Lausanne 2020 events
The Sprint is a short individual race, combining the essential Ski Mountaineering features and techniques. Part of the ascent is made on skis and another part on foot, with skis on the backpack. Finally, the descent from the top is made skiing in one single time.
As its name implies, the Sprint is a very fast race that the faster racers complete in approximately 3 minutes. The total ascending elevation is of about 100 meters, with athletes starting and finishing in almost the same point.
The first round is an individual qualification with athletes starting one after the other, every 20 seconds. After this qualifying round, athletes face each other in heats of 6 runners from quarterfinal to final. The 3 best of every heat are qualified for the next round. Qualifying athletes race at least twice. In the final, the winner is the first to cross the finish line.
This is an individual race with 3 ascents and 3 descents. There is also a section where the athlete has to proceed on foot, carrying his skis on his backpack. The individual race normally lasts from one to one and a half hours and has an ascending elevation of 800 to 1300 meters. In this event, all competitors start the race together and the winner is the first competitor to cross the line.
The Mixed Relay is a team race where every team is composed of 4 athletes (2 women and 2 men) from different Nations. Participation in each team will be in the following order: W-M-W-M, with each athlete racing once. This race is made of 2 ascents and 2 descents, with a total ascending elevation of 150 to 180 meters, and has a short section where the competitor has to put his skis on his backpack. Again, it is quite a fast race, since every loop takes about 15 minutes to complete.
Since there is a total of 48 athletes competing in the Ski Mountaineering events, there will most probably be 12 teams of 4 athletes taking part in the Mixed Relay, which will be divided into 3 heats of 4 teams. The first 2 teams of each heat and the 2 best 3rd placed teams will move on to the semi-finals. The two semi-finals will have 4 teams per heat and the best 2 teams of each heat will move on to the finals, composed of 4 teams.
Get to know the sport of Ski Mountaineering
In July 2017, the IOC announced that Ski Mountaineering would become the eighth sport on the programme of the Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Lausanne 2020, joining the other seven exciting Olympic winter sports.
What’s it all about?
Ski Mountaineering – commonly referred to as “skimo” for short – is a winter sport in which athletes race over snow-covered terrain using both skiing and mountaineering techniques. The courses require competitors to ski uphill and downhill, often gaining up to 1,900m in elevation, as they pass through a series of checkpoints, and the first racer to cross the finish line wins. Some sections of the course also require athletes to travel on foot, carrying their skis on their rucksacks, and they may even need to use crampons or other specialist equipment for steeper, icier ascents.
The Winter YOG Lausanne 2020 will feature individual, sprint and relay events. Individual races are similar to a marathon, with athletes setting off in a mass start over a course with at least three ascents and descents and up to 1,900m of elevation gain. Races typically last between one-and-a-half and two hours, with at least one ascent where athletes need to remove their skis and climb on foot. As the name suggests, sprint races are much shorter and faster than individual races. The total ascent and descent is usually around 100m, with the fastest athletes completing the course in approximately three minutes. Relay races, meanwhile, feature a team of three or four athletes, with each member of the team completing a short circuit one after the other. Like the sprint, the relay is quite a fast event, with each circuit lasting about 15 minutes and including two ascents and descents.
Athletes use a range of specialist equipment when competing in Ski Mountaineering events. Their skis are usually very light, so they don’t weigh the athlete down when they are strapped to the backpack, while their boots are designed to be easy to wear when ascending on skis or on foot, with quick-opening fastenings to adapt the boot to the right situation. The bindings also have to be able to switch between uphill and downhill use. The skis themselves feature detachable “skins” on the bottom, which allow athletes to ski uphill without sliding backwards. Some races also require athletes to use ice axes, harnesses, ropes and crampons.
There are currently 32 member associations of the International Ski Mountaineering Federation (ISMF), which administers the sport, with races taking place across the world, including in Switzerland, France, North America, South America, Russia, Scandinavia, China, Korea and Japan, to name a few. The ISMF calendar features an annual World Cup circuit, with Continental and World Championships taking place in alternate years.