Sports tourism is a sport based on competitions on routes that include overcoming categorized obstacles in the natural environment (passes, peaks (in mountain tourism), rapids (in water tourism), canyons, caves, etc.), and at distances laid in the natural environment and on artificial terrain.

Sports tourism in the USSR, as a sport, was included in the Unified All-Union Sports Classification1 in 1949.

When assigning sports categories and the title of master of sports, the number and complexity of completed hikes, as well as the experience of independent management of them, are taken into account. The difficulty is determined by the duration and length of the routes, the number and variety of natural obstacles. Multi-day hikes (hiking, skiing, water, mountain, cycling, automobile, on motorcycles and mopeds) are conducted along routes of 5 categories of difficulty. Routes of increased complexity, especially of the 4th-5th categories, require good general physical and special training. Hikes are carried out, as a rule, with the assistance of sports and tourist clubs, councils of sports societies, physical education collectives. As a means of year- round training of tourists , so-called weekend hikes and competitions in types of tourist equipment are used (for some , All – Union ones are held

The procedure for forming tourist groups, the rights and obligations of their participants and managers, documentation, development and preparation of routes, etc. are regulated by the “Rules for organizing and conducting amateur hiking and travel on the territory of the USSR” (approved by the Central Council for Tourism and Excursions in 1972).

Sports tourism is the preparation and conduct of sports trips in order to overcome the vast expanse of wildlife on skis (ski tourism), by means of rafting (water tourism) or on foot in the mountains (mountain tourism). The sports trip is carried out by an autonomous group of 6-10 people. It happens that travelers do not encounter any traces of civilization for a month. To complete the route, you need to be not only strong, agile, brave and persistent, but also possess a wide range of special knowledge from obstacle overcoming techniques to human physiology in extreme conditions. Unlike a regular trip, a sports trip includes a set of natural obstacles classified by complexity. As a rule, in mountain and ski tourism such obstacles are mountain peaks and passes, and in water tourism — river rapids. The classified obstacles form the basis of the methodology for comparing journeys by their complexity. It’s like evaluating the difficulty of gymnastics or figure skating programs. The most difficult journeys performed with brilliance are put forward for the Moscow championship and the Russian Championship.