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  • Writer's pictureRaúl Revuelta

A Brief History of the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships

Updated: Jul 14

The highlight of the 2024-2025 winter season will be the Alpine World Ski Championships in Saalbach-Hinterglemm. Having hosted the World Cup Finals in March 2024, the organizers have shown that the venue is ready to welcome the world's best athletes for two weeks of competitions.

The 48th Alpine World Ski Championships will be held in Saalbach from February 4th to 16th, 2025.


The Alpine World Ski Championships is an Alpine Skiing competition organized by the International Ski and Snowboard Federation (FIS). After the Olympic Winter Games, the Alpine World Ski Championships is the most important event in the world of skiing.


Initially, the FIS was only responsible for Nordic skiing. FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 1925 in Janské Lázně, Czechoslovakia, were given status as the first official World Championships. Five years later at the 11th FIS Congress held in Oslo on February 24–26, 1930, it was decided to include the Alpine Skiing disciplines of Slalom and Downhill in the FIS International Regulations. Great Britain, led by British ski pioneer Arnold Lunn played a major role in the inclusion of Alpine Ski.


Mürren 1931 Alpine World Ski Championships


On February 19–23, 1931 the first FIS Alpine World Ski Championships were held in Mürren, Switzerland. During the 1930s, the Championships have held annually in Europe (1932 Cortina d'Ampezzo, 1933 Innsbruck, 1934 St. Moritz, 1935 Mürren, 1936 Innsbruck, 1937 Chamonix, 1938 Engelberg, and 1939 Zakopane).

In 1941 the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships were held 1 in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy. Later, in 1946, the FIS canceled the results and deemed the Championships unofficial as the attendees only included Axis nationals and citizens of neutral countries: Italy, the German Reich (Austria joined Germany in 1938), Bulgaria, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Yugoslavia, Romania, Switzerland and Hungary.


Following World War II, the Alpine World Ski Championships were connected with the Olympic Winter Games for several decades. From 1948 through 1982, the Championships were held in even-numbered years, with the Winter Games organized as the World Ski Championships through 1980, and a separate event held in even-numbered non-Olympic years. The 1950 championships in the United States at Aspen were the first held outside of Europe and the first official Championships organized independently of the Olympic Winter Games since 1939.


There were no Alpine World Ski Championships in 1983 or 1984 and since the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships 1985 held in Bormio they have been scheduled in odd-numbered years, independent of the Winter Olympics.


The program for the first FIS Alpine World Ski Championships held in Mürren, Switzerland, included a Downhill and Slalom event for Men and Women.

David Zogg, a Swiss Alpine and Nordic Combined skier from Arosa, Switzerland, won the first World Championship gold medal in Slalom. Another Swiss skier, Walter Prager became the first World Champion in Downhill.

Esmé Mackinnon, a British alpine skier from Edinburgh, Scotland, was the first female FIS World Champion in Downhill and Slalom. She was a member of the Ladies' Ski Club, the first skiing club for women,

founded in 1923, at the suggestion of Arnold Lunn, by Doreen Elliott, Mrs Duncan Harvey, and Lunn's wife, Mabel Lunn.


The Combined event was added to the program at the second edition of the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships held in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, in 1932. Otto Furrer, a Swiss Alpine skier and Cross-country skier from Zermatt was the first World Champion in the Combined discipline.

Rösli Streiff, a Swiss alpine skier from Glarus, Switzerland, and a founding member of the Swiss Ladies Ski Club in 1929 won the first gold medal in the Combined event at the Ski Championships. She also won a second gold at the Slalom event.


The Giant Slalom made its debut and displaced the Combined event at the 11th FIS Alpine World Ski Championships held in the United States at Aspen, Colorado, in 1950.

In the first race of the championships and the first Giant Slalom event held on February 13, 1950, 21-year-old female skier Dagmar Rom from Innsbruck, Austria, won the gold medal. Two days later she won a second gold medal in Slalom.

In the first Men's Championships race, Zeno Colò from Italy won the first gold medal in Giant Salom. He also won a second gold medal in Downhill and a silver medal in Slalom.


The Combined event returned as a separate event, with a Downhill and two Slalom runs at the 27th FIS Alpine World Ski Championships held in Schladming, Austria, in 1982.

Erika Hess a ski racer from Wolfenschiessen, Nidwalden, Switzerland, won the gold medal in the Combined event after finishing in 12 position in the Downhill held on January 28, and winning the Slalom three days later. Hess also won two more gold medals at the Championships in Giant Slalom and Slalom.

French alpine skier Michel Vion won the gold medal in the Combined after finishing in 5th position in the Slalom and 9th position in the Downhill.


