The Departure ( synonym: the downhill race ) is a discipline of alpine skiing. It is considered the pinnacle and is the longest and the second oldest (after the slalom) alpine skiing competition. The rules were first established in 1921 by Sir Arnold Lunn for the British National Championships.

Due to the high speed exit is considered the riskiest of all disciplines. With the World Cup races downhill skiers reach top speeds of 130 km / h and more. At the Hahnenkamm races in Kitzbühel in part, 140 km / h achieved at Lauberhorn race in Wengen up to 160 km / h Downhill skiers must have great strength, endurance, excellent skiing skills and a lot of courage to compete in the world class can.


A typical downhill via a specially prepared track, which is cut off before the race and then is not accessible for ordinary skiers. With monochrome gates the route is marked. Alternating colors (red and blue, such as the giant slalom ), there is not in the downhill. Meanwhile, it has become established practice that curbs are indicated by coloring the snow.

The most famous circuits are fixed set and change little over the years. In addition to the Streif in Kitzbühel and the Lauberhorn downhill in Wengen runway Oreiller - Killy in Val d'Isere, the Saslong in Val Gardena and the Kandahar Garmisch are considered the classic downhill of the World Cup.

The race tracks are designed so that the racers are demanded in various fields. You driving at high speed on often icy patches, through technically demanding corners, on extremely steep sections and also through the flats, where you have to slide as well as possible. Long jumps increase the difficulty in addition. Downhill tracks for Olympic Winter Games and FIS competitions have to be specifically examined in which besides the technical data is also taken that these slopes are not only selective, but also technically very demanding and media-friendly. A descent to make demands on technology, courage, speed, risk and physical condition, according to FIS rules. The course must from start to finish can be driven at different speeds.

The height difference with a downhill race of Men in the World Cup, in the Continental Cup, World Championships and Olympic Games is at least 800 meters and a maximum of 1100 meters, with the women at least 500 and at most 800 meters.


The equipment in downhill skiing differs from that in the other disciplines. The skis are 30 percent longer than in slalom to give the racers at high speed the greatest possible stability. The bars of the gates are flexible, so they offer as little resistance to the touch. The racers wear skin-tight ski suits to minimize drag. The material must have a specific, well-defined air permeability.

At the International Ski Federation ( FIS ) organized racing only suits may be worn, which were reviewed by the FIS and provided on the left leg with a lead seal. Ski helmet and back protector are mandatory. The minimum radius for downhill skiing in the World and European is 50 meters, the minimum length of 218 cm for men and 210 cm for women. In addition, the ski must not exceed 95 mm and not more than 65 mm wide at the narrowest point on the blade. Until the World Cup season 2011/12 the minimum radius was 45 meters, the minimum length of 215 cm for men and 210 cm for women and the waist width at least 67 mm, a blade width was not prescribed.


On all racing levels, from local youth races to World Cup races, the racers will have the opportunity to visit the race track exactly. You discuss this with their coaches and teammates, and then perform several practice runs through to determine the best aerodynamic position and a quick line as possible.

Unlike Slalom and Giant Slalom, where racers compete to two runs, there is only one passage in downhill skiing. The victories in the World Cup time is usually about two minutes. The times achieved have been greatly improved. So were the times achieved at the start of the World Cup (1967 ), for example, the Lauberhorn race over 3 minutes, currently there are only about 2 minutes and 25 seconds.

In poor visibility and weather conditions in the upper part of the track, the race jury sometimes decides to carry out a so-called Downhill in the lower part of the route, which will be held in two runs. The difference in height must be at least 450 meters here. Such Downhill was first held in 1990 in Kitzbühel, where they even addition to the Hahnenkamm downhill fix was on the program from 1997 to 1999.

Since the introduction of the World Cup, the boot sequence has changed several times. At the beginning there were starting groups (group 1 1-15, group 2 of 16 to 30, Group 3 31-45, etc. ), where the numbers were drawn in each group ( the same was true slalom and giant slalom to ). A special feature was a provision for snow racing, where so-called " star driver " anticipates started. These were recruited from the last starting group, so numbers 60 and higher. It was never set in which each row starting groups had to be drained. This measure had the advantage that the arrivierten runners vorfanden a faster track. The term " star " refers to the fact that the runners in question were identified in the standings with an asterisk.

From the season 1993/94, there was (also in the super-G ) to a new feature: the first 15 of the World Cup start list were the starting number for the race set yourself. Each of standing in the first place runner the first to choose the starting number. [Also in the slalom and RTL, there was a change: there were only the first eight; probably attracted the respective number 1 best number 1 ].

The next innovation, there was on 31 May 2002 when the FIS Congress in Portorož the "Non -stop" (the result of the last exercise session ), starting from the season 2003/ 04, was determined and the best turn came as Thirtieth ( Super-G, however, launched the current N ° 01 as Thirtieth ).

Quite optimal but this solution was not, because quite often the piste conditions but is so deteriorated that the best runners were more vulnerable. Bode Miller did in this regard to help, however, by 2005 its start intentionally delayed the crucial training run at the World Championships in Bormio, received a favorable starting point and won. However, someone could exaggerate, so he would not start until after the first 30. With Date 26 May 2006, the FIS Council that more and more become the fashion " Bet brakes " were from now ended - as in the super-G - the start numbers due to the inverse World Cup start list. The main reason for the regulation was certainly the moment of tension (especially for TV coverage). But was again the argument is not to deny that had the later start ends disadvantages and practical "punished" for their top position were. So it was from 2008/ 09 to the now current version with 3 groups: the top 7 in the world rankings with numbers from 16 to 22, the next-best seven 9-15; the rest are 1-8 and 23-30 (with a draw determines the order in these respective groups).


The risk of injury during alpine skiing is the highest of all the alpine disciplines. Along the entire route safety nets, upholstery and special impact zones are set up so that violations of minimizing falls. In contrast to the pioneer days when the lines were secured only with straw bales, fatal falls are only extremely rare today. Sometimes the racers suffer despite all the security efforts severe injuries ( esp. in the knee and back ), which involve a longer -month break or even the end of the sports career after themselves.