Alpine skiing, or downhill skiing, is the sport of sliding down snow-covered hills on skis with fixed-heel bindings. It is characterized by the requirement for mechanical assistance getting to the top of the hill, since the equipment does not allow efficient walking or hiking, unlike cross-country skis which use free-heel bindings. It is typically practised at ski resort which provides services such as ski lifts, artificial snow making and grooming, first aid, and restaurants. Back-country skiers uses alpine skiing equipment to ski off the marked pistes, with the transport by helicopter or snowcat.
There are four competitive alpine skiing disciplines: slalom has short tight turns, whereas giant slalom races are set with more widely-spaced turns. super giant slalom and downhill have few turns; the courses have gates spaced widely apart and skiers often reach 100 km/h.
Alpine skiing began as a club sport in 1861 at Kiandra in Australia and a number of similar clubs in North America and the Austrian and Swiss Alps.