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Who is the Best Alpine Skier of All Time?



best alpine skier of all time

Who is the Best Alpine Skier of All Time?

The question of who the best alpine skier of all time is has spurred countless debates among enthusiasts and experts. Alpine skiing, with its rich history and diverse disciplines, has seen many legendary athletes who have made their mark on the sport. From the classic downhill events to the intricate slalom courses, the sport has evolved, and so have the athletes who compete in it.

From a newcomer hitting the slopes for the first time to the superfans of alpine skiing, you can be sure that many of these names will be known universally to all. Whether it be bringing new eyes to the sport or getting people to visit their first ski shop, all of the athletes on this list have continued to develop and grow the sport to lay the path for future superstars on the slopes.

In this article, we’ll delve into the careers of some of the greatest skiers, comparing their achievements, and contributions to determine who might hold the title of the best alpine skier of all time.


Best Downhill Skier of All Time

The downhill event, known for its high speeds and thrilling descents, is one of the most exciting aspects of alpine skiing. When discussing the best downhill skier of all time, several names frequently come up.


Franz Klammer

Franz Klammer, known as “The Kaiser,” is often heralded as the greatest downhill skier. His performance at the 1976 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, where he won the gold medal, is legendary. Klammer’s aggressive and fearless style set him apart, and his influence on the sport is undeniable. He secured 25 World Cup downhill victories, which remains a remarkable achievement.


Hermann Maier

Another name that stands out in downhill skiing is Hermann Maier, often referred to as “The Herminator.” Maier’s career was characterised by his incredible versatility and resilience. With 15 World Cup downhill victories and two Olympic gold medals (in Super-G and Giant Slalom), Maier’s dominance in the late 1990s and early 2000s was unprecedented.


Lindsey Vonn

On the women’s side, Lindsey Vonn’s name is synonymous with downhill skiing excellence. Vonn amassed 82 World Cup victories, with a significant portion in the downhill discipline. Her career, marked by multiple injuries and comebacks, showcases her determination and skill. Vonn’s impact on the sport, especially in inspiring the next generation of female skiers, is profound.


The All-Time Greats in Alpine Skiing

Ingemar Stenmark

Ingemar Stenmark, a Swedish skiing legend, is frequently cited as the best skier of all time. His record of 86 World Cup victories stood for over three decades. Stenmark specialised in the technical disciplines of slalom and giant slalom, dominating the World Cup circuit in the late 1970s and early 1980s. His style and precision in these events set new standards in skiing.


Jean-Claude Killy

Jean-Claude Killy, a French skier, made history by winning all three alpine skiing events (downhill, giant slalom, and slalom) at the 1968 Winter Olympics. Killy’s charisma and success helped popularise the sport globally. His contribution to skiing extends beyond his competitive career, as he played a significant role in promoting the sport and organising major skiing events.


Alberto Tomba

Alberto Tomba, known for his flamboyant personality and powerful skiing style, dominated the slalom and giant slalom events in the late 1980s and 1990s. Tomba won three Olympic gold medals and two World Championships, making him one of the most successful alpine skiers in history. His impact on the sport, especially in Italy, was profound, inspiring a generation of young skiers.


Mikaela Shiffrin

Mikaela Shiffrin is often mentioned in the same breath as Stenmark. As of 2023, Shiffrin has surpassed Stenmark’s record with 87 World Cup wins. Her versatility across all disciplines – slalom, giant slalom, Super-G, and downhill – makes her a formidable competitor. Shiffrin’s career achievements, including two Olympic gold medals and numerous World Championship titles, solidify her status as one of the best skiers in the world.


Other Notable Skiers

Annemarie Moser-Pröll

Annemarie Moser-Pröll, an Austrian skier, is one of the most successful female alpine skiers. With 62 World Cup victories and six overall World Cup titles, Moser-Pröll’s dominance in the 1970s was unparalleled. She won gold in the downhill at the 1980 Winter Olympics, capping off an illustrious career.


Vreni Schneider

Vreni Schneider from Switzerland is another name that stands out. She won 55 World Cup races and three overall World Cup titles. Schneider’s success in both slalom and giant slalom in the late 1980s and early 1990s established her as one of the top female skiers of all time.


Kjetil André Aamodt

Kjetil André Aamodt, a Norwegian skier, is celebrated for his versatility and longevity in the sport. He is the only male skier to have won eight Olympic medals, including four golds. Aamodt competed across all disciplines and secured multiple World Championship titles, making him one of the greatest all-around skiers.



Determining the best alpine skier of all time involves weighing numerous factors, including World Cup victories, Olympic medals, versatility across disciplines, and the impact on the sport. Ingemar Stenmark’s dominance in the technical disciplines, Mikaela Shiffrin’s all-around prowess, Franz Klammer’s downhill mastery, and Lindsey Vonn’s resilience and success all highlight different aspects of greatness in skiing.

While it’s challenging to crown a single “best” skier, the contributions and achievements of these athletes have undoubtedly shaped the history and future of alpine skiing. Each has left an indelible mark on the sport, inspiring future generations of skiers around the world.

For those interested in exploring more about the best skiers, examining the careers of these legendary athletes provides a fascinating insight into what it takes to reach the pinnacle of alpine skiing. Whether it’s through their competitive records, their influence on skiing techniques, or their roles in popularizing the sport, these skiers are rightfully celebrated as the best skiers of all time.


We hope you enjoyed the article “Who is the Best Alpine Skier of All Time?” Who do you think is the greatest of all time? Let us know!


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Jacob graduated with a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Reading. An avid footballer, he spent time under the FAW academy programme as well as Cardiff Corinthians. Later going on to play for his university and Wellington United whilst residing in New Zealand. He currently resides in Frome, Somerset. You can contact him at [email protected]


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