Top 10 Rules of Nordic Combined

nordic combined rules

Nordic combined is a special type of skiing event that combines two main forms of skiing: ski jumping and cross country racing. Athletes perform the jump segment first to determine their starting positions for the event’s 10km cross country race portion. Better ski jumps help the competitors obtain better start times race, and the first skiers to complete the race win. Nordic Combined has been a part of the Winter Olympic program since the inaugural 1924 Chamonix Games.


What are the most important rules of nordic combined?

  1. Disciplines
  2. Equipment Requirements
  3. Order of Events
  4. Safety Rules
  5. Jumping Requirements
  6. Jump Scoring Rules
  7. Pursuit Race Position Rules
  8. Penalty Rules
  9. Equipment Replacement Rules
  10. Finishing Rules

1. Disciplines

Nordic combined has three disciplines at the Winter Olympics and most other international events. These disciplines are individual normal hill, individual large hill, and team. Individual normal hill and individual large hill are similar with a couple of differences. Normal hill jumpers target a jump distance, or K-line, of 98 meters. This 98-meter K-line is shorter than in large hill events. For large hill events, the K-line sits at 125 meters. Individual events are followed by 10km cross-country races. For team events, each team consists of four skiers that jump from a large hill distance before racing in a 4x5km cross-country relay.

2. Equipment Requirements

Cross country skis can be up to two meters in length and only bind the toes of the ski boot. This allows the skier to push off the ground or “skate” easily. Cross country boots closely resemble normal boots. Jumping skis are a little under one and half times the ski jumper’s height in length. Boots for these skis are built to be flexible and durable. Ski jumper’s toes and heels are both attached to the skis. Additionally, both events use wax to increase ski friction. Ski jumpers wear helmets for protection, while cross country skiers use poles as an added forward propellant.

3. Order of Events

Nordic combined events start with a singular ski jump from each competitor. The scores obtained from the jumps determine the staggered order for the following cross country race. Ski jump hill heights can vary depending on the event, but the cross country race at Olympic events is always 10km in length. The results of the cross country race determine the event’s winners. The order of ski jumpers is normally determined by world rankings, with the top athletes going last. The ski jump scores are converted using the Gunderson Conversion Method to determine the time period when each skier will begin the cross country event.

4. Safety Rules

Ski jumping technique plays a big part in the safety of Nordic combined events. Since judges will take points away for not abiding by certain motions while jumping and landing, competitors are incentivized to follow the specific techniques. Ski jumpers are taught to keep their bodies upright, arms extended forwards, and legs stretched vertically while in the air. If done properly, the jumper should stay still and relaxed while in the air, decreasing the probability of an uneven landing. The landing is judged by the ability to hit the ground evenly on both skis, which encourages a safe finish.

5. Jumping Requirements

The Nordic combined jumping event consists of numerous rules that judges use as guidelines for scoring “style points.” While in the air, landing, and making the outrun, judges look for specifics. In the air, jumpers show a clear long jump attempt while balanced and fully stretching out their legs. Landing consists of utilizing straight skis and a balanced body position to cushion without excess movement. During the “outrun,” or post-landing period, skiers transition into a telemark position before forming a snowplow with their skis. The goal is for the ski jumper to achieve the longest jump possible as smoothly as possible.

6. Jump Scoring Rules

Jump scores combine distance and style points. Scores are out of a base total of 60. Distance points are determined by event. Normal hill events are held with K98 distance target, while the large hill event is K125. However many meters over or under the K-total will determine scores. Each meter above or below K total is a 2.0 point deduction in normal hill and a 1.8 point deduction in large hill. Style points are determined by judges. Five judges give a score out of 20. The highest and lowest scores given by the judges are eliminated, allowing for a maximum score of 60. 

7. Pursuit Race Position Rules

The position of starting the pursuit race, or cross country portion, of the Nordic combined event is determined by applying the Gunderson Conversion Method to ski jump scores. The general rule for this conversion is that one point equals four seconds in start time. For example, if the first place ski jump score was three points greater than the second place ski jump score, the second competitor would start 12 seconds later. For team events, one point equals roughly 1.333 seconds for the whole team. This total is rounded to the nearest whole number in seconds in team events.

8. Penalty Rules

Point deductions are made in the ski jump for every meter over and under the target K-line distance. Additionally, style point penalties can be made for any number of mid-air flaws with a jumper’s form. Jumpers must make a clear attempt to jump far, stay still and balanced in mid-air, and hold a specific arms-forward legs-stretched position. When the jumper lands, they must perform a telemark for 10 to 15 meters. Telemark is a ski position that closely resembles a one knee kneel without touching the knee to the ground. Once this is performed, skiers use a snowplow to slow down.

9. Equipment Replacement Rules

Due to the unique two-event format, Nordic combined allows for equipment replacement. This occurs because the ski equipment needed for cross country is specialized. When a ski breaks, equipment changes may be made. One or both skis are allowed to be replaced. Swapping poles is also allowed when they are broken. Any equipment failures must be judged by a competition committee and approved before the skier is allowed to make a change. Changing wax or cleaning the skis is not allowed in any competition. Broken equipment is determined when the skier is unable to compete with the skis in question.

10. Finishing Rules

Electronic timing is used at many competitions, including the Olympics, to determine the winners of the pursuit race. This technology is similar to the technology used in other racing events. Typically, the timer is placed 10 inches above the snow. Although this is clearly above the snow, it is still relatively low. This is because the skier’s front foot is the body part that determines whether or not they have crossed the finish line. In the case of a photo finish, skiers may jump or stretch their feet in any way possible to finish first. The first foot to cross the finish line wins.

FAQ

Which event is first in nordic combined?

Ski jumping is the first event held in Nordic combined. Depending on the event type, Nordic combined ski jumping can have different scoring procedures. In large hill ski jump events, distance is scored out of 125 meters. Normal hill events are scored out of 98 meters. Since ski jumping is the first event in Nordic combined, it determines the start times for competitors in the second event: cross country. Better jumps are awarded better start times.

What is the Gunderson Conversion Method in nordic combined?

The Gunderson Conversion Method is how ski jump scores are converted into an advantage in the pursuit race, which is the cross country portion of the event. Points based on distance and style of the jump convert to specific start times. The better your ski jump score, the earlier you will begin your run in the pursuit race. A good ski jump can allow a weaker cross country skier to gain an advantage in the race and finish more quickly.

How do gate adjustments work in nordic combined?

Gate adjustments are an added part of the strategy to the ski jumping portion of the Nordic combined event. The gate is the starting position from which jumpers make their approach before jumping down the hill. Lower gates will add a multiplier for higher scores, while higher gates will do the opposite. This is because the higher the approach starts, the more momentum a jumper will have. The higher gates make it easier to jump further.