What Is Skiathlon? – Everything You Need To Know + The History

Winter sports are all the buzz when the season approaches. All the sports lovers gather around or discuss vigorously on virtual platforms at their favorite time of the year. Snow sports are most likable during the chilly weather. There are plenty of ski sports that people participate in and enjoy watching. The most loved is the skiathlon because it is the combination of two fantastic ski techniques. So, what is a skiathlon?

Skiathlon is an energetic and fun skiing event. It is a combination of classic skiing and freestyle skiing. During this race, the participants race down the slope by covering half the distance with classic skiing and the other half while choosing their preferred skiing technique other than classic skiing.

Skiathlon has a rich history and is a fun sport. It is thrilling for the participants to switch between the race and strive to be the winner. Plus, it is an excellent piece of entertainment for the watchers. Here is everything you need to know about skiathlon!

History of Skiathlon & Transitions of Skiathlon Throughout History

What Is Skiathlon
1924Pursuit Ski Race

Due to its modernistic name, people misperceive skiathlon as a new sport. However, the winter sport dates back to 1924. Back in the day, the skiathlon was called the pursuit ski race. Later, in 2003, the pursuit ski race got a makeover and a touch of modernism. It was then called the paciut.

In 2011, the FIS council of Ljubljana felt the need to rename the sport again. The council realized that the sport’s name was creating confusion among the spectators and players regarding handicapped winter sports and others. Therefore, at this moment, the paciut sports got their new and final name, skiathlon. 

After the sport got a more straightforward name and was easily distinguishable from all the others, skiathlon shot up to the skies. It is now one of the leading sports played in the Winter Olympics and the Scandinavian FIS World Ski Championships.

What Sport Is Skiathlon?

Skiathlon is a cross-country skiing sport. It is a big event comprising various race formats and course lengths. Such cross-country skiing sports have plenty of competitions under their umbrella.

For instance, the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships, the FIS Cross-Country World Cup, and the Winter Olympic Games all fall under the category of cross-country skiing sports. These exciting sports require careful arrangements for the smooth running of things. Therefore, specially groomed courses are chosen and maintained to support all kinds of skiing, classic and freestyle. In addition, the authorities conduct separate ski races for men and women to select the final competitors.

How Does Skiathlon Work?

Two Techniques In The Skiathlon
The Classis SkiingDiagonal side
Double pole
Herringbone without glide
The Freestyle SkiingThe freestyle techniques’ approval depends on the course’s weather and snow conditions.

As mentioned earlier, a skiathlon combines two types of skiing sports. The first half of the distance in the race requires the participants to adopt classic skiing techniques. These include:

  • Diagonal side
  • Double pole
  • Herringbone without glide

In classic skiing, the judges do not accept skating techniques. You can also not use the turning method with pushing. Just step turn technique is allowed.

The other half of the race includes freestyle skiing. The participants can choose whichever skiing technique they like. The freestyle techniques’ approval depends on the course’s weather and snow conditions.

The two skiing styles are equally divided by keeping in mind the distance of the total race. The cross-country skiathlon has separate races for men and women, each with a different length till the finish line.

How Long Is The Women’s Skiathlon?

The skiathlon has separate ski races for male and female participants. Each race has its course and distance. The skiathlon for women has a total length of 15km. It has two parts: the participants travel the first 7.5km with classic skiing technique and the other 7.5km with freestyle skiing.

How Long Is The Men’s Skiathlon?

Quite lengthier than the women’s skiathlon, the men’s skiathlon is 30km long. The male participants must complete the first of the two consecutive stretches of 15km with classic skiing. The rest of the 15km require the participants to adopt any freestyle method of skiing. 

How Long Does It Take To Do A Skiathlon?

As the skiathlon involves only two types of categorical techniques, it takes approximately 40 minutes to finish an average skiathlon. Of course, this time measurement is for the perfect circumstances. 

Many things affect the time it takes to conduct a successful skiathlon. The weather conditions, course situation, skier’s speed, and any other unforeseen circumstances can disrupt the carefully calculated timeline of any well-planned skiathlon. 

Why Do Cross-Country Skiers Change Their Skis?

Many questions arise when someone talks about a skiathlon. The most famous questions are about the tournament’s length, time, and nature. However, there is another concern that watchers and participants show regarding skiathlon: the skier’s ski change

Most participants need to change their skis in the middle of the race. As mentioned earlier, the skiathlon has two parts: classic skiing and freestyle skiing. When the participants, whether in the male race or the female, reach their half milestone, they have to use the freestyle method of skiing. 

The participants can choose their favorite type of ski style in this race section. Most people prefer the skating method, for which they need to change their skis to skates. Depending on the player’s choice, a ski change happens in the middle of the race.

Final Word

The skiathlon is a fun winter sport that many people love. It is an exciting and accessible sport that does not include complicated elements. Plus, it gives the participants a sense of independence with the freestyle option in the last half of the game. It is enjoyable for the spectators to observe which type of skiing technique their favorite player will choose. The skiathlon is an Olympics-worthy sport and deserves to be a part of every winter sports event!

Mitchelle Lynn