How to do: Biathlon

27.01.2019, Antholz, Italy (ITA):Dorothea Wierer (ITA), Lisa Vittozzi (ITA), Anastasiya Kuzmina (SVK), Marte Roeiseland (Olsbu), Paulina Fialkova (SVK), Kaisa Makarainen (FIN), Iryna Kryuko (BLR), Hanna Oeberg (SWE), Monika Hojnisz (POL), Anais Bescond (FRA), Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold (NOR), Julia Simon (FRA), Irina Starykh (RUS), Lisa Theresa Hauser (AUT), Mona Brorsson (SWE), Lena Haecki (SUI), Ekaterina Yurlova-Percht (RUS), Franziska Hildebrand (GER), Clare Egan (USA), Laura Dahlmeier (GER), Vanessa Hinz (GER), Justine Braisaz (FRA), Denise Herrmann (GER), Karolin Horchler (GER), Tiril Eckhoff (NOR), Marketa Davidova (CZE), Nicole Gontier (ITA), Fuyuko Tachizaki (JPN), Svetlana Mironova (RUS), Rosanna Crawford (CAN), (l-r) - IBU world cup biathlon, mass women, Antholz (ITA). © Manzoni/NordicFocus. Every downloaded picture is fee-liable.

Cross-country skiing and shooting at small targets – the biathlon mecca Antholz will once again host the Biathlon World Cup. From 19 – 22 January 2023, athletes will compete in three exciting disciplines over three days. And finally, the Biathlon World Cup in Antholz will take place again with numerous fans! After two years of yawning emptiness in the stadium and on the Huber Alm, the organizers are finally looking forward to welcoming you back to the Südtirol Arena in 2023.

But what exactly is this biathlon and what do you need to know about the sport? We took a closer look at these questions:


  • What is Biathlon?

Biathlon, Latin/Greek for a double fight, is a sport that is mainly played in winter. It is a combination sport consisting of the disciplines of cross-country skiing and shooting. Cross-country skiing is an endurance sport and shooting is a precision sport. Shooting is alternately prone and standing, but not in the mass start. There, the athletes shoot twice in a row lying down and then twice standing up.

In addition, biathlon is a sport held at the Winter Olympics, and in non-Olympic years biathlon world championships are held. Other international races are held as part of the Biathlon World Cup, like the one just held in Antholz.

Side Fact: In biathlon, the word “competition” is used instead of “race” because it is not just a race, but a combination of two different competitive activities.

  • What equipment is required for biathlon?

Skis, poles, boots, and clothing suitable for the weather are required. A rifle specially designed for biathlon is also required. Participants may only use small-caliber rifles of caliber .22 with breech or lever action. Automatic or semi-automatic firearms are not permitted. Air rifles are often used by younger competitors because they are easier to access and use. In summer biathlon, skis are exchanged for rollerblades, a mountain bike, or even sometimes running shoes.

  • Is biathlon training strenuous?
Yes, because the job of a biathlete requires one of the toughest training programs, which makes biathletes the fittest athletes in winter sports. Cross-country skiing is a gentle full-body workout and an excellent test of the cardiovascular system. Shooting requires control and balance, especially control of heart rate and breathing to complete the shots in the required time.
  • What types of competitions are there? How are the athletes classified?

There are different types of competitions (e.g. individual, sprint, pursuit, mass start, relay, and mixed relay). At the international level, there are six categories of competitors: Men, Women, Junior Men, Junior Women, Youth Men, and Youth Women. At national-level events, athletes can be categorized by age and gender.

  • Is biathlon safe?

Biathlon is a safe activity suitable for people between the ages of 8 and 60. All participants are taught how to use a rifle safely and are supervised at all times. Young people use air rifles, which are smaller and easier for beginners. Since the sport of biathlon includes shooting, all participants are subject to strict rules regarding the safety of shooting and handling of rifles. Even the slightest violation of a safety rule will result in disqualification during the competition. Because of the very strict safety regulations, biathlon has an excellent safety record.

  • Who participates in biathlon?

Biathlon is practiced by people of all ages as athletes, volunteers, coaches, and officials.

If you’ve got a taste for it now, take a look at our Falkensteiner Hotel Antholz. The biathlon centre “Südtirol Arena” is only a few minutes away from the hotel. It’s definitely worth a visit!

PS: If you want to see more biathlon, we recommend this year’s World Championships. The 53rd Biathlon World Championships will take place from 6 to 19 February 2023 in the Lotto Thüringen Arena at the Rennsteig in the German Oberhof in the Thuringian Forest.