While watching Sochi 2014 coverage, it’s easy to imagine archery in the Winter Olympic Games. The biathlon, for example, could just as easily have cross-country skiers shooting bows instead of rifles. But could people actually hit the ski trails and shoot archery at the time?
World Archery says yes. Ski archery, a recognized discipline since 1991, is actually hundreds of years old – and très cool to watch. The sport’s origins date to 1540 in Norway, but it didn’t become a competitive discipline until Italy rediscovered the sport and it became popular enough to re-evaluate its rules and format.
Where can you shoot your bow while cross-country skiing? For now, ski archery is offered here in the United States, as well as France, Italy, Germany, Japan, Ukraine, Slovenia and Russia. Meanwhile, this toxophilic (read: archery-centric) event is gaining popularity worldwide.
So what does it look like in action? Ski archery shares its competitive roots with the biathlon, so archers carry their bows in a backpack, according to the Outdoor Adventures Network, sourced via the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
The course is 12 kilometers long for men and 8 kilometers for women. Archers shoot ends of four arrows each from a kneeling position. Targets are 16 centimeters in diameter and positioned 18 meters from the archer. This makes the targets less than half the size of a standard 40-cm indoor archery target.
Shots are scored as a hit or a miss, and be sure to hit your target. Each miss costs the archer valuable time. According to Outdoor Adventures Network, archers who miss must ski a 350-meter penalty circuit before leaving the area. The first archer to complete the course wins.
Intrigued? Take a minute to check out ski archery:
Course and competitive information courtesy of: http://www.myoan.net/shootingart/sm_arch_ski.html