Ages: 9-12

Junior Biathlon

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The Junior Biathlon program is directed at cross country skiers aged 9 to 12 who have at least one or more years of skate skiing experience through the XC Skills Development Program and who wish to continue their skill development through the exciting and challenging sport of biathlon. This program follows the same schedule, skills and awards program as the Track Attack+ program for the ski skill development portion.  In addition, there is at least one Biathlon Range session per week which focuses on developing marksmanship skills and putting it all together with ski skills in order to compete in biathlon with their program co-participants or at a higher level if they so choose.  Junior Biathlon athletes are in the “Learning to Train” stage of growth and maturation.  In addition to important gains in aerobic fitness, ski specific sport skills and social developments that can be made at this stage, biathlon will help to develop the mental skills, focus, and discipline needed for success later on in life.
Junior Biathlon 1 includes one range session per week while Junior Biathlon 2 includes two range sessions per week in addition to the required ski skills programs. The increased cost of Junior Biathlon 2 is due to greater ammunition costs. The 2nd range session will be scheduled at the same time as Master’s Biathlon and is meant for more self-directed shooting practice.
SLNC membership and a current season’s pass are required for participants in this program.  All program participants MUST be registered members of BiathlonCanada/BC.  This is not included in the program fee. Here is the link for more information about membership categories and registration with BiathlonBC:  http://biathlonbc.ca/registration/

Program Details

Dates
Sept 24 - March 4
Total # of Sessions
24
Days
Sunday am, +Saturday pm for Junior 2
Locations
SLNC Biathlon Range
Cost
$550 $650 and 38 sessions for Junior 2
Registration Deadline
October 31, 2017
Lead coach: Bert Mueller
Assistant Coaches: Laurie Dusik and others when available
Biathlon BC: http://biathlonbc.ca
Biathlon BC 2017/18 Competition Schedule: http://biathlonbc.ca/20172018-bc-cup-schedule/
Biathlon Canada: http://biathloncanada.ca

* Individual athletes are responsible for additional costs and fees including (but not limited to):

  • Personal equipment
  • Personal wax
  • Team clothing
  • Training camp fees
  • Fitness Testing fees
  • Gym fees
  • Race licence(s): CCBC, BiBC
  • Race entries
  • Race/Event Trip fees (travel, accommodation, meals)

Q. What is biathlon?

A. Biathlon is essentially a skate-ski race. Where it differs from other cross country ski races is that the race is interrupted by 2 or 4 bouts of shooting, depending on the specific race format. At each shooting bout the athlete has 5 bullets to hit 5 targets. For each missed target the athlete must ski a 150 m penalty loop (or, in the case of the “Individual” event, a 1 minute penalty is added to the competitor’s ski time). Thus in a 4 shooting-bout race, the athlete will have to ski an extra 3 km if they miss all 20 targets. What makes biathlon unique is the combination of high aerobic output skate skiing coupled with high precision shooting under physiological and psychological stress. The challenge is to ski as fast as possible without increasing the course length by having to ski penalty loops.

Q. What is required for my child to be in a Biathlon Program?

1. Your child should be a proficient skate skier with at least 1 or 2 winters of skate skiing experience. An SLNC Ski Coach will assess your child’s skate skiing ability.

2. Your child needs to be at least 9 years old and have the maturity and focus for handling a firearm safely and seriously.

3. Biathlon is a ski race. If your child does not enjoy competition then biathlon is not the sport for them. Every on-snow biathlon range practice will involve some sort of competition.

4. Your child is expected to attend their XC ski program’s (eg. TA+, JD+) required number of ski practices per week in order to make significant progress in their skiing. Attendance at biathlon range practices only is not an option.

5. As a parent of a biathlete you are required to volunteer at biathlon practices and SLNC biathlon competitions. The biathlon program is entirely volunteer driven; practices and competitions require many volunteers to run on time and successfully. There are many jobs for volunteers: digging snow from the targets, setting up paper targets, lane markers and mats, loading ammunition into magazines, resetting targets and providing a warm biathlon cabin. At competitions we need course marshals, start/finish line and timing officials, range recorders, penalty loop recorders and many other duties.  We do understand that parents have other commitments and we are willing to discuss this individually with you, but some volunteering is necessary to make our program work.  Because biathlon has significantly fewer participants than the XC ski programs and is a much more labour intensive program, it is strongly recommended that your volunteering priority be to the biathlon program.

