Ski mountaineering

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Skiing on the Columbia Icefield Ski Mountaineering on the Columbia Icefield.jpg
Skiing on the Columbia Icefield
Start at Arolla, Patrouille des Glaciers 2006 PDG 7305.jpg
Start at Arolla, Patrouille des Glaciers 2006
Ski mountaineering descent on a Norwegian peak. Norway skiing.jpg
Ski mountaineering descent on a Norwegian peak.
Mt. Alberta from Columbia Icefield Mt. Alberta from the Columbia Icefield.jpg
Mt. Alberta from Columbia Icefield

Ski mountaineering (abbreviated to skimo) [1] is a skiing discipline that involves climbing mountains either on skis or carrying them, depending on the steepness of the ascent, and then descending on skis. There are two major categories of equipment used, free-heel Telemark skis and skis based on Alpine skis, where the heel is free for ascents, but is fixed during descent. [2] The discipline may be practiced recreationally or as a competitive sport. [3]


Competitive ski mountaineering is typically a timed racing event that follows an established trail through challenging winter alpine terrain while passing through a series of checkpoints. Racers climb and descend under their own power using backcountry skiing equipment and techniques. More generally, ski mountaineering is an activity that variously combines ski touring, Telemark, backcountry skiing, and mountaineering. [3]


Start of a German Reichswehr military training patrol team in the Giant Mountains, 1932. Bundesarchiv Bild 102-12927, Riesengebirge, Reichswehrubung.jpg
Start of a German Reichswehr military training patrol team in the Giant Mountains, 1932.

Military patrol was an official event at the 1924 Winter Olympics, followed by demonstration events at the 1928 Winter Olympics, in 1936 and in 1948. Military patrol is considered to be a predecessor of the biathlon.[ citation needed ]

From 1992 to 2009, the Comité International du Ski-Alpinisme de Compétition (CISAC), founded by France, Italy, Slovakia, Andorra and Switzerland, sanctioned the European Championship. [4] Then the CISAC merged with the International Council for Ski Mountaineering Competitions in 1999, which in 2008 became the International Ski Mountaineering Federation (ISMF).[ citation needed ]

Outside Europe, international championships started with the 2007 South American Ski Mountaineering Championship and the 2007 Asian Championship of Ski Mountaineering. The 2012 North American Ski Mountaineering Championship was the first edition of a North American Championship of Ski Mountaineering, sanctioned by the United States Ski Mountaineering Association.[ citation needed ]

In July 2020, the International Olympic Committee announced that Ski Mountaineering had been added as a new sport at the 2026 Winter Olympics in Milan Cortina, following a successful debut of the sport at the 2020 Winter Youth Olympics.


International competition is sanctioned by the International Ski Mountaineering Federation, while national bodies sanction national competitions, for example the United States Ski Mountaineering Association (USSMA), [5] Ski Mountaineering Competition Canada (SMCC), [6] and the Schweizer Alpen Club (Switzerland). [7]

Three important races are the Italian Mezzalama Trophy, the Swiss Patrouille des Glaciers, and the French Pierra Menta. [8]


Related Research Articles

Cross-country skiing Form of snow skiing

Cross-country skiing is a form of skiing where skiers rely on their own locomotion to move across snow-covered terrain, rather than using ski lifts or other forms of assistance. Cross-country skiing is widely practiced as a sport and recreational activity; however, some still use it as a means of transportation. Variants of cross-country skiing are adapted to a range of terrain which spans unimproved, sometimes mountainous terrain to groomed courses that are specifically designed for the sport.

Mountaineering Sport of mountain climbing

Mountaineering, or alpinism, is the set of outdoor activities that involves ascending tall mountains. Mountaineering-related activities include traditional outdoor climbing, skiing and traversing via ferratas. Indoor climbing, sport climbing and bouldering are also considered variants of mountaineering by some.

Skiing Recreational activity and sport using skis

Skiing is a means of transport using skis to glide on snow. Variations of purpose include basic transport, a recreational activity, or a competitive winter sport. Many types of competitive skiing events are recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and the International Ski Federation (FIS).

Alpine skiing Sport of skiing downhill

Alpine skiing, or downhill skiing, is the pastime of sliding down snow-covered slopes on skis with fixed-heel bindings, unlike other types of skiing, which use skis with free-heel bindings. Whether for recreation or for sport, it is typically practiced at ski resorts, which provide such services as ski lifts, artificial snow making, snow grooming, restaurants, and ski patrol.

Nordic skiing

Nordic skiing encompasses the various types of skiing in which the toe of the ski boot is fixed to the binding in a manner that allows the heel to rise off the ski, unlike alpine skiing, where the boot is attached to the ski from toe to heel. Recreational disciplines include cross-country skiing and Telemark skiing.

Telemark skiing

Telemark skiing is a skiing technique that combines elements of Alpine and Nordic skiing. Telemark skiing is named after the Telemark region of Norway, where the discipline originated. Sondre Norheim is often credited for first demonstrating the turn in ski races, which included cross country, slalom and jumping, in Norway around 1868. Sondre Norheim also experimented with ski and binding design, introducing side cuts to skis and heel bindings.

