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. Most program participants register as Recreational Athletes, which costs $20 per year. Here is the link for more information about membership categories and registration with BiathlonBC: http://biathlonbc.ca/
|Sept 6 - Mar 31, 2019|
SLNC membership and a current season’s pass are required for participants in these programs. All program participants MUST be registered members of Biathlon Canada/BC. This is not included in the program fee. Most program participants register as Recreational Athletes, which costs $20 per year. Here is the link for more information about membership categories and registration with Biathlon BC: http://biathlonbc.ca/registration/
* 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 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. The SLNC Head 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, providing hot refreshments and 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 a zero tolerance policy 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 on Sept 19th.
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.
SLNC will be hosting a Regional Biathlon Competition on November 28th and 29th and Telemark Biathlon Club (in West Kelowna) usually hosts a Regional Biathlon Competition every winter. These events are great opportunities for biathletes to test their skills in fun, friendly, low-key competitions. For those that are interested, there is an opportunity to compete at Biathlon BC Cups and higher level events.
Q. Is there a wrap up event at the end of the program?
A. Definitely! Last year we held our first end of season Biathlete/Parent Team Relay. It was a big hit and will be repeated this year.
Q. I’m no longer a child but it sounds like fun. Is there an adult program?
A. Yes, it is the Adult/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 volunteer.