Biathlon Equipment Essentials

The Nordic sport of Biathlon has equipment essentials for two different sports: cross-country skiing and rifle shooting. This interesting combination of sports leads to some specific specialty equipment that anyone interested in the biathlon will need to purchase.

  1. Cross-country skis. Much of the essential skiing equipment for the biathlon is the same or very similar to that of cross-country skiers, including the skis. The skis are freestyle or free technique skis (per the International Biathlon Union), which are shorter and stiffer than classic cross-country skis, and the binding attaches only at the toe.
  2. Poles. Ski poles help with forward motion for the biathlete. Biathlon poles are longer and stiffer than classic cross-country poles, and have a disc at the end to prevent it from going too deep into the snow.
  3. Boots. The essential biathlon boots are lighter and more flexible than downhill skiing boots, yet at the same time more rigid and provide more ankle support.
  4. Ski suit. This piece of essential biathlon equipment is a one- or two-piece suit made of Lycra or other stretchy fabric that cuts back on wind resistance.
  5. Rifle. The second sport associated with the biathlon is conducted with a modified .22 caliber rifle. With all necessary accessories except the magazine and ammunition, the rifle must weigh a minimum of 3.5 kilograms. It must also be equiped with a carrying harness, which will position the rifle across the biathlete's back when not in use. Loading and unloading of the rifle must be done by the biathlete: no automatic or semi-automatic rifles are allowed.
  6. Magazine. The rifle's magazine or clip must hold a maximum of five rounds of ammunition. As part of he essential equipment for the biathlon, a biathlete can store a maximum of four magazines in rifle stock while on course.
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