|Archery biathlon has an unusual and interesting history. Pre-historic man recorded his use of skis, bows and arrows while hunting, in cave drawings and in pictographs. Early man had a need to travel over the snow with his weapons in pursuit of game or in defense of life and/or territory. His very survival was dependant upon these combined skills. A poor skier or poor archer, literally, could not survive in the unforgiving conditions that existed. A combination of the two skills was essential.|
In more recent history and folklore, various cultures have added to the archery biathlon mystique. Notable among these are the Norwegian Birkiebeiner, or “birch leg” warriors, who skied the now famous 55 kilometer route with bows and arrows on their backs to rescue their Royal Prince, who had been kidnapped, in the year 1206. The rather imposing figure of the Birkiebeiner was selected as the mascot for the 1994 Winter Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway.
Uller (Ullr), the Northern God of Winter, was the son of Sif and the stepson of Thor, the “God of Thunder” and possessor of the “Sacred Hammer.” Uller was so accomplished an archer and so proficient on skis that no one was able to match him in either target competitions or ski races. It has been said that Uller enjoyed the cold weather and loved travelling throughout the land, gliding along on his great skis, for pleasure and while hunting.
Modern archery biathlon, often refered to as “Ski-Arc,” is a blend of cross-country skiing and target archery combined into a single exciting and enjoyable event for athletes of all ages. Interest in the sport is growing rapidly in North America and in Europe, where it is already well established. A typical event includes a 6 to 12-kilometer ski course with three or four stops (ends) at the targets. Ends alternate between kneeling and standing positions. A simple “hit-or-miss” style target is used at an 18-meter distance from the racers. Archery biathletes carry their bows and arrows in specially-designed backpacks while skiing the course, while their arrows are stored at assigned shooting positions for use as the racers enter the target areas. Skis are not removed for shooting. As in a rifle biathlon event, scoring is a combination of ski time and shooting points scored.
Choose your best crossbow…