The word biathlon is Greek in origin, meaning “two contests” for competitors. The Snowshoe Biathlon races are the same as Ski Biathlon except that the distances are shorter and the penalty lap is shorter. Snowshoe biathlon became part of the Arctic Winter Games in 1978 because of the traditions of hunting and trapping as a valued part of northern lifestyle and the sport remains popular among northern people.
Snowshoe Biathlon competition at the Arctic Winter Games consists of four events: interval start, mass or pursuit start, relay and a sprint event for males and females in two age categories: Junior and Juvenile. A team consists of up to eight athletes and two coaches from each participating contingent.