Snow Australia Full International Ski Mountaineering Federation Member

snow action team 20.10.2022

Snow Australia has been officially recognised as a full National Federation member of the International Ski Mountaineering Federation (ISMF).

The ISMF, an independent International Federation recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), confirmed the formal acceptance of Snow Australia’s application at its Plenary Assembly that took place last weekend in Oviedo, Spain.

Ski Mountaineering (SkiMo) will be included in the Winter Olympic Games programme for the first time at Milano Cortina 2026, reflecting the recent international growth of a discipline that has a long, established tradition in Europe. 

Given the booming interest in non-lift powered skiing in recent years it could catch on more downunder now. Fitness fanatics will love it – you need to be superfit that’s for sure! What is it you may well ask?

Skinning &/or climbing/sprinting uphill with skins on or skis on your back are the up part of the equation, racing back downhill according to category and course depending on the event. Essentially pin bindings are the go. Check out the full rules/details on the ISMF website here.

Uphill at Meribel sprint World Cup SkiMo event © ISMF

After the official inclusion of the sport in the Olympic programme, the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) started working with Snow Australia to find a suitable governance model and establish SkiMo in Australia, helping fund its development via the AOC National Federation Funding  programme.

Snow Australia CEO, Michael Kennedy welcomed the announcement, adding that Snow Australia is well placed to provide leadership and advice to this new Olympic discipline given its existing operations and broad discipline framework.

“This is a good outcome for the Australian SkiMo community and for our organisation,” Kennedy said.

“Our immediate priority is to provide input into the Olympic Qualification criteria via the ISMF encouraging regional representation, and to determine eligible athletes who may be targeted for Olympic qualification. 

“More broadly, we want to increase awareness around the sport, building towards a national activity and the first ever SkiMo event to be held in Australia,” he said.

Skinning up at Verbier World Cup © ISMF

A new SkiMo Discipline Committee has already been formalised by Snow Australia, following the activity of the SkiMo Working Group that over the last six months has been identifying the most efficient structure for Snow Australia to achieve formal recognition from the ISMF. 

The SkiMo Discipline Committee members approved by the Snow Australia Board on Monday include:

  • Andy Evans (Chair) – Former World Cup athlete, former Skiing Australia Director and former Director of the Mount Buller and Mount Stirling Resort Management Board
  • Ed Fortey (Industry Representative) – Director of Rush Distributions (ski industry hardware) and President of the Snowsports Industries of Australia
  • Brian Lichi (Australian SkiMo Community Contact) – Experienced Outdoor Education Program and Event Manager, former SkiMo competitor
  • Kate Zander (Athlete Representative) – Elite athlete with international experience 

“The SkiMo Discipline Committee members were carefully selected to bring a wide range of skills to the table. They have the experience and networks required to successfully establish the discipline in Australia,” added Kennedy. 

Standing invitations to participate and attend meetings were also provided to: 

  • Michael Kennedy (CEO, Snow Australia)
  • Finn Marsland (Cross Country Skiing Program Director, Snow Australia)
  • Geoff Lipshut (CEO, Olympic Winter Institute of Australia)

Once officially convened, the SkiMo Discipline Committee will work to establish information and criteria relevant to international participation in SkiMo events.

The 2026 Olympic Winter Games programme includes five new Ski Mountaineering medal events, two men’s events (sprint/individual), two women’s events (sprint/individual) and one mixed-gender relay event, with an athlete quota of 48 athletes equally divided between men and women. 

Updates and news on Aussie SkiMo will be available on the relevent Snow Australia link here

The race part of the equation © ISMF