Ski mountaineering is a rapidly growing winter sport that involves alternately climbing and descending slopes and various racing formats that differ in length and total vertical gain, as well as their distribution of downhill and uphill sections. In recent years, both participation in and media coverage of this sport have increased dramatically, contributing, at least in part, to its inclusion in the 2026 Winter Olympics in Milano-Cortina. Here, our aim has been to briefly describe the major characteristics of ski mountaineering, its physiological and biomechanical demands, equipment, and training/testing, as well as to provide some future perspectives. Despite its popularity, research on this discipline is scarce, but some general characteristics are already emerging. Pronounced aerobic capacity is an important requirement for success, as demonstrated by positive correlations between racing time and maximal oxygen uptake and oxygen uptake at the second ventilatory threshold. Moreover, due to the considerable mechanical work against gravity on demanding uphill terrain, the combined weight of the athlete and equipment is inversely correlated with performance, prompting the development of both lighter and better equipment in recent decades. In ski mountaineering, velocity uphill is achieved primarily by more frequent (rather than longer) strides due primarily to high resistive forces. The use of wearable technologies, designed specifically for analysis in the field (including at elevated altitudes and cold temperatures) and more extensive collaboration between researchers, industrial actors, and coaches/athletes, could further improve the development of this sport.

Ski mountaineering: perspectives on a novel sport to be introduced at the 2026 Winter Olympic Games

Bortolan, Lorenzo
;
Savoldelli, Aldo;Pellegrini, Barbara;Modena, Roberto;
2021

Abstract

Ski mountaineering is a rapidly growing winter sport that involves alternately climbing and descending slopes and various racing formats that differ in length and total vertical gain, as well as their distribution of downhill and uphill sections. In recent years, both participation in and media coverage of this sport have increased dramatically, contributing, at least in part, to its inclusion in the 2026 Winter Olympics in Milano-Cortina. Here, our aim has been to briefly describe the major characteristics of ski mountaineering, its physiological and biomechanical demands, equipment, and training/testing, as well as to provide some future perspectives. Despite its popularity, research on this discipline is scarce, but some general characteristics are already emerging. Pronounced aerobic capacity is an important requirement for success, as demonstrated by positive correlations between racing time and maximal oxygen uptake and oxygen uptake at the second ventilatory threshold. Moreover, due to the considerable mechanical work against gravity on demanding uphill terrain, the combined weight of the athlete and equipment is inversely correlated with performance, prompting the development of both lighter and better equipment in recent decades. In ski mountaineering, velocity uphill is achieved primarily by more frequent (rather than longer) strides due primarily to high resistive forces. The use of wearable technologies, designed specifically for analysis in the field (including at elevated altitudes and cold temperatures) and more extensive collaboration between researchers, industrial actors, and coaches/athletes, could further improve the development of this sport.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11562/1051856
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