The FIS Alpine World Ski Championships held in Crans-Montana, Switzerland 1987, included the Super-G event for the first time. Super-G was first run on the Alpine Ski World Cup level four seasons earlier, in December 1982 in Val d'Isère. The discipline was added to the official schedule of the Olympic Winter Games one year later in Calgary 1988.

Swiss skiers Pirmin Zurbriggen and Maria Walliser won gold medals to become the first world champions in the discipline.


The FIS Alpine World Ski Championships held in Åre, Sweden in 2007 were the first Championships to use the "Super-Combined" format (one run each of Downhill and Slalom) for the Combined event.

Daniel Albrecht, a Swiss skier from Fiesch in the canton of Valais, won the gold medal in the Super Combined and four days later took the silver medal in the Giant Slalom.

Swedish alpine skier Anja Pärson won three gold medals in the 2007 World Championships in the Super-G, the Super Combined, and the Downhill.


The Nations' Team event was held for the first time in the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships held in Bormio, Italy, in 2005. Six athletes from each country, including at least two men and two women, compete in four Super-G and four Slalom runs. Germany was the winner of the event.

The Nations Team Event competition at the 2011 World Ski Championships was raced in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in a Parallel Giant Slalom in a best-of-4 system. France was the winner after beating Austria in the Final.

The race for the Nations Team Event competition at the 2013 World Championships in Schladming was conducted as a Parallel event. The format was a knock-out round competition with the pairings being made according to the Nations Cup Ranking. In each pairing, two female and two male skiers from each team raced a Parallel Slalom in a best-of-4 system.

The best 16 nations in the overall World Cup Nations Cup standing after the last World Cup race, before the event, were qualified. The total team size per Nation is limited to a maximum of 6 competitors; at least 2 competitors from one gender.


The Parallel Giant Slalom competition for Men and Women was introduced at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships 2021 in Cortina d'Ampezzo. Three new World Champions were crowned in Cortina as Marta Bassino, Katharina Liensberger, and Matthieu Faivre all earned gold medals in Cortina’s Parallel World Championship debut.





1931

  Switzerland

1st Alpine World Ski Championships

1932

 Italy

2nd Alpine World Ski Championships

1933

 Austria

3rd Alpine World Ski Championships

1934

4th Alpine World Ski Championships

1935

  Switzerland

5th Alpine World Ski Championships

1936

 Austria

6th Alpine World Ski Championships

1937

 France

7th Alpine World Ski Championships

1938

  Switzerland

8th Alpine World Ski Championships

1939

 Poland

9th Alpine World Ski Championships

1948

  Switzerland

10th Alpine World Ski Championships

1950

 United States

11th Alpine World Ski Championships

1952

 Norway

12th Alpine World Ski Championships

1954

 Sweden

13th Alpine World Ski Championships

1956

 Italy

14th Alpine World Ski Championships

1958

 Austria

15th Alpine World Ski Championships

1960

16th Alpine World Ski Championships

1962

 France

17th Alpine World Ski Championships

1964

 Austria

18th Alpine World Ski Championships

1966

 Chile

19th Alpine World Ski Championships

1968

 France

20th Alpine World Ski Championships

1970

 Italy

21st Alpine World Ski Championships

1972

 Japan

22nd Alpine World Ski Championships

1974

  Switzerland

23rd Alpine World Ski Championships

1976

 Austria

24th Alpine World Ski Championships

1978

Germany

25th Alpine World Ski Championships

1980

 United States

26th Alpine World Ski Championships

1982

 Austria

27th Alpine World Ski Championships

1985

 Italy

28th Alpine World Ski Championships

1987

  Switzerland

29th Alpine World Ski Championships

1989

 United States

30th Alpine World Ski Championships

1991

 Austria

31st Alpine World Ski Championships

1993

 Japan

32nd Alpine World Ski Championships

1996

 Spain

33rd Alpine World Ski Championships

1997

 Italy

34th Alpine World Ski Championships

1999

 United States

35th Alpine World Ski Championships

2001

 Austria

36th Alpine World Ski Championships

2003

  Switzerland

37th Alpine World Ski Championships

2005

 Italy

38th Alpine World Ski Championships

2007

 Sweden

39th Alpine World Ski Championships

2009

 France

40th Alpine World Ski Championships

2011

 Germany

41st Alpine World Ski Championships

2013

 Austria

42nd Alpine World Ski Championships

2015

 United States

43rd Alpine World Ski Championships

2017

  Switzerland

44th Alpine World Ski Championships

2019

 Sweden

45th Alpine World Ski Championships

2021

 Italy

46th Alpine World Ski Championships

2023

 France

47th Alpine World Ski Championships

2025

 Austria

48th Alpine World Ski Championships

2027

  Switzerland

49th Alpine World Ski Championships

2029

  Norway

50th Alpine World Ski Championships

2031

 Italy

51st Alpine World Ski Championships


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