Friday, October 24, 2003 - Perspective Update: My Shot at becoming a Biathlete

- By: Carl Skinstad

It was Friday October 10 and I was looking for a challenge. I have participated in “Meet and skis,” with, but while the jackrabbit skiers are waiting for the snow and not active with organized training, the young biathletes are shooting 3 days a week.  Consequently, I decided to have a “Meet and shoot”, with the Camrose Junior Vikings.  This turned out to be a very new and exciting experience.  In the two hour practice session, I learned many new things including safety procedures, how to load and shoot 22 caliber biathlete rifle and the fundamentals of the shooting positions.

Camrose Ski Club - Junior Vikings

Biathlon is a sport where you must have several skills.  You must be able to ski fast and then be able to stop in the middle of skiing with a pulse of 180 and fire off 5 shoots.  Some of the fastest skiers in the world are in biathlon.  This summer when I was in Norway, I read that biathlon is one of the fastest growing sports in Europe because of the excitement involved in the combination of shooting and skiing for the competitors and also for the spectators due to the changing placing of the athletes with varying shooting results.    There are many stars within the sport because of the shooting variable.

There are two positions: standing...

Standing trying to hit a 11,5 cm. target while legs are shaking and the rifle is swaying

...and lying, also referred to as prone.

Prone, the easier position of the two (target 4,5cm. in diameter)

The kids also do running between shooting bouts

I had a great time with an enthusiastic bunch of young biathletes and will be going out with them again sometime in the near future.  I can see how you can get hooked on shooting as there is a certain rush when the target falls giving you immediate feedback of a shot well done.

Until next time,
Carl M. Skinstad



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