Ski orienteering
Ski orienteering
Highest governing bodyIOF
Equipmentskis, skipoles, map
World Championshipsyes

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 commonly used, but since 2019, a separate mapping standard ISSkiOM[1] has been produced which recommends a subset of the symbols used in other disciplines. Ski-orienteering maps uses green symbols to indicate trails and tracks and different symbols 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.[2] 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.[3]

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.[4]

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.[5]

World Rankings

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

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

Last updated: June 2019
Source: [6]


Ski orienteering map

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

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.[8][9] However this was unsuccessful.[10] 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.[11]


  1. ^ "International Orienteering Federation Mapping Specifications". The International Orienteering Federation Mapping Committee. Retrieved 2021-06-23.
  2. ^ "Ski Orienteering". The Canadian Orienteering Federation. Archived from the original on 2008-05-29. Retrieved 2008-05-26.
  3. ^ "Background material to the Press Release: Ski orienteering bids for inclusion in the 2018 Olympic Winter Games / News / Top - International Orienteering Federation". Archived from the original on 2010-09-25. Retrieved 2010-08-31.
  4. ^ "Home | International Orienteering Federation".
  5. ^ "Background material to the Press Release: Ski orienteering bids for inclusion in the 2018 Olympic Winter Games / News / Top - International Orienteering Federation". Archived from the original on 2010-09-25. Retrieved 2010-08-31.
  6. ^ "IOF Ski-Orienteering World Rankings". International Orienteering Federation. Retrieved June 1, 2019.
  7. ^ "International Specification for Orienteering Maps 2000" (PDF). International Orienteering Federation. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 8, 2010. Retrieved June 11, 2008.
  8. ^ "Ski orienteering launches campaign to be included in 2018 Winter Olympics". 2010-09-01. Retrieved 2023-10-30.
  9. ^ "Ski-O Bids for Spot in 2018 Olympics –". Retrieved 2023-10-30.
  10. ^ "Ski Orienteering: Possible Future Winter Olympic Sport". Retrieved 2023-10-30.
  11. ^ "Ski Orienteering Makes Successful Debut Thanks to GPS Technology". Retrieved 30 October 2023.

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