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Giant Slalom skiing
Differences between Giant Slalom and Slalom
Giant Slalom (GS) racers ski faster than Slalom racers because a GS course contains fewer gates separated by greater distances requiring significantly less turns, thus allowing racers to pick up much more momentum. GS gates themselves also differ from Slalom gates; in the Giant Slalom, gates are spaced in pairs with each pair consisting of two poles connected by a single fabric panel, whereas in the Slalom gates are single poles sans panels.
There are additional differences between the Slalom and Giant Slalom. In slalom, turns are much shorter (and thus much quicker) and so racers ski a narrower, more direct fall line. This narrower fall line holds Slalom racers in much closer proximity to the gates. As a result, a Slalom racer is likely to use a cross-blocking method to push gates out of the way in order to keep his center of gravity closer to the fall line during his run. In contrast, the fall line of a Giant Slalom run has much wider turns and thus is always less incumbered by gates. As a result, a GS racer will make much less contact with gates, and will do so using his inner shoulder rather than his outer pole.
Giant Slalom Skis and Poles
Giant Slalom skis are longer and stiffer than Slalom skis. Giant Slalom poles are usually bent to fit around a racer's body during a tuck and are not usually planted into the snow as vigorously or often as a Slalom racer's poles.
In an attempt to increase safety, the 2003-2004 season saw the FIS increase the minimum turning radius for Giant Slalom skis to 45m (from 40m), and impose minimum ski lengths for the first time; 185cm for men, 180cm for women. The existing minumum turning radius of 21m continues to apply.
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