Ezra Shaw/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

How Fast Do Downhill Skiers Go? The Answer Is Basically Really, Really Fast

Ad failed to load

I don't usually care all that much about sports, but this year's Olympics in PyeongChang have got me paying attention to all sorts of sports that aren't usually on my radar. I even attended college in an area that's really big on skiing and other snow-related sports, but never once strapped on a pair of skis. Yet here I am, anxiously watching as downhill skiers fly down mountains of snow at breakneck pace. But just how fast do downhill skiers go, anyway? The answer is basically really freaking fast, OK?

Listen, I can't even walk on snow for all that long without falling down, and I grew up in one of the snowiest regions in the country. And these athletes are putting on skis and just casually making their way down a mountain of icy peril, facing possible injury or death, like it's no big deal.

If you've ever watched a downhill skier make their way through a course, during the Olympics or at other events, you may have wondered just how fast they're really going. My basic sense is that it's super fast, but according to Sports Illustrated, Olympic downhill skiers "eclipse speeds of 80 to 95 mph," and wow, yes, that's super fast all right.

Ad failed to load

And those numbers aren't all-time records or anything. Olympic skiers usually fall in the 80 mph range, with some going 95 mph on the fastest sections of their race, according to CBS Sports. Speeds during downhill ski racing with turns usually average around 40 to 50 mph, Trails.com reported. But those aren't the sort of numbers Olympians usually clock in.

Austrain athlete Klaus Kroell holds the record for top recorded speed during a downhill competition at 96.6 mph, according to NPR and David Currier, a former Olympic downhiller who spoke with the outlet in 2006, when Kroell achieved that record in January. He didn't even win his race — he finished 19th.

Ad failed to load

These awe-inspiring speeds are tracked by a radar gun stationed at the fastest section of the downhill run, NPR reported. Currier said there's one stretch on almost every course where racers get to 85 mph or more. But of course, winning is not all about speed, but strategy, which is how someone who went as fast as Kroell might not actually win a downhill competition.

To put those numbers into perspective, cheetahs can hit speeds of about 64 mph, according to Fast Company. And they're generally considered one of the fastest land animals on Earth. Of course, they're at a disadvantage next to skiiers, because we aren't putting cheetahs on speed-enhancing skis, since that would be awful and terrifying. But most of these skiing Olympians could pass one during a downhill course if there was ever reason for a cheetah to be sprinting nearby.

Ad failed to load

And I'm not joking about the possible injury and death thing, either. Just a few months ago, French skier David Poisson, a top performer at the World Cup for years and the bronze medalist in downhill skiing at the 2013 world championships, died after he stumbled during a training run and hit a tree, according to The New York Times.

So how do professional skiers deal with the possibility of severe injury or death in the course of making their way down the hill at lightning speeds? Simple — they just don't really talk about it. Bryce Bennett, one of the American downhillers participating in the Winter Games in PyeongChang, told The New York Times:

Ad failed to load

Several athletes told the publication Poisson's death shook them, but they got back out there and they just kept competing anyway.

So if you find yourself watching downhill skiing during the 2018 Winter Olympics, just keep in mind how fast these athletes are really going while you sit and watch from the comfort of your couch. It's truly remarkable what these skiers can do, at speeds the rest of us have rarely, if ever, experienced.

Ad failed to load

Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Ad failed to load

Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

5 Parenting Habits That Increase Your Chances Of Successfully Potty-Training Your Child

From starting solids to learning to walk, every childhood milestone presents its own unique set of challenges — but this is especially true of potty training. Indeed, the very thought strikes fear into the heart of many a toddler parent, particularly…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

Getting Pregnant Might Mean Losing The Plus-Size Body I Love

For the last two years, I haven’t been my body’s biggest champion. I’ve gained 50 pounds. The stress of helping a parent get sober, a house purchase, and a new job got the best of me. But now, at 36, with talks between my husband and I about having a…
By Loren Kleinman

7 Hilarious Differences Between Having A Baby In Your 20s Vs Your 30s

I was 24 when I had my daughter. And even though that pregnancy was neither expected nor pleasant, I was optimistic. Sure, I guess your 20s are "supposed" to be about finding yourself, finishing college, starting your career, and navigating less-than…
By Candace Ganger

Babies "R" Us Was The First Place I Went When I Found Out I Would Be A Mom

For years I struggled to have a baby, and the sight of toys and layettes made my heart hurt. For me, Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us were a complete no-go zone, a reminder of everything I was missing out on. My mom would walk the long way around Target…
By Becky Bracken

New Moms Have Two Options: Be "Sad & Fat" Or "Desperate & Thin"

