U.S. athlete and 2020 ISMF World Cup champ Grace Staberg in a skimo race
U.S. athlete and 2020 ISMF World Cup champ Grace Staberg; (photo/USA Skimo)

USA Skimo Announces Qualifying Events for Ski Mountaineering Ahead of 2026 Olympics

A new winter sport is coming to the Olympics. And organizers have just announced its first qualifying events for U.S. athletes.

The United States Ski Mountaineering Association (USA Skimo) has announced that it will host two qualifying events for ski mountaineering athletes in December. Qualifying events are the first step for athletes to make it onto the U.S. National Team. National Team members will serve a term from December 2021 to April 2022.

The International Olympic Committee made an announcement earlier this summer that skimo would be at the 2026 Olympics in Italy, but no qualifying or team details were available.

“While skimo has long been a niche sport in the United States, the sport has seen significant participation increases across a variety of geographic regions and age groups,” USA Skimo wrote today.

Skimo races involve athletes traversing alpine courses with varying uphill and downhill terrain. Races can involve skinning, bootpacking, or both, and can span over 25 miles.

man skinning uphill in skimo race in overcast snow
(Photo/Ben Brashear)

The two qualifying events will take place December 10 and 12 in Colorado. One will be a vertical race, and one will be an individual race.

“The growth in the U.S. and other countries has all helped establish ski mountaineering as a unique and respected sport worldwide,” said USA Skimo president Ram Mikulas. “This growth has been a catalyst to help bring skimo to the Olympic stage.”

Want to race yourself? Check out USA Skimo’s 2021-2022 race schedule.

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Mary Murphy

Mary is the Managing Editor of GearJunkie and is based in GearJunkie's Denver, Colo. office. She has a degree in English and journalism, and has a background in both newspaper and magazine writing. Her outdoor interests span from running to sport climbing, from landscape photography to skiing to pack-paddleboarding. If she's not writing, you can most likely find her at the top of a fourteener, or in a local bakery.