Nordic combined

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Not to be confused with Alpine combined, in which athletes compete in downhill and slalom ski racing.
Nordic combined
Nordic combined pictogram.svg
Highest governing body International Ski Federation
First played 1892, Holmenkollen Ski Festival, Oslo
Team members Individuals or groups
Olympic Since the first ever Winter Olympics in 1924

The Nordic combined is a winter sport in which athletes compete in cross-country skiing and ski jumping. Nordic combined at the Winter Olympics is ongoing, though there is no women's competition sanctioned by the International Ski Federation.


The first major competition was held in 1892 in Oslo at the first Holmenkollen ski jump. It in the 1924 Winter Olympics, and has been on the programme ever since. Until the 1950s, the cross-country race was held first, followed by the ski jumping. This was reversed as the difference in the cross-country race tended to be too big to overcome in ski jumping.


There are four kinds of Nordic combined events, of which three - the individual, sprint and team - are World Championship events. A fourth, the mass start, was introduced at the 2009 championships at Liberec, Czech Republic. At the autumn 2008 FIS meeting in Zurich, Switzerland, it was agreed that the individual and sprint events would be replaced by compact versions of the events. These new versions would also be contested at the 2009 world championships in Liberec.

Current events included in the Olympics are the men's individual NH/10 km, men's individual Large Hill/10 km and the men's team 4 x 5 km.


The most common is the individual race, also known as the Individual Gundersen. Prior to 2008, this event encompassed two jumps from the ski jumping normal hill, and 15 km cross country skiing. Points are scored in ski jumping for distance and style. The distance points being 2 points per meter (1.2 for hills with a K-point of 100 m or farther), and the style points range between 3 and 30 per jump. In the cross-country race, a 15-point lead in the ski jump equals a one-minute head start. The racers with most ski jumping points will start first, followed by the next best jumper after as much time as there was difference in their jumping scores. This means that the first skier to cross the finish line is the winner of the event. This method of competition, also known as the Gundersen method, was introduced in the mid-1980s. Before, athletes would start the final race in intervals, and the gold medal would be decided on points. For the 2009 championships, this event changed to a single jump from the normal hill followed by a 10 km cross country race using the Gundersen system. This also applies to the large hill ski jump event, formerly the sprint. At a 28 May 2009 meeting in Dubrovnik, Croatia, it was stated that the 2008 format of one ski jump hill followed by the 10 km cross country skiing event passed the test, resulting in a doubling of television coverage from the previous season.


The team event consists of four skiers starting from the ski jump with one jump each, then moving onward to cross-country skiing in a 4 x 5 km relay. The Gundersen point total for this as of 2008 has been 1 point equals 1.33 seconds or 45 points per minute. It is a pursuit start similar to the individual events. When the event debuted in the 1980s, the event was a 3 x 10 km team event, but that changed following Japan's successes at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 1993 in Falun and the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer where the country won by almost four minutes and almost five minutes respectively. The event became a 4 x 5 km team at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 1995 in Thunder Bay, Ontario where it remained; however, in the 2012-13 season, a 2 x 7.5 km team event has been introduced, in which 2-man teams complete one jump each and then a series of 1.5 km legs of cross-country skiing are run: thus far, it has led to some close finishes.

Penalty race[edit]

The penalty race was introduced in 2011–12 FIS Nordic Combined World Cup. In this form, the jumping competition will be organized as a Gundersen Jumping competition (with judging and wind/gate compensation). All results will be automatically calculated to the jump with the best result as highest points. The number of penalty laps will be fixed according to the point differences in the jumping competition (calculation is valid for NH and LH):

  • Winner 0 lap + 10sec bonus
  • 0 lap 0.1 – 4.9 points behind the winner
  • 1 lap 5.0 – 9.9 points behind the winner
  • 2 laps 10.0 – 16.9 points behind the winner
  • 3 laps 17.0 – 24.9 points behind the winner
  • 4 laps 25.0 – 35.0 points behind the winner

In cross-country competition, the winner of jumping is starting 10 sec. ahead at the mass start. The penalty loop is 150 meters in the stadium. No restriction on when the athlete has to run the penalty laps, and additional markings on the bibs showing the number of laps. The course length is 10 km by a 2 km lap.



The sprint event is basically the same, but only one jump is performed on the large hill, and the cross-country distance is 7.5 km. For the 2009 championships, this event changed to a single jump from the large hill followed by a 10 km cross country race using the Gundersen system.

Hurricane sprint[edit]

Recently, a newer form called "Hurricane sprint" has been introduced, which is similar to the sprint using the Gundersen method, but based on extra distance instead of extra time. The distance is still 7.5 km, but only the best contestant from the ski jumping will run that distance and all others start a given distance behind, based on their scores from the ski jumping. As the estimated official speed of a cross-country skier is 6 m/s, this means that the contestants start 24 m behind the leader for every point they are behind (to match roughly with the time penalties from the Gundersen method). This form is on the program for the 2007–08 FIS Nordic Combined World Cup.

Mass start[edit]

In the mass start event, the cross country race is held first. The winner of that event receives 120 points, the others get 15 points subtracted for each minute behind the leader. In the ski jump, no style points are awarded, although jumpers receive fewer points for falling or failing to make a Telemark landing. The winner of this event is determined on a points-based system. This event made its debut at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 2009 in Liberec. After that, this event is dropped.

Ski jumping equipment[edit]

The binding must be mounted parallel to the run-direction. The binding must be placed in such a way that a maximum 57% of the entire ski length is used as the front part.
High-backed, flexible yet firm boots with a low cut at the front. They are designed to allow the skier to lean forward during flight.
Connection cord
Part of the binding; a cord that attaches the ski to the boot and prevents the wobbling of skis during flight.
Ski jumping suit
All portions of the ski jumping suit must be made of the same material and must show a certain air permeability. The size of the suit must conform to the body shape in an upright position with certain tolerances.
Jumping skis
Jumping skis are manufactured especially for use on ski jumping hills. Skis with a length of a maximum 146% of the total body height of the competitor may be used. The curvature and shape of the skis is restricted by certain geometric features.

Cross-country skiing equipment[edit]

Bindings secure only the toe of the boot to the ski.
The skating shoe is fixed to the ski with a binding, holding the toe firm. The rear of the boot is built up to shore up the ankle, which is constantly under pressure in skating technique.
Long and straight, often reaching up as high as a competitor's nose, with a specially shaped basket designed to allow skiers to push hard and evacuate snow.
Narrower and lighter than those used in Alpine skiing. They have long, curved ends and rise up slightly in the middle. They can be up to 2 meters long.
Uses stretch fabric hugging the body, similar to a runner’s training clothing.
Glide wax is crucial, and determined by snow and weather conditions.

See also[edit]