What Is The Difference Between Super G And Downhill Skiing?

Skiing is less complex than one would think. However, the sport has a few principles and disciplines that help define the type and terrain of any skiing event. For the people living in the snowy mountains, skiing is a way of transportation in their daily lives. That does not mean people living in other areas cannot enjoy the chilly wind running through their hair on a ski. 

There are five disciplines in alpine skiing: Downhill, Slalom, Combined racing, and Super G. For a novice skier, the difference between these can be unclear. So, what is the difference between Downhill and Super G skiing?

People mostly take Super G and Downhill skiing as the same events. However, there is quite a difference between the two regarding equipment, speed, terrain, technique, etc. Therefore, even though Super G has many features of Downhill skiing, both are still considered separate events. 

When you decide to adopt the skiing habit, it is best to research first before sliding down the snowy slope. It is best to learn about all the skiing types and terrains. It will make it easier for you to choose which style and landscape suit your comfort level and passion. 

Read on to learn more about Downhill and Super G skiing!

Related: Best Ski Mittens For Toddlers

What Is Super G Skiing?

It is a type of skiing that falls under the alpine skiing category. It got its introduction in the 1982 World Cup as a speed event, as it is faster than many other skiing events or types. 

The race has plenty of gates that a racer must pass to get points. In addition, the track has a lot of turns, more than other races. With the high speed of Super G, turning is the real test for the participants. 

Super G is also known as a branch of Downhill Skiing. However, there are plenty of differences between the two categories. 

What Is Downhill Skiing?

In 1921, Downhill skiing made its debut. Unlike other alpine skiing events, Downhill focuses on six components: speed, risk, courage, judgment, and physical condition. The skiing event is more about technique than speed.

Downhill skiing begins on the top of a hill and ends at the bottom. The racers face challenges to show an awake mind, strength, and courage to take risks to reach the end. 

The winner must show all six components to win a Downhill skiing race.

Difference Between Super G and Downhill Skiing

Difference Between The Two Race Events
CategoryDownhillSuper G
EquipmentLonger ski poles with low-profile tips.Rounded and bendy ski poles.Sturdy helmet is essential.Shorter ski poles with a straight body.Made of stern material.Knee, shin, and elbow pads are essential.
Track InspectionTraining allowed before the race.Training is not allowed before the race.
The number of LapsTwo laps: training and race.One lap: race.
The Race’s CourseNo man-made turns, just speed.Technical turns and speed test.
Race Time2 minutes on average.3-4 minutes on average.
Race LengthMen’s race is 800 to 1100 meters.Women’s race is 500 to 800 meters.Men’s race is 500 to 650 meters with 35 gates.Women’s race is 400 to 600 meters with 30 gates.

Super G and Downhill skiing have many similarities and differences. However, Super G is usually famous as a type of Downhill skiing, so it often confuses people. 

As a skier, beginner, or advanced, it is a must to know all about the winter sport before jumping into any skiing location. Each terrain will support a specific type of skiing. Research is the key to a safe skiing experience. 

Here is how Super G and Downhill skiing differ:


The equipment used for both skiing events is quite different, especially the poles. The ski poles for Downhill skiing are longer than Super G ski poles. They have rounded, have low-profile tips, and bend easily to maneuver through the zigzag turns of the sport. 

Skiers of the Downhill skiing events must wear skin-tight clothing and sturdy helmets for protection.  

On the contrary, Super G skiing ski poles are shorter. They are straight and stern, usually made of wood or metal to tackle obstacles. The essential protective gear of Super G is the knee, shin, and elbow pads

Track Inspection

Participants get plenty of chances to prepare for their best performance in the Downhill skiing event. In addition, the skiers can inspect the terrain and train to learn everything about it before the show. 

However, that is not the case with Super G. The racers can only see the track on race day. 

Number of Laps

There is a training run in Downhill skiing, so the race has two laps: a training lap and the actual race lap. On the other hand, Super G does not have a training lap for the skiers. Instead, it comprises one lap, which is the actual race. 

Race Course

When it comes to the course of the two races, Downhill is less challenging but more dangerous. The Downhill skiing race requires plenty of speed but has no turns. The game judges the participant’s ability to handle speed. 

On the other hand, Super G is a mix of the speed from Downhill and technical turns from Giant Slalom racing. 

Race Time

An average Downhill skiing race takes about 2 minutes to finish. However, as the race requires the participants to follow the natural turns of the mountain, it is a speedy event. 

The Super G race can stretch to 3 to 4 minutes, including technical turns. Even though it has the speed of Downhill racing, the arches make it a little time-consuming.

Race Length

Each race has different categories of men and women races. For example, downhill skiing for men‘s vertical drop ranges from 800 to 1100 meters. At the same time, women’s Downhill skiing race ranges from 500 to 800 meters of descent. 

On the contrary, Super G for men has a verticle drop of 500 to 650 meters with 35 gates. The women’s Super G has a verticle drop of 400 to 600 meters with 30 gates.

5 Memorable Champions of Men’s Downhill Skiing Race

Image credits: Reuters

When discussing skiing races, it is best to remember those who devoted their lives to winter sports to make their place in the world. Here are five champions of Downhill Skiing that raced remarkably:

Fritz Strobl

Fritz won the Downhill skiing race in Salt Lake City‘s mountains. He finished his track at 1:39.13 and reached a speed of 104.3 km/h. Therefore, he received a gold medal for his fantastic skiing skills.

Antoine Deneraiz

Deneraiz won the Downhill skiing race in the Olympics held in Torino in 2006. He finished his race in 1:48.80. He received a gold medal for his efforts.

Didier Defago

Defago was the champion of Downhill racing in Vancouver in 2010. He finished his race at 1:54.31 and reached a speed of 117 km/h. He also got a gold medal.

Matthias Mayer

Mayer took part in men’s Downhill racing in 2014. He finished his race at 2:06.23 minutes and received a gold medal for his fantastic skiing skills.

Aksel Lund Svindal

He participated in the Olympics of 2018. He finished his men’s Downhill skiing race at 1:40.25 minutes and reached a speed of 114 km/h. The player got a gold medal as a winner.

5 Memorable Champions of Men’s Super G Skiing Race

Here are the great champions of Men’s Super G skiing:

Kjetil Andre Aamodt

He was the champion of Salt Lake City. The winner finished his race at 1:21.58 and reached a speed of 89 km/h. Aamodt got his gold medal as a reward for his excellent skiing skills.

Aamdot also won the 2006 Super G skiing championship and yet another gold medal. The man finished his race at 1:30.65 minutes.

Aksel Lund Svindal

Svindal was the champion of men’s Super G in Vancouver in 2010. He finished his race at 1:30.34 minutes and received a gold medal.

Kjetil Jansrud

He participated in the 2014 Olympics. Kjetil finished his men’s Super G at 1:18.14 minutes and reached a speed of 114 km/h. He won the race and got a gold medal.

Matthias Mayer

Mayer won his Super G race in the 2018 Olympics. The man finished his alpine race at 1:24.44 and reached a speed of 108 km/h. Therefore, Matthias received a gold medal for his skiing skills.

Final Word

Knowing the difference between skiing races is easy if you know what you are finding. The best way to learn about skiing is through the internet and by watching videos of previous championships. 

You will learn more by observing the body language of past champions and by studying the terrains that are a part of the winter Olympics. 

Mitchelle Lynn