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Ski mountaineering: sports medical considerations for this new Olympic sport
  1. Volker Rainer Schöffl1,2,3,4,
  2. Thomas Bösl5,
  3. Christoph Lutter3,6
  1. 1 Department of Orthopedic and Trauma Surgery, Klinikum Bamberg, Bamberg, Germany
  2. 2 Department of Orthopedic and Trauma Surgery, Friedrich Alexander University Erlangen, Nuremberg, Germany
  3. 3 School of Clinical and Applied Sciences, Leeds Becket University, Leeds, UK
  4. 4 Section of Wilderness Medicine, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver, Colorado, USA
  5. 5 Department of Competitive Sports, German Alpine Club, Munich, Germany
  6. 6 Department of Orthopedics, University of Rostock Medical School, Rostock, Germany
  1. Correspondence to Dr Volker Rainer Schöffl, Department of Orthopedic and Trauma Surgery, Klinikum Bamberg, Bamberg, Germany; volker.schoeffl{at}

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On 20 July 2021 ski mountaineering (Skimo) was officially included into the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Olympics by the International Olympic Committee.1 This development underlines the consistent professionalisation of a sport that had been included in the Olympic programme in 1924 as well as having been a demonstration sport in the Olympic games from 1928 to 1948. It was then excluded due to several fatalities. It has since developed from an unorganised leisure sport to a professional sport, represented by the International Ski Mountaineering Federation (ISMF).2 In 2020, Skimo was included in the Youth Olympic Games in Lausanne. In the following we present the sports medical considerations of this new Olympic discipline.

Physiological demands

Skimo as a competition sport consists mainly of three types of races: (1) individual races with a minimum of three uphill and downhill sections,3 4 (2) vertical races (one uphill section) and (3) sprint races with short uphills and downhills.5 Additionally, there are relay races performed as individual and sprint races.

Skimo at the elite level demands good endurance as well as the ability to perform at high intensity.5 6 Competition race time is significantly correlated with peak rate of oxygen consumption (VO2peak), body mass index and the weight of the racing …

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  • Contributors All authors contributed in the intellectual content, writing and proof reading of the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.