Ski touring

Ski touring is skiing in the backcountry on unmarked or unpatrolled areas. Touring is typically done off-piste and outside of ski resorts, and may extend over a period of more than one day. It is similar to backcountry skiing but excludes the use of a ski lift or transport.

Backcountry skiing

Backcountry skiing (US), also called off-piste (Europe), alpine touring, or out-of-area, is skiing in the backcountry on unmarked or unpatrolled areas either inside or outside a ski resort's boundaries. This contrasts with alpine skiing which is typically done on groomed trails benefiting from a ski patrol. Unlike ski touring, backcountry skiing can include the use of ski lifts including snowcats and helicopters. Recent improvements in equipment have increased the popularity of the sport.

Para-alpine skiing Skiing for people with disabilities

Paralympic alpine skiing is an adaptation of alpine skiing for athletes with a disability. The sport evolved from the efforts of disabled veterans in Germany and Austria during and after the Second World War. The sport is governed by the International Paralympic Committee Sports Committee. The primary equipment used includes outrigger skis, sit-skis, and mono-skis. Para-alpine skiing disciplines include the Downhill, Super-G, Giant Slalom, Slalom, Super Combined and Snowboard.

Alpine Club of Canada

The Alpine Club of Canada (ACC) is an amateur athletic association with its national office in Canmore, Alberta that has been a focal point for Canadian mountaineering since its founding in 1906. The club was co-founded by Arthur Oliver Wheeler, who served as its first president, and Elizabeth Parker, a journalist for the Manitoba Free Press. Byron Harmon, whose 6500+ photographs of the Canadian Rockies in the early 20th century provide the best glimpse of the area at that time, was official photographer to the club at its founding. The club is the leading organization in Canada devoted to climbing, mountain culture, and issues related to alpine pursuits and ecology. It is also the Canadian regulatory organization for climbing competition, sanctioning local, regional and national events, and assembling, coaching and supporting the national team.

Backcountry snowboarding

Backcountry snowboarding is snowboarding in a sparsely inhabited rural region over ungroomed and unmarked slopes or pistes in the backcountry, frequently amongst trees, usually in pursuit of fresh fallen snow, known as powder. Often, the land and the snow pack are not monitored, patrolled, or maintained. Fixed mechanical means of ascent such as ski lifts are typically not present, but alternative means such as splitboarding, hiking, snow shoeing and helicopters ("heliskiing") are sometimes used to reach the mountain's peak.

Outline of skiing Overview of and topical guide to skiing

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to skiing:

Patrouille des Glaciers

The Patrouille des Glaciers (PDG) is a ski mountaineering race organised every two years by the Swiss Armed Forces, in which military and civilian teams compete. It takes place once every two years at the end of April, in the south part of the canton of Valais below the summits of the Pennine Alps.

The International Council for Ski Mountaineering Competitions (ISMC) located in the Floridablanca 84 in Barcelona was part of the Union Internationale des Associations d'Alpinisme (UIAA) and responsible for ski mountaineering and vertical race competitions. The ISMC, which was founded in 1999 as follow-up institution of the Comité International du Ski-Alpinisme de Compétition (CISAC), merged into the International Ski Mountaineering Federation (ISMF) in 2008.

The European Championships of Ski Mountaineering were the European championships for national ski mountaineering teams 1992 to 2009. They were held biannually and were separated in men's and women's competitions.

The Comité International du Ski-Alpinisme de Compétition (CISAC) was the international committee of competition ski mountaineering and was founded in 1991.

Outdoor Research is a Seattle-based manufacturer of technical apparel and gear for outdoor sports, including alpinism, rock and ice climbing, backpacking, paddling, and backcountry skiing and snowboarding.

The International Ski Mountaineering Federation(ISMF) is the international governing body responsible for Ski mountaineering competitions. Its main aims are promotion, regulation and development of Ski mountaineering worldwide.

This glossary of skiing and snowboarding terms is a list of definitions of terms and jargon used in skiing, snowboarding, and related winter sports.


  1. Editors (2018). "Definition of "skimo"". Oxford Dictionaries | English. Retrieved 2018-12-27.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  2. Havell, Kim (March 6, 2002). "Find the Right Gear—Tip from Walter Laserer". Outside Magazine. Retrieved 2016-01-30.
  3. 1 2 Volken, Martin; Schell, Scott; Wheeler, Margaret (2007). Backcountry Skiing: Skills for Ski Touring and Ski Mountaineering. Outdoor Expert Series. The Mountaineers Books. p. 339. ISBN   978-1594850387.
  4. Claude Défago: Die Geschichte des Skialpinismus Archived 2011-07-07 at the Wayback Machine (German).
  5. "The United States Ski Mountaineering Association". USSMA. Retrieved 17 October 2014.
  6. "Ski Mountaineering Competition Canada". SMCC. Retrieved 17 October 2014.
  7. "Actualité ski-alpinisme". Archived from the original on 26 October 2014. Retrieved 17 October 2014..
  8. "The 6 Hardest Ski Touring Races in the World". Retrieved 2019-09-26.
  9. 1 2 3 "FAQ". USSMA. Archived from the original on 2014-10-22. Retrieved 17 October 2014.