Ski Mountaineering joins Youth Olympic Games in Lausanne 2020

Ski Mountaineering joins Youth Olympic Games in Lausanne 2020

Baku, December 28, AZERTAC

Ski mountaineering will be tested for the very first time as an Olympic discipline during the Lausanne 2020 Youth Olympics to be held in Lausanne, Switzerland on January 10-19.

There will be three skimo events at Lausanne 2020 – individual (men’s and women’s), sprint (men’s and women’s) and a mixed-NOC relay. The individual events are the ski mountaineering version of the marathon, typically lasting up to two hours, with athletes setting off in a mass start and completing up to three ascents and descents of 800m to 1,300m.

In contrast, the sprints can be over in three minutes as athletes ascend and descend no more than 100m. To win gold, the Lausanne 2020 skimo sprinters will have to win through a qualifying round followed by a series of heats from quarter-final to final. The three best athletes progress each time.

The mixed-nationality relay features teams of four athletes (two women and two men) from different nations who take turns to complete two ascents and descents over a course with a total elevation of up to 180m. With each loop taking just 15 minutes, the quick-fire nature of the competition should make for compelling viewing.

Commonly known as “skimo”, ski mountaineering seems almost a polar opposite of conventional Alpine skiing. While most skiers are used to hurtling down mountains, ski mountaineers point their skis upwards, aiming to ascend the mountain, passing regular checkpoints throughout their events, which can last up to two hours.

Reaching as high as 1,900m, not all of the terrain at the third edition of the Winter YOG will be accessible on skis, even with special climbing skins attached for grip. Athletes will have to remove their skis, strap them to their rucksacks and continue on foot, using crampons or ice picks for the more challenging ascents.

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