orienteering is a cross-country endurance
winter sport. Similar to the orienteering
disciplines practised in the summer
season, ski orienteering requires an
extremely high level of both physical
and mental fitness. An elite level ski-orienteer
needs excellent skiing and map reading
skills - and the ability to combine
those two. The athlete has to take hundreds
of route choice decisions at high speed
during every race.
The prepared ski tracks are of various
quality. Throughout the competition
the ski orienteer has to make decisions
about which route is the fastest between
the controls. The route choice is made
on the basis of the quality of the ski
tracks, gradient and distance, all of
which can be read from the map.
In respect of physical condition, ski
orienteering is comparable with marathon
running or cross-country skiing. To
be successful in ski orienteering, the
athlete must master all skiing techniques,
classical and free technique as well
as all general downhill and turning
World Championships in ski orienteering
are held every even numbered year, and
the World Cup is organised in uneven
numbered years. The programme includes
competitions in long distance or medium
distance, short or super-sprint distance,
and relay for both women and men.
Having its origins in the 1890s, ski
orienteering is a sport with long traditions.
Ski orienteering became a recognized
Olympic sport in 1949.
RACING EQUIPMENT: Ski orienteers use
the same kind of racing skis, ski poles,
suits, boots and bindings as cross-country
MAP HOLDER: A specially designed map
holder attached to the chest makes it
possible to view the map at competition
speed while skiing at full speed.
MAP: The map provided by the organiser
shows the control points which must
be visited. The map is designed to give
all the information the competitor needs
in order to decide which route is the
fastest, such as the quality of the
tracks, gradient and distance.
COMPASS: The compass is attached to
the map holder or to the skier's arm.
CONTROL CARD: A control card is attached
to the competitor's arm. At each control,
the competitor punches the card as proof
of having visited that control.