What's it all about?
How awesome would it feel to strap on some rocket boots and fly through the air? That’s sort of what ski jumping is like. But in the nordic combined event, you then have to follow that with a cross-country ski race!
How it's played
The sport: A two-for-one sport, nordic combined involves both ski jumping and cross-country skiing.
The events: There are 3 events. The individual Gundersen normal hill (NH) and the individual Gundersen long hill (LH) events both consist of a ski jump followed by a 10 kilometre cross country ski race. And finally there’s a team event. (See pictures below.)
The equipment: Two sets of skis, one for jumping and one for, you guessed it, skiing.
The strategy: Performing well in the ski jump portion is important, because it gives you a head start in the cross-country portion.
The points: Because cross-country skiing and ski-jumping are evaluated differently (time versus points), a special chart is used to convert scores and determine the winner! This is called the Gundersen Method.
The athletes: This is a combined event, so athletes need both the skill for ski jump and the endurance and speed for cross-country.
Did you know? Canada has never won a medal in nordic combined. Our best finish was 10th place way back in 1932.
Things to watch for
Normal hill, long hill
- There are two ski jump hills, called the normal hill (NH) and the large hill (LH).
- The normal hill is used for the individual Gundersen NH event.
- The large hill is used for the individual Gundersen LH event and the team event.
There's no "I" in team
- In the team event, each country has four team members that compete.
- They each perform a jump from the large hill, with their scores added together.
- Then they cross-country ski in a relay race with each team member skiing 5 km.
Where are the women?
- There’s no rule saying that women can’t compete in this event, but they never have.
- It’s the only Winter Olympic event that women don’t compete in, but that may change in 2026.
- Women also rarely compete in the sport’s World Cup circuit, but it’s gaining popularity.
Ski-jumpers have special bindings on their skis that are built to make sure they unfasten from the skis in the case of a fall.
The sport got its start over 100 years ago at a ski festival in Norway, where it was the main attraction.
Norway has dominated the event over the years, taking an incredible 31 medals home.