Ski orienteering

Last updated
Ski orienteering
Ski orienteering
Highest governing body IOF
Equipmentskis, skipoles, map
Olympic no
World Championships yes
Paralympic no

Ski orienteering (SkiO) is a cross-country skiing endurance winter racing sport and one of the four orienteering disciplines recognized by the IOF. A successful ski orienteer combines high physical endurance, strength and excellent technical skiing skills with the ability to navigate and make the best route choices while skiing at a high speed.


Standard orienteering maps are used, but with special green overprinting of trails and tracks to indicate their navigability in snow; other symbols indicate whether any roads are snow-covered or clear. Navigation tactics is similar to mountain bike orienteering. Standard skate-skiing equipment is used, along with a map holder attached to the chest. [1] Compared to cross-country skiing, upper body strength is more important because of double poling needed along narrow snow trails.


Ski orienteering events are designed to test both physical strength and navigation skills of the athletes. Ski orienteers use the map to navigate a dense ski track network in order to visit a number of control points in the shortest possible time. The track network is printed on the map, and there is no marked route in the terrain. The control points must be visited in the right order. The map gives all information the athlete needs in order to decide which route is the fastest, including the quality and width of the tracks. The athlete has to take hundreds of route choice decisions at high speed during every race: a slight lack of concentration for just a hundredth of a second may cost the medal. Ski orienteering is time-measured and objective. The clock is the judge: fastest time wins. The electronic card verifies that the athlete has visited all control points in the right order. [2]

International competitions
The World Ski Orienteering Championships is the official event to award the titles of World Champions in Ski Orienteering. The World Championships is organized every odd year. The programme includes Sprint, Middle and Long Distance competitions, and a Relay for both men and women.

The World Cup is the official series of events to find the world's best ski orienteers over a season. The World Cup is organized every even year. [3]

Junior World Ski Orienteering Championships and World Masters Ski Orienteering Championships are organized annually.

World-wide sport
Ski orienteering is practiced on four continents. The events take place in the natural environment, over a variety of outdoor terrains, from city parks to countryside fields, forests and mountain sides - wherever there is snow. The leading ski orienteering regions are Asia, Europe and North America.

National teams from 35 countries are expected to participate in the next World Ski Orienteering Championships to be held in Sweden in March 2011. Ski orienteering is on the programme of the Asian Winter Games and the CISM World Military Winter Games. The IOF has applied for inclusion of ski orienteering in the 2018 Olympic Winter Games and will also apply to FISU for inclusion in the 2013 Winter Universiades. [4]

World Rankings

As of 1 June 2019, the highest ranked male ski-orienteerers are:

1 Erik Rost Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden 6995
2 Sergey Gorlanov Flag of Russia.svg  Russia 6967
3 Lars Moholdt Flag of Norway.svg  Norway 6963
4 Vladislav Kiselev Flag of Russia.svg  Russia 6818
5 Eduard Khrennikov Flag of Russia.svg  Russia 6746
6 Stanimir Belomazhev Flag of Bulgaria.svg  Bulgaria 6706
7 Gion Schnyder Flag of Switzerland.svg   Switzerland 6641
8 Erik Blomgren Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden 6631
9 Tuomas Kotro Flag of Finland.svg  Finland 6552
10 Tero Linnainmaa Flag of Finland.svg  Finland 6544
11 Jyri Uusitalo Flag of Finland.svg  Finland 6506
12 Andrey Lamov Flag of Russia.svg  Russia 6501
13 Jorgen Madslien Flag of Norway.svg  Norway 6481
14 Bjornar Kvale Flag of Norway.svg  Norway 6445
15 Petr Horvat Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  Czech Republic 6372
16 Martin Hammarberg Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden 6356
17 Janne Hakkinen Flag of Finland.svg  Finland 6345
18 Oyvind Wiggen Flag of Norway.svg  Norway 6226
19 Jorgen Baklid Flag of Norway.svg  Norway 6224
20 Jakub Skoda Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  Czech Republic 6221
21 Mattis Jaama Flag of Estonia.svg  Estonia 5959
22 Radek Laciga Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  Czech Republic 5930
23 Audun Heimdal Flag of Norway.svg  Norway 5910
24 Martin Penchev Flag of Bulgaria.svg  Bulgaria 5712
25 Rasmus Wickbom Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden 5642

Last updated: June 2019
Source: [5]


Ski orienteering map Skionm2005.png
Ski orienteering map

A person taking part in competitions in ski orienteering is equipped with:

Map holder worn on chest Lob-fran-crop.jpg
Map holder worn on chest

Bid for inclusion in 2018 Winter Olympic Games

The International Orienteering Federation (IOF) had applied for ski orienteering to be included in the programme of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games. However this was unsuccessful. In the past few years, ski orienteering has grown considerably in terms of global spread. The growth has been boosted by the inclusion of ski orienteering into the Asian Winter Games and the CISM World Military Winter Games.

Related Research Articles

Orienteering Group of sports that requires navigational skills

Orienteering is a group of sports that require navigational skills using a map and compass to navigate from point to point in diverse and usually unfamiliar terrain whilst moving at speed. Participants are given a topographical map, usually a specially prepared orienteering map, which they use to find control points. Originally a training exercise in land navigation for military officers, orienteering has developed many variations. Among these, the oldest and the most popular is foot orienteering. For the purposes of this article, foot orienteering serves as a point of departure for discussion of all other variations, but almost any sport that involves racing against a clock and requires navigation with a map is a type of orienteering.

Winter sports

Winter sports or winter activities are competitive sports or non-competitive recreational activities which are played on snow or ice. Most are variations of skiing, ice skating and sledding. Traditionally, such games were only played in cold areas during winter, but artificial snow and artificial ice allow more flexibility. Artificial ice can be used to provide ice rinks for ice skating, ice hockey, and bandy in a milder climate.

International Orienteering Federation

The International Orienteering Federation (IOF) is the international governing body of the sport of orienteering. The IOF head office is located in Karlstad, Sweden.

World Orienteering Championships

The World Orienteering Championships is an annual orienteering event organized by the International Orienteering Federation. The first World Championships was held in Fiskars, Finland in 1966. They were held biennially up to 2003. Since 2003, competitions have been held annually. Participating nations have to be members of the International Orienteering Federation (IOF).

Hilde Gjermundshaug Pedersen is a Norwegian cross-country skier. Her first Olympic medal was a silver 4 × 5 km relay at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. At the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, she took the bronze medal in the 10 km classical interval start event. Pedersen is the oldest woman ever to win a cross country skiing World Cup race, which she did at age 41 in January 2006 in Otepää, Estonia.

Orienteering map

An orienteering map is a map specially prepared for use in orienteering competitions. It is a topographic map with extra details to help the competitor navigate through the competition area.

Trail orienteering

Trail orienteering (TrailO) is an orienteering sport that involves precise reading of an orienteering map and the corresponding terrain. Trail orienteers must identify, in the terrain and in the presence of decoys, control points shown on the map. TrailO involves navigation skills but unlike most other forms of orienteering, it involves no point to point racing and little or no route choice. It is conducted usually on trails and because the objective is accuracy, not the speed of physical movement, the sport is accessible to physically disabled competitors on equal terms as able-bodied.

The Orienteering World Cup is a series of orienteering competitions organized annually by the International Orienteering Federation. Two unofficial cups were organized in 1983 and 1984. The first official World Cup was held in 1986, and then every second year up to 2004. From 2004 the World Cup has been held annually.

World Cup in Ski Orienteering

The World Cup in Ski Orienteering is a series of ski-orienteering competitions organized by the International Orienteering Federation. The first official World Cup was held in 1989, then every second year up to 1999, and then in 2000, 2001, 2003, 2006, and 2007-2008.

The French Orienteering Federation (FFCO) is the national orienteering Federation of France. It is a full member of the International Orienteering Federation.

Virpi Juutilainen is a Finnish ski-orienteering competitor and world champion.

Martin Johansson (orienteer, born 1984)

Martin Johansson is a Swedish orienteering, ski-orienteering and cross-country skiing competitor, medallist from the orienteering world championships, and a 2004 Junior World Champion in relay. He received bronze medals in sprint at the World Orienteering Championships in Kyiv in 2007 and in Olomouc in 2008. His brother, Lars, is a member of the Rockford Icehogs

The history of orienteering begins in the late 19th century in Sweden, where it originated as military training. The actual term "orienteering" was first used in 1886 at the Swedish Military Academy Karlberg and meant the crossing of unknown land with the aid of a map and a compass. The competitive sport began when the first competition was held for Swedish military officers on 28 May 1893 at the yearly games of the Stockholm garrison. The first civilian competition, in Norway on 31 October 1897, was sponsored by the Tjalve Sports Club and held near Oslo. The course was long by modern standards, at 19.5 km, on which only three controls were placed. The competition was won by Peder Fossum in a time of 1 hour, 47 minutes, and 7 seconds.

Control point (orienteering)

A control point is a marked waypoint used in orienteering and related sports such as rogaining and adventure racing. It is located in the competition area; marked both on an orienteering map and in the terrain, and described on a control description sheet. The control point must be identifiable on the map and on the ground. A control point has three components: a high visibility item, known as a flag or kite; an identifier, known as a control code; and a recording mechanism for contestants to record proof that they visited the control point. The control point is usually temporary, except on a permanent orienteering course.

Mountain bike orienteering

Mountain bike orienteering is an orienteering endurance racing sport on a mountain bike where navigation is done along trails and tracks. Compared with foot orienteering, competitors usually are not permitted to leave the trail and track network. Navigation tactics are similar to ski-orienteering, where the major focus is route choice while navigating. The main difference compared to ski-orienteering is that navigation is done at a higher pace, because the bike can reach higher speeds. As the biker reaches higher speeds, map reading becomes more challenging.

Canoe orienteering

Canoe orienteering (canoe-O) is an orienteering sport using a canoe, kayak, or other small boat. Usually, a canoe-O is a timed race in which one- or two-person boats start at staggered intervals, are timed, and are expected to perform all navigation on their own. Portages are allowed. The control points, shown on an orienteering map, may be visited in any order. Standings are determined first by successful completion of the course, then by shortest time on course.

Foot orienteering Timed race in which participants start at staggered intervals

Foot orienteering is the oldest formal orienteering sport, and the one with the most "starts" per year. Usually, a FootO is a timed race in which participants start at staggered intervals, are individually timed, and are expected to perform all navigation on their own. The control points are shown on the orienteering map and must be visited in the specified order. Standings are determined first by successful completion of the course, then by shortest time on course.

Mervi Väisänen is a Finnish ski-orienteering and mountain bike orienteering competitor.

Tove Alexandersson

Tove Alexandersson is a Swedish orienteer, ski orienteer, skyrunner and ski mountaineer. She is a ten-time world champion in orienteering, a ten-time world champion in ski-orienteering, a one-time world champion in skyrunning and has won victories in the ski mountaineering World Cup. She competes for Stora Tuna OK in orienteering and Alfta-Ösa OK in ski orienteering.

Cross-country skiing (sport) Competitive winter sport

The sport of cross-country skiing encompasses a variety of formats for cross-country skiing races over courses of varying lengths according to rules sanctioned by the International Ski Federation and by various national organizations, such as the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) and Cross Country Ski Canada. International competitions include the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships, the FIS Cross-Country World Cup, and at the Winter Olympic Games. Such races occur over homologated, groomed courses designed to support classic (in-track) and freestyle events, where the skiers may employ skate skiing. It also encompasses cross-country ski marathon events, sanctioned by the Worldloppet Ski Federation, and cross-country ski orienteering events, sanctioned by the International Orienteering Federation. Related forms of competition are biathlon, where competitors race on cross-country skis and stop to shoot at targets with rifles, and paralympic cross-country skiing that allows athletes with disabilities to compete at cross-country skiing with adaptive equipment.


  1. "Ski Orienteering". The Canadian Orienteering Federation. Archived from the original on 2008-05-29. Retrieved 2008-05-26.
  2. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-09-25. Retrieved 2010-08-31.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-09-25. Retrieved 2010-08-31.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. "IOF Ski-Orienteering World Rankings". International Orienteering Federation. Retrieved June 1, 2019.
  6. "International Specification for Orienteering Maps 2000" (PDF). International Orienteering Federation. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 8, 2010. Retrieved June 11, 2008.

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