This discipline derives from ski mountaineering and is a timed racing event that follows an established trail along and up a ski slope.
At the Swissathlon we are using snowshoes instead of skis to make it a little easier (which does not mean less strenuous) and last but not least more safe for our participants as the climbing with skins underneath the skis requires technique and experience.
We will cover a total length of approximately 3.2 km and around 630 meters of altitude until we finally reach the highest accessible point of the area which is the Horlihütte (2870 m.a.s.l.)
The origins of ski mountaineering goes back to the military competitions. So-called "military patrols" served to test the strength and physical education of the participating teams.
Military patrol skiing and ski mountaineering were combined with rating shootings as an official discipline at the Olympic Winter Gamesin 1924. The teams that were in the military patrol rounds consisted of four members, who had to be active soldiers at that time. However, this discipline did not meet the expectations of the public. Therefore the discipline of military patrol was removed in 1926 by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
The International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation (UIAA) plans to take the sport of ski mountaineering back to the Olympic Winter Games in 2018.