Downhill is an alpine skiing discipline. The rules for the Downhill were originally developed by Sir Arnold Lunn for the 1921 British National Ski Championships. "Downhill skiing" is a commonly used term that is synonymous with "alpine skiing" to denote the sport and recreational activity of alpine skiing. The Downhill discipline involves the highest speeds and therefore the greatest risks of all the alpine events. Racers on a typical international-level course exceed speeds of 130 km/h (81 mph) and some courses, such as the notable Lauberhorn course in Wengen, Switzerland, and the Hahnenkamm course in Kitzb端hel, Austria, speeds of up to 150 km/h (93 mph) in certain sections are common. Competing in the Downhill event requires skiers to perfect an aerodynamically efficient (tuck) position to minimize drag and increase speed. This contrasts to the technical expertise required in lower speed slalom events (Super G, Giant Slalom & Slalom) where turns are progressively more emphasized.
Austrian Downhill racing suit Equipment for the Downhill is different from the alpine events that are lower-speed. Skis are 30% longer than those used in Slalom, for more stability at high speed. They usually have rounded, low-profile tips rather than pointed tips. Ski poles are bent so as to curve around the body as the racer stays in a "tuck position" and may have aerodynamic, cone-shaped baskets. As in other alpine disciplines, Downhill racers wear skin-tight suits to minimize drag, and helmets are mandatory. In an attempt to increase safety, the 2003-2004 season saw the FIS increased the minimum sidecut radius for Downhill skis to 45 metres (148 ft) from 40 metres (130 ft), and impose minimum ski lengths for the first time: 215 centimetres (7.05 ft) for men, and 210 centimetres (6.9 ft) for women.