As the line goes, the worst thing you could say about me, I've already thought about myself. In the early postpartum period with my son, it was: "I am overweight, lonely, and heartbroken." It was four days after I brought my son into the world, and I…
By Danielle Campoamor

6 Fascinating Facts About Spring Babies: You Could Have A Leader On Your Hands

Does the season in which you are born affect you or are all seasons pretty equal? It turns out that there are many ways in which the your child's birth season could give you an insight into things to come. Whether you are expecting a baby in the next…
By Shari Maurer

Kids Will Love These TV Shows & Movies Coming To Netflix In April

It's that time of the month again: as March draws to a close, Netflix gets ready for a little bit of spring cleaning. Though some TV shows and movies will have to find homes elsewhere, their departure makes room for all kinds of exciting new media. A…
By Megan Walsh

I'm A Stay-At-Home Mom &, Face It, These 11 Stereotypes Are Totally True

Hello, friends! It's me, your resident stay-at-home mom. You know, there's a lot that's said about me and my kind, and the vast majority of it is not even remotely true. For example, this whole "we're lazy, vapid, unambitious, anti-feminist, backstab…
By Jamie Kenney

The Pressure To Worry About The Gap Between Kids Is So Bad For Moms

"Two under two is absolutely crazy," a friend recently told me upon hearing the news that I was expecting a second child. "Why would you do this to yourself? Seriously, why?" However harsh her words, she was only echoing the same feelings I'd been ba…
By Marie Southard Ospina

To Be Honest, I Couldn't Survive Motherhood Without My Job

The decision to work outside the home once you've become a parent can be a complicated one. Some people don't really have a choice, and go back to work because they're either a single parent or can't sustain their family on one income. Some choose to…
By Priscilla Blossom

I Feel Guilty That My Kid’s Dad Is A Better Parent Than Me, & That’s BS

I was scared, and he was sure. I was clueless, and he was well-researched. I was making mistakes, and he was picking up the pieces. From the moment I found out I was pregnant until just last night, when I threw my hands up in the air and left the alw…
By Danielle Campoamor

These Millennial Parents Are Taking Gender-Neutral Parenting To An Entirely New Level

A woman on the subway looks at my bulbous shape and asks, “What are you having?” I take a deep breath and throw a glance to my 5-year-old. “I’m having a baby,” I say to the woman. “No, no” the woman says laughing as she pushes further. “Are you havin…
By Madison Young

My Daughter Is Obsessed With Being "Pretty" & I'm Way Past Terrified

Last week, when I picked up my daughter after school, she immediately wanted to know if I liked her hair. "Is it pretty?" she asked. Her hair was pulled up into two ponytails that were intertwined into thick, long braids. A shimmering pink and purple…
By Dina Leygerman

7 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 20s, But I Will

I was 24 when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. The pregnancy was a surprise, since I was on birth control (side note: antibiotics and birth control don't mix), but my partner and I decided to continue with the pregnancy and committed to m…
By Candace Ganger

7 Things I Wish My Partner Had Said To Me In The First Hour After Giving Birth

I don't know if it was the buzz of the surrounding machines, the non-existent cry of our son as the doctors tried to resuscitate him, or the fact that I'd already been through labor and delivery once before, but I knew something was missing after I h…
By Candace Ganger

Moms’ Groups Weren’t For Me, Sorry

I go to my moms’ club everyday of the week, but not usually on weekends. My moms' group is a place I can always count on finding fellow mothers who understand the daily struggles and triumphs of parenthood and of juggling life’s responsibilities. Dep…
By Samantha Taylor

I've Had 3 Miscarriages But *Please* Keep Telling Me About Your Pregnancy

I can feel the tension the moment my friend announces her pregnancy. I can hear the forced nonchalant attitude she's willing herself to exude as she fishes for the ultrasound. I know why I was the last to learn that she was expecting; why she keeps l…
By Danielle Campoamor

7 Early Signs You're Going To Need An Epidural, According To Experts

Even if you've constructed an elaborate birth plan, it's impossible to control every aspect of labor and delivery. Complications can occur, proactive measures might be necessary, and your mind is subject to change when those damn contractions really …
By Candace Ganger

11 Essential Products To Pack In Your Hospital Bag, According To OB-GYNs

The minute you go into labor (or think you're going into labor), chaos ensues. You and your partner are likely to get a little frantic, just like in the movies, so you most definitely want to have a hospital bag packed before the day comes. This prec…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

7 Photos You *Must* Take In The First 6 Months Of Motherhood

In my experience, becoming a mom is like becoming an amateur photographer. There's just something about the need to capture every single coo and sorta-smile that leaves you obsessed with all things photography. I know I couldn't stop taking selfies w…
By Candace Ganger