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Olympic Skiing

Skiing Highlights in the History of the Winter Olympics


Olympic Skiing

Cross Country racers pass by the Olympic Rings as they compete during the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

Harry How/Getty Images Sport
The First Ski Events

The Olympics of 1924 were held in Paris, France. That same year, the town of Chamonix, France planned a winter sports festival and decided to petition the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to recognize this event. While the IOC did not sanction these games as Olympic Games, they did allow Chamonix to call the events an Olympic Winter Carnival. The surprising success of these games led the IOC to sanction a separate winter set of games and the Winter Olympic Games were formally established in 1928.

Nordic Skiing Olympic Events

St. Moritz, Switzerland was the host city for these first sanctioned games and nordic skiing comprised the only skiing events. In 1936, alpine skiing first appeared on the program with a combined event for both men and women. Because of World War II, the winter Olympics were not held again until 1948 when the games returned to St. Moritz, with alpine events a major part of the schedule.

Alpine Skiing in the Winter Olympics

In 1952, the Winter Olympics were held in Oslo, Norway. Women's cross country skiing and a men's and women's giant slalom were added to the skiing program. In 1956, at Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, Austrian alpine skier Toni Sailer was the hero of the games, winning all three alpine events, downhill, slalom, and giant slalom. This feat was repeated in 1968 at Chamonix, France, where French hero Jean-Claude Killy accomplished the alpine sweep.

Since Killy's wins several racers have won two events, but not all three. Racers have tended to become more specialized, concentrating on certain events, and accomplishing a Grand Slam in alpine skiing is becoming less and less likely. For more Olympic skiing history, review a list of all Olympic alpine medal winners and nordic skiing medalists.

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