How fast do downhill skiiers go? Sometimes we can convince ourselves that what we’re seeing on-screen can’t be *that* hard. But the following is about to serve as a biting return to reality, at least for downhill skiing. If you’ve ever wondered just how fast the world’s best downhill skiers are, the answer is: crazy fast.
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The U.S. Ski Team will feature some familiar faces in the alpine events with Olympic gold medalist Lindsey Vonn back to compete “” and more than a decade after he became the youngest man to finish first in the men’s combined — a event featuring one downhill run and one slalom run.
In a race that is purely man, or woman, versus mountain, downhill skiers tactfully dodge marked gates in the slope’s fastest race. Fastest to the bottom wins.
With their adrenaline pumping and their precisely curved skis helping them accelerate down the course, Olympic downhill skiers eclipse speeds of 80 to 95 mph, though those speeds are not necessarily sustained throughout the entire run. In some cases, racers have graduated to speeds of more than 100 mph. The crouching position allows racers to reach maximum speeds while minimizing air resistance.
Speed and Cross-Country Skiers’ Downhill Speeds
Speed skiers, who dress in aerodynamic apparel and ski straight down the mountain without turning, can travel up to 156 miles per hour, according to the current world record holder Simone Origone’s speed of 156.2 MPH. One of the fastest female speed skiers in the world is Sanna Tidstrand, a Swedish skier who hit 150.6 miles per hour.
So, how fast do downhill skiers go?
The answers vary, but the general consensus seems to be that Olympic skiers tend to fall in the 80 miles-per-hour range, with some exceeding even 95 miles per hour on the fastest sections of the course. In and outside of the Olympics, the top downhill speeds approach or exceed 100 miles per hour. Currier told NPR in 2006 that Austria’s Klaus Kroell set an Olympic record with a 96.6-miles-per-hour feat.