Alpine skiing combined
Traditional & Super-Combined
A traditional combined (K) consists of one run of downhill and two runs of slalom, in that order. In 2005, the International Ski Federation (FIS) introduced the super combined (or "super combi"), consisting of a single run of slalom (which may be run first, but is usually not) and normally a shortened downhill run (or a super G run). This new format (SC) lessened the advantage of the slalom specialists in the event. In either type of combined event, the winner is the skier with the fastest aggregate time. (Until the 1990s, a complicated point system was used to determine placings in the combined event.)
Alpine skiing debuted at the Winter Olympics in 1936 held in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Bavaria, Germany; the combined was the only event. The combined was one of three medal events included in the next Olympics in 1948, along with downhill and slalom. The combined used the results of the only downhill race (02-Feb) with two runs of combined slalom (04-Feb). The regular "special" slalom (two runs) was held the following day. With the introduction of the giant slalom in 1952, the combined event disappeared from the Olympics for four decades, until re-introduced in 1988. Through 1980, the Winter Olympics also served as the world championships. The world champion in the combined was determined by the results of the Olympic downhill and slalom races, as the combined event was not run separately and was determined "on paper". The top three finishers in the combined event were awarded world championship medals by the FIS, but not Olympic medals from the IOC. The world championships were held in even-numbered years from 1948-82, then skipped the 1984 Olympics. The world championships resumed in 1985, and have since been scheduled for odd-numbered years (1995 was postponed to 1996, due to lack of snow in southeastern Spain).
In the Winter Olympics and world championships, the slalom and downhill portions of a combined event are run separately from the regular downhill and slalom events on shorter, and often less demanding, race courses. On the World Cup circuit, normal combined events have been "paper races", combining skiers' times from a separately scheduled downhill race and slalom race, generally held at the same location over two days. Since 2005, the FIS has begun to replace these "calculated" combineds with super combined events held all on one day, which administrators hope will convince more skiers from more nations to compete in all disciplines.
World Cup Super Combined
The first super combined was a World Cup race held in 2005 in Wengen, Switzerland, on January 14th; Benjamin Raich of Austria was the winner. The first women's race in the new format was run six weeks later in San Sicario, Italy; won by Croatia's Janica Kostelić on February 27th. The 2006 World Cup calendar included three super combis and just one traditional combined race on the men's side, while the women raced two super combis and no traditional combineds. Kostelić won the first three women's World Cup super combis.
Beginning with the 2007 season, the FIS began awarding a fifth discipline-champion "crystal globe" to the points winner of combined races; the 2007 season included five combined races for each gender. Nine out of the ten scheduled combineds use the new super-combined format, the only exception was Kitzbühel, Austria, which continued with the traditional three-run format (K), albeit in a "paper race". The change to super combined resulted in major disapproval in the slalom-oriented part of the skiing community, the loudest critic being Ivica Kostelić.
World Championships & Winter Olympics
- List of Olympic medalists in alpine skiing
- List of Paralympic medalists in alpine skiing
- List of World Champions in alpine skiing
- Gary Black, Jr., "FIS Spring Calendar Conference Highlights", 10 May 2005
- Patrick Lang, "2006-07 World Cup to award super combined crystal globe", 17 April 2006.