What is DNF in Skiing?

DNF in skiing stands for Did Not Finish. This term is used in many competitive skiing events and means the same thing in all of them. A DNF can occur because of disqualification, a crash, a fall, or other reasons.  

My name is Christine, and I created this blog to share my love of skiing with others. I get out on the snow as often as possible and have also watched many skiing competitions over the years. I know through first-hand experience what DNF in skiing is. 

This post will explain what DNF in skiing is. I’ll break down this acronym to give you a better understanding of what this means and how it comes into play during competitive skiing events. Knowing this information will help if you like to watch these events. 

Let’s get rolling. 

Key Takeaways

  • DNF is an acronym that stands for Did Not Finish. This phrase is used during competitive skiing events to highlight when a skier didn’t finish the race for a number of reasons. 
  • A DNF can occur because a skier got disqualified, broke a rule related to the event, or took a bad fall and couldn’t complete the course. 
  • DNF in skiing typically only applies to competitive events where athletes compete against one another. If you are an average skier, you don’t really need to know about the term unless you’re interested. 

What is DNF in Skiing? 

DNF stands for Did Not Finish. This applies to skiing when a skier fails to complete a competitive event. There are numerous reasons why a skier might get a DNF, but the acronym helps viewers of the event know that they didn’t finish the event. 

DNF applies to any competitive skiing event, from amateurs to the Olympics. And it means the same thing for all of them. A DNF can occur in a freestyle event like slopestyle or half-pipe or during downhill events like slalom and giant slalom. 

There are numerous causes for a DNF, so it doesn’t just apply to one thing. A common reason for one is when a skier is disqualified from an event for breaking a rule. An example of this is missing a gate in the slalom or giant slalom events. 

But skiers can also get a DNF when they take a terrible fall and cannot get back on their skis or when they get injured. There are also random reasons for a DNF, like equipment failure, which are obviously not ideal. 

DNF often appears on the scoreboard when you are watching a ski event, either live or on television. If you see DNF in place of an official score, you know that a particular skier was unable to complete the event for whatever reason. 

What Happens When You DNF?

The only thing that happens when you DNF during a skiing event is that you can’t win the event or get placed on the leaderboard at all. Because of the individualized nature of skiing events, you don’t get a score if you don’t finish. 

Virtually every skiing event has a start and a finish, regardless of what happens in between. If you don’t make it to the finish line, for whatever reason, you get a DNF marked as your time or score. 

A DNF won’t affect any future races for that skier or anything like that. They simply don’t get the chance to succeed at the specific event they are competing in when the DNF occurs. So it’s not that big of a deal – other than failing to finish the event. 

If you ever watch a professional skier get a DNF, you can see the frustration and anger on their faces and in their body language. This is probably the worst aspect of getting a DNF, because the athlete knows they didn’t even give themselves a chance to finish. 


Here are a few quick answers to some of the most commonly asked questions related to DNF in skiing. 

Does DNF mean disqualified? 

DNF doesn’t always mean disqualified. There are multiple reasons why a skier can receive a DNF, and disqualification is one of them. But other reasons, like equipment failure or injury, can also result in a DNF, so it’s not always exactly related to disqualification.  

What does DNF mean in the Olympics? 

DNF also means Did Not Finish in the Olympics. The acronym means the same thing at all levels of skiing competitions, from amateurs to professionals. And the reasons for getting a DNF are basically for all of these as well.  

What is DNF in slalom skiing? 

DNF in slalom skiing is when a racer doesn’t finish the course. This happens most frequently in this event when a skier misses a gate, which is known as skiing out. But there are other reasons for a DNF in slalom, like injury or equipment failure. 

Final Thoughts

DNF in skiing stands for Did Not Finish and is a term used in basically any type of competitive skiing event. If an athlete cannot finish an event for any reason, from disqualification to injury, it’s known as a DNF. 

Have you ever seen DNF appear on your television while watching a skiing event? What event was it? Let me know in the comments below.  

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