giant slalom

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noun Skiing.
a slalom race in which the course has more gates and is longer and steeper than that in a regular slalom.
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Origin of giant slalom

First recorded in 1950–55
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What is the giant slalom?

The giant slalom is a longer version of the slalom—the type of skiing and snowboarding event that takes place on a winding, downhill course marked by a series of boundary poles or gates, which the racer is required to stay between while attempting to cross the finish line in the shortest possible time.

There are several slalom events in the Winter Olympics. In skiing, these include the slalom, the giant slalom, and the super giant slalom (popularly called Super G). The giant slalom and the super giant slalom feature longer courses and more widely spaced gates than the regular slalom, with super giant slalom having the longest course.

In snowboarding, there is an event called the parallel giant slalom. (In slalom events, the word parallel indicates that two racers compete simultaneously on identically spaced courses).

Such competitive skiing events are categorized as types of Alpine skiing (in contrast with Nordic skiing, which includes cross-country skiing and ski jumping). Alpine skiing is sometimes more generally called downhill skiing. The term downhill is also used in a more specific way as the name of the Alpine skiing event that takes place on a relatively straight downhill course—without gates.

There are also giant slalom events in the Paralympic Winter Games

In slalom events, the gates or poles are laid out in different variations and combinations based on the course and the competition rules. It is common for racers to hit the gates as they pass them in order to take the most direct (and fastest) route to the next gate.

Example: She’s a veteran of the slalom, but this is her first time competing in the giant slalom.

Where does giant slalom come from?

The term giant slalom has been used since at least the 1950s. The first records of the word slalom in English come from the 1920s. It comes from the Norwegian word slalåm, from sla(d), meaning “sloping,” and låm, meaning “track.”

The creation of competitive slalom is credited to Arnold Lunn, a British skier and winter athlete who developed the sport in the 1920s.

The slalom event in skiing was first included in the Winter Olympics in 1936. The giant slalom event was added in 1952, and the super giant slalom (super G) event was added in 1988. The first snowboarding giant slalom event was featured in 1998.

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How is giant slalom used in real life?

There are giant slalom events in both skiing and snowboarding.



Try using giant slalom!

True or False? 

Of all the slalom events, the giant slalom features the longest course.

How to use giant slalom in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for giant slalom

giant slalom

skiing a type of slalom in which the course is longer and the obstacles are further apart than in a standard slalom
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012