Alpine Skiing 101: Equipment

Learn about the equipment used in alpine skiing at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
Learn about the equipment used in alpine skiing at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

Skis

Olympic alpine skis are designed for maximum speed and carve turning. They very in size depending on the discipline. Downhill skis are the largest with minimum lengths of 218 centimeters (86 inches) for men and 210 cm (83 in.) for women. Slalom skis are the smallest with minimum lengths of 165 cm (65 in.) for men and 155 cm (61 in.) for women.

Bindings

Bindings secure boots to the skis. They are designed to release their hold in the event of a fall.

Poles

Poles are used for balance and steering. There are different types of poles for the speed and technical events. 

Helmet

Helmets protect the head and ears. In slalom events, a chin guard is attached to the helmet to protect skiers from getting hit in the face by gates. 

Goggles

Ski goggles, which come in a variety of lens colors, protect the eyes against weather, glare and the effects of speed on the eyes. 

Suit

Suits are usually skintight to reduce air resistance. Skiers are also allowed to wear padding for protection. 

Wax

A substance applied to the base of skis to increase control, glide and speed.