Ages: 19+

Masters Biathlon


The Adult/Masters Biathlon program is directed at cross country skiers aged 19+ who are interested in continuing with life-long physical activity and participation in competitive sport.  This program will follow the same schedule and skiing skills development program as the Masters XC ski program.  In addition, there will be 1 Biathlon Range session per week that focuses on developing marksmanship skills and putting it all together with ski skills in order to compete in biathlon. Masters Biathlon will take place on Saturday afternoons.

SLNC membership and a current season’s pass are required for participants in these programs.  All program participants MUST be registered members of BiathlonCanada/BC.  This is not included in the program fee.  Most program participants register as Recreational Athletes, which costs $20 per year.  Be aware that competition in the Masters Athlete category requires you to have a Firearms Possession and Acquisition License (PAL) in order to ski on course with your rifle.  Here is the link for more information about membership categories and registration with Biathlon BC:
All of our Biathlon Programs are entirely volunteer driven.  Biathlon range sessions and competitions require many volunteers to run on time and successfully.  Because there is no extra charge for the Adult/Masters Biathlon Program (you are only paying for the Masters Basic Ski sessions and the Biathlon rifle rental and ammo) participants will be required to volunteer with the Youth Biathlon program and at SLNC Biathlon Competitions.

Program Details

October 2 - March 4
Total # of Sessions
Sessions per Week
Saturday 13:30-15:30
SLNC Biathlon Range for 20 (max) range sessions. Masters XC sessions are described on that program's page.
$300 Includes $50 for Masters XC Ski sessions + $250 for Biathlon Rifle Rental and Ammo for the season
Late Registration Cost
Registration Deadline
October 31, 2018
Lead coach: Bert Mueller
Assistant Coaches: Laurie Dusik and others when available


* 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 to be in a Biathlon Program?

1. You should be a proficient skate skier with at least 1 or 2 winters of skate skiing experience. The program cost includes the Masters XC ski program, where you can work on your ski technique.

2. You need to have the maturity and focus for handling a firearm safely and seriously.

3. Biathlon is a ski race. If you do not enjoy competition then biathlon is not the sport for you. Every on–snow biathlon range practice will involve some sort of competition.

4. Biathlon requires getting into the prone position smoothly and efficiently (lying on your belly with your skis on) and getting back up after a shooting bout. Depending upon your flexibility and strength this may be your greatest limitation.

5. As 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.

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. We will discuss all of this at your 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 less 1/6 the are of 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 it will allow you to ski with your rifle on your back and this is required for competitions in the Masters Athlete category. It will also add to your value as a volunteer.

Q. How do Adults progress in learning to shoot?

A. Participants learn the essential shooting skills in the prone (lying on the belly) position. Initially you shoot large 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. Learning to shoot in the standing position is the next challenge.

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, food drinks, end of season report cards and awards afterword.

Our Biathlon coaches practice biathlon and compete also.  When you join our Masters Biathlon program you can work on your skiing skills and conditioning in the Masters XC ski sessions and work on your range/shooting skills with the biathlon coaches when they practice.  There will be opportunities to compete at the club level and higher.  Be forewarned, showing up at the Biathlon Range makes you an automatic volunteer!  But, we can have just as much fun as the Youth biathletes do!