Ski Archery is a relatively obscure sport that involves skiing and shooting arrows at targets. The sport has close similarities to biathlon, with the bows and arrows replacing the rifles.
Though archery while skiing has been in existence for several decades, it did not take a competitive form until 1991. Currently ski archery is practiced by many countries around the world where other winter sports are prevalent.
Races are conducted in a format similar to that of a biathlon, where athletes ski through a course and stop for shooting at targets. Similar to biathlon, race winners are decided by the speed of skiing and the accuracy of the shots.
A ski archery course is 12 km long for men and 8 km long for women. The targets used are 16cm in diameter and are placed 18m away from the shooting line. Archers have to shoot four arrows at each target from a kneeling position. Each shot is very valuable because a miss will result in a penalty and the athlete has to ski 350m before leaving the target area. The skier to first cross the finish line is declared as the winner.
Ski archery is a rather insignificant sport when compared with biathlon. There are only a very few competitions conducted for the sport.
- Biathlon — a combination of cross-country skiing and rifle shooting.
- Field Archery — a form of archery that involves shooting at targets of varying distance, often over rough terrain.
- Cross-Country Skiing — races over snow-covered terrain using skis.
- Ski Orienteering — athletes navigate from the start to the finish through checkpoints while riding on skis.
- Laser Run — four legs of laser pistol shooting, each followed by an 800m run. It is also the final leg of the modern pentathlon.