Skiing itself dates from 8000-7000BC though the rise of alpine skiing was slightly closer to present day, with its inclusion in the Olympics in 1936.
In essence it involves a variety of techniques or disciplines including combined, downhill, slalom, giant slalom and Super-G. There is also Para-alpine skiing for the Paralympics.
Slalom: This is probably one of the most well known disciplines of the sport where competitors race downhill between a series of poles and gates with the fastest time winning. Hitting the poles and gates will not only slow you down but potentially cause a crash.
Giant Slalom: Like slalom competitors race between a series of poles and gates, those these are spaced out further which increases the speed on the slope.
Super Giant Slalom: Debuting in 1988 this event is the fastest of the slaloms and once again involve competitors racing between poles and gates for the fastest time down the course.
Combined: As the name suggests it involves a combination of events, typically a downhill and two slalom runs.
Downhill: This is all about speed, with competitors reaching over 80mph down the course. The discipline itself focusses on the six components identified by the International Ski Competition Rules (FIS) which are technique, courage, speed, risk, physical condition and judgement.
What is on when?
The official Winter Olympics programme can be viewed here.
The competition for Alpine Skiing begins on Sunday 11th February when it goes straight into the men's downhill, with 11 days of events throughout the competition.