Ski Archery: The Coolest Winter
Sport You Didn’t Know
About (Till Now) Ski Archery: The Coolest Winter Sport You Didn’t Know About (Till Now)

While watching Sochi 2014 coverage, it’s easy to imagine archery in the Winter Olympic Games. The biathlon, for example, could just as easily have cross-country skiers shooting bows instead of rifles. But could people actually hit the ski trails and shoot archery at the time?

World Archery says yes. Ski archery, a recognized discipline since 1991, is actually hundreds of years old – and très cool to watch. The sport’s origins date to 1540 in Norway, but it didn’t become a competitive discipline until Italy rediscovered the sport and it became popular enough to re-evaluate its rules and format.


Where can you shoot your bow while cross-country skiing? For now, ski archery is offered here in the United States, as well as France, Italy, Germany, Japan, Ukraine, Slovenia and Russia. Meanwhile, this toxophilic (read: archery-centric) event is gaining popularity worldwide.

So what does it look like in action? Ski archery shares its competitive roots with the biathlon, so archers carry their bows in a backpack, according to the Outdoor Adventures Network, sourced via the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

The course is 12 kilometers long for men and 8 kilometers for women. Archers shoot ends of four arrows each from a kneeling position. Targets are 16 centimeters in diameter and positioned 18 meters from the archer. This makes the targets less than half the size of a standard 40-cm indoor archery target.


Shots are scored as a hit or a miss, and be sure to hit your target. Each miss costs the archer valuable time. According to Outdoor Adventures Network, archers who miss must ski a 350-meter penalty circuit before leaving the area. The first archer to complete the course wins.

Intrigued? Take a minute to check out ski archery:

Course and competitive information courtesy of:

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