Nordic Combined

cross-country skiing segment of a nordic combined event

It's ski jumping and a cross country ski race.

To help you understand the sport of nordic combined, let's find a comparable summer sport. Nordic combined is a competition that comes close to the high end of both types of nordic imagine a swimmer who must first compete in the high dive, and then go on and swim 5000 meters. Or perhaps a track athlete who must first compete in the pole vault, and then a 10,000 meter race. Multiply the danger of the first event by a factor of 50, and you've got somthing that approximates the challenge a nordic combined athlete faces.


The first recorded competition in Nordic combined was 1892, at the first Holmenkollen Ski Festival in Oslo, Norway. It is likely that this sprung from lesser, local or regional events that held "combined" competitions, but the exact origins are unknown. The ski touring race was traditionally held first; in the 1950s the order was reversed for reasons unknown. Nordic combined was a medal event in the first Winter Olympics in 1924, and has been a Winter Olympics men's event ever since. Because the IOC does not recognize women's ski jumping, nordic combined is yet to become a medal competition for women.

Types of Competition

There are six types of events. Individual, sprint and team are the three that are World Championship events.

Individual This is better known as the Individual Gundersen. It combines two jumps and a 15 km cross country skiing. Ski jumping is scored for distance on the K-point, and style. In the cross country event, the racers with most ski jumping points start first, with starting times set on the basis of 1 minute for every 15 points difference from the jumping competition. In effect, the jumps become a "qualifier" for the cross country race, and the first person to cross the finish line in the race is the overall event winner

Sprint This is the same as individual competition, except skiers make just one jump, and race just 7.5 km.

Team Think of this as an Individual competition times four. Each skier makes 2 jumps, and all jumps count. Each forty points difference sets a one minute advantage in the cross-country race, which is a 4 x 5K relay.

Hurricane sprint Almost the same as sprint, but instead of a time penalty, each skier starts 24 meters behind the leader for every point they are behind.

Mass start A little-used format that hearkens back to the early days of nordic combined. The cross country race is held first. Winner of the XC gets 120 points; runners up get 15 points deducted for each minute behind. The jump has no "style" points, although points can be deducted for falling or for a non-telemark landing.

Team sprint Two participants each make one jump, then start a relay according to the differences in the jumping scores. The skiers each do six stints in the 15 km relay, changing between each 11 times, total distance of 7.5 km per skier.

Interesting Trivia

Nordic combined is the only known competition that uses the two extremes of the equipment used by a winter sport. Jumping skis are the widest of any skis used, and cross country skis are the narrowest of any skis used.

Key Links...

Please click here for the main page.

Masthead photos used by permission:
Ralf Roletschek
Creative Commons
US Army/public domain
Erik Charlton.