Vladimir Sakhnov was mainly known as a marathon skier, winning his only international championships medals in the relay. Sakhnov made his international début at the 1984 Winter Olympics, where he was fourth at 30 km and eighth in the 50 km. At the 1987 World Championships Sakhnov was also selected to the Soviet relay team and won his first international championships medal, a silver. At the 1988 Winter Olympics Sakhnov again won a silver in the relay and was 12th at 50 km. He made his last international appearance at the 1989 World Championships, placing 12th in the 15 km freestyle, 24th at 50 km and fifth with the relay team. Domestically Sakhnov won three individual Soviet titles, in 1982, 1984 and 1986, all in the 50 km, and two relay titles in 1986 and 1987. After his sporting career Sakhnov worked as a cross-country skiing coach in his native Kazakhstan, and was head coach of the Kazakhstan national cross-country skiing team from 1993-99.