. Jim Decker also has an interest in local Vancouver, BC, sights and has photographed natural locations such as VanDusen Botanical Garden and Stanley Park.

One of the world’s largest urban green spaces, 1,000-acre Stanley Park enjoys a unique peninsular location bounded by the Pacific Ocean. Initially home to several settlements of Squamish Indians, the area experienced light logging during Colonial times before being converted into a British military reserve designed to strategically protect Vancouver harbor. In the 1880s, the land passed on to a prominent real estate investor, Arthur Wellington Ross, who had a vision of a world-class civic park. The creation of Stanley Park was not simply altruistic; Ross also hoped that adjacent neighborhoods would realize strong gains in property values. Seawall construction protecting the park began in 1917 and was completed in 1980, giving Stanley Park its current character. James Decker enjoys taking coastal photographs along this scenic seawall.