What do you know about biathlon?

What do you know about biathlon?

Discover biathlon and get started

Bringing together two disciplines, cross-country skiing and shooting, biathlon is a sport that combines endurance, calmness and concentration!
Learning biathlon lets you discover this Olympic discipline in a playful and fun way.

Discover biathlon

Biathlon combines two sporting disciplines:cross-country skate skiing and rifle shooting.
Biathlon is a playful and fun activity. It combines endurance, concentration and self-control.

This cross-country skiing activity is of military origin but nowadays it has been made more accessible thanks to French athletes featuring in various international competitions, and thanks to the numerous taster and beginner workshops with suitable rifles (laser rifle) set up in resorts making this sport accessible to all.It's also a fun way to learn skate skiing in winter.



    Biathlon is a cross-country skate skiing trail
    separated by rifle shooting sessions,
    standing and in prone position.

    The difficulty is in controlling your shot despite the breathlessness caused by the ski trail.



    The start can be a mass start or staggered
    depending on the event which can be
    either individual or team.
    The individual events are:
    individual, spring, pursuit and mass start.
    The team events are:
    relay and mixed relay.

    The 22 long rifle
    has a minimum weight of 3.5 kg.
    The target range distance is 50 m.
    The target diameter depends on the type of shot:
    45 mm in prone position and 115 mm in standing position.

    There are 5 shooting targets to hit.
    The penalties given for a missed target
    are skiing around a 150 m penalty loop
    for all events, except for the individual where a one minute penalty is added to total time.
    The suspense lasts until the last shot as there are many turns of events.



    Learning biathlon lets
    you discover this Olympic discipline in a playful and fun way

    The aim is to challenge you
    throughout the course by switching between skiing
    and shooting the laser rifles on the shooting stands.



    With safety being paramount, these introductory sessions
    and courses are overseen by professionals
    In general, air or laser rifles are used
    (non-lethal). You will never ski with a rifle on your back, they remain on the
    shooting stand under the watchful eye of a professional!

    The target range distance is usually 10 m
    instead of 50 m in competition, and they are smaller
    which means that you will have the same visual perception
    as a competitor.

    At 10 or 50 m from the target, prone or standing position for the experienced, there are lots of options for getting started and turning you into a champion!

Margaux’s story

Margaux, can you introduce us to your team?
Yes, of course. We are 12 colleagues between 25 and 55 years old, however, despite the differences in our age, physical shape or skiing level, we are all on a equal footing when it comes to biathlon.Those who knew how to ski didn’t necessarily know how to shoot and vice versa!

Where can we try out biathlon?
For us, it was at Contamines-Montjoie where they have a slope and you can shoot air rifles under supervision;you can also try out laser rifles if you are less comfortable or with children.

How does it work?
It’s a cross-country ski trail where you stop to shoot targets.For every missed target you must do a penalty loop.Therefore, you mustn’t go too fast otherwise you could have to ski more.You must be strategic.We started with prone position shooting (it’s not easy to manage the position of the skis on the feet so we had a good laugh), then we got to our feet to make things even harder...This doesn't have the same results.

Was it the first time you had done it?

I had already tried out a shooting and running version at an Olympics, that can be a good way to get started if you are worried about managing too many things at once for a first-timer on cross-country skis...

What did you like the most?
Beating my sport-mad colleague who doesn’t know how to aim!Therefore, he had to do all the penalty loops so even though I was skiing slower than him I still won, ha ha.

And the hardest thing?
Being able to refocus to aim correctly, getting back control of your breathing and your body after the effort required to ski.That requires a lot of concentration.

Would you start over again?
Yes, absolutely!It really is an all-round physical and mental activity:You practise real sport, as well as using balance and sliding technique to speed up and slow down, then concentration and accuracy is required for shooting...

Do you have a tip for those wanting to get started?
Aim correctly!I’m no pro but I noticed that by holding my breath when I aim that I am more accurate...Try it out!Let me know what you think in the comments.

And to do more?

This sport can also be practised all year round thanks to the summer version with roller skate skiing or even just running.

If you want to practise regularly and make progress then the only way to do so is to join a club.This sport isn’t as accessible if you want to practise independently in an organised way since its primary purpose is competition.

More and more young people are now getting involved in this demanding but enjoyable sport!

Check out our selection of tips

classic cross-country skiing


Cross-country skiing is increasingly popular, accessible to all and enables you to unwind while enjoying snowy landscapes. Whether it's classic, skating or Nordic hiking, there's something for everyone!



Do you want to start cross-country skate skiing or just renew your equipment. Check out our advice to choose the pair cross-country skate skiing boots that meets your needs and body type.