New this winter, Biathlon has been integrated into the Sun Peaks Nordic Club (SPNC) Jackrabbits youth program.
The club has taken its first steps to introduce the sport and completed indoor orientation sessions for laser rifle safety, handling, and sighting targets. Similar to the Paralympic Games, the lasers use electronic sensors rather than ammunition, and the club observes the same procedures as regular Biathlon.
The inspiration for including Biathlon in the club is based on fun and diversification, and has created huge interest and excitement. It also created an extra level of responsibility for the kids. Just as the young skiers are taught responsibility for their equipment, nutrition, and hydration, Biathlon adds a requirement to adhere to strict safety protocols and behaviour.
“The kids responded famously and fully embraced and respected the opportunity,” said volunteer head coach Christopher Nicolson. “It’s wonderful to see the development of our young skiers, both in their skiing ability and especially their character development and maturity. It’s inspiring to see this at such a young age, and is the biggest reason coaching is rewarding and fun.”
Initial steps began last winter when SPNC successfully applied for a grant from the Kamloops Blazers Foundation for four laser Biathlon rifles. Coaching capacity was developed with Nicolson completing a specialized coach course. Other assistance and donated materials came from Greg Smith, Fae & Dave