Q. Is Biathlon safe?

A. Yes! Safety sessions are mandatory and are repeated frequently to teach all biathletes how to safely handle and operate a firearm.  There is zero tolerance for unsafe handling of firearms.

Q. Where do Biathlon Range sessions take place?

A. The Biathlon Range is located across the main parking lot from the lodge, near the waxing hut.

Q. How long are Biathlon Range sessions?

A. Range sessions last 2-2.5 hours for biathletes.  However this does not include range set-up and take down where parent participation is required. We will discuss all of this at the Biathlon Range Orientation session.

Q. What does a typical Biathlon Range session consist of?

A. All on snow sessions include a warm-up ski, a brief discussion of the lesson plan of the day, and then time working on marksmanship skills plus skiing between each shooting bout.  The emphasis will be on developing shooting skills in combination with the physiological stress imposed by skiing. Perfecting skate skiing skills and conditioning will be done during ski only sessions.

Q. What type and caliber of rifles are used in biathlon?

A. Only bolt action .22 LR caliber rifles may be used and only low velocity ammunition. The shooting range at SLNC is only for biathlon shooting. It is not licensed for anything else.

Q. How far away are the targets, how big are they and how do they work?

A. The targets are 50 meters from the firing line. There are 2 shooting positions, prone and standing. The standing target is a black steel paddle behind a white steel background and it is 11.5 cm in diameter. When the bullet hits the target paddle it falls backward causing a white paddle to cover up the hole, thus telling the biathlete and officials that the target was hit. The prone target looks the same but the bullet must pass through an additional 4.5 cm hole before it hits the black target paddle. The prone target is more than 6 times smaller than the standing target and an error of only 1.5 minutes of angle is enough to miss it.

Q. Do I need to supply the rifle, ammunition or have a PAL (Possession and Acquisition License)?

A. No to each question.  Program participants can rent biathlon rifles from SLNC and ammunition will be provided for all club rental rifles.  Rifles and ammunition are stored by SLNC. If you have a PAL or intend to get one, this is a plus and will add to your value as a volunteer.

Q. How do children progress in learning to shoot?

A. Because of their smaller stature and the weight of the rifles, kids do not shoot standing until ages 15-16. Until then all shooting is in the prone (lying on their belly) position. Initially they shoot large standing targets using a rest, then progress to smaller prone targets using a rest, then large targets without a rest (using a cuff and sling) and then small targets with a cuff and sling.  At ages 15-16 biathletes carry their rifles only within the range.  At ages 17+ they carry their rifles on the ski course as well but need a PAL in order to do so.

Q.  Do Biathletes compete even in their first year in the program?

A. The short answer is yes.  Biathlon Canada states in their Mission Statement: “Biathlon is inherently competitive.  One can cross country ski for recreation, fitness or for competition. One can shoot for recreation or competition.  Combining, the two, shooting while skiing hard, is at the extreme end of recreation and requires significant infrastructure.  It is a challenge, a competition – either to oneself or to other participants.” The coaches will use a wide variety of games/drills and friendly competitions to create a fun, dynamic team environment and instill a lifelong interest in sport.

Q. Is there a wrap up event at the end of the program?

A. Definitely!  Usually there is a fun relay race involving biathletes and parents, food, drinks, end of season report cards and awards afterword.

Q. I’m no longer a child but it sounds like fun. Is there an adult program?

A. Yes, it is the Masters Biathlon program. Our biathlon coaches practice biathlon and compete also. You can work on your skiing skills and conditioning at Masters ski lessons and work on you range/shooting skills with the biathlon coaches when they practice. Warning, showing up at the shooting range makes you an automatic Biathlon volunteer.
Junior Biathlon 1 $550 before October 31st
(this includes $350 for the TA+ ski skills program + $200 for the biathlon rifle rental and ammo)
Junior Biathlon 2 $650 before October 31st
(this includes $350 for the TA+ ski skills program + $300 for the biathlon rifle rental and ammo)
All club dry land programming is included in this price.  See TA+ under XC Youth Programs for more details.