About Biathlon


Welcome to the website for New York Biathlon. In these pages you will find information on biathlon in New York state and around the Northeast.

Biathlon is the olympic sport combining cross country skiing and rifle marksmanship. Races are between 6 km and 20 km in length (10 km for men and 7.5 km for womn are most common) and include either two or four shooting stops. The shooting occurs at the same location each time. The targets are at a distance of 50 meters and competitors use .22 calibre rifles. At each shooting stage the competitor has five bullets (eight in a relay) to hit five targets, for each miss there is a penalty (distance or time). During the race competitors ski with their rifles on their backs.

Race Formats

Sprint: This is the most common format. Competitors ski three loops and shoot two times (prone, standing). For each miss the competitors must ski a 150 m penalty loop. Typical race distances are 7.5 km for women and 10 km for men. The competitors start at regular intervals, typically one every 30 seconds.

Pursuit: This a five lap race whith four shooting stops (prone, prone, standing, standing). Penalty loops must be skied for misses. Typical distances are 10 km for women and 12.5 km for men. The start order and start times of a pursuit race is based on the finish order of a sprint race. The winner starts first, followed by the second place competitor at the time interval separating them after the sprint.

Pursuit Format The sprint race is not used to generate the start order. There is a regular interval between starters, typically 30 seconds.
Reverse Pursuit The start order is based on the sprint race with the last place competitor from the sprint starting first.

Individual This is the longest format, five loops with four shooting stops (prone, standing, prone, standing). For each miss the skier is assesed a 1 minute penalty. Distances are 15 km for women and 20 km for men, starts are at regular intervals (30 seconds).

Mass Start: All of the competitors start at the same time, ski five loops with four shooting stops (prone, prone, standing, standing). Penalty loops for misses. Typical distances are 12.5 km for women and 15 km for men.

Relay: Teams of 3 or 4 skiers compete with each skier completing a three lap two shooting stop (prone, standing) race before tagging off to their teammate. At each shooting stop competitors are allowed three additional bullets to hit any missed targets. These extra rounds must be hand loaded into the breach of the rifle. A women’s relay is typically 4 x 6 km, and the men’s relay is 4 x 7.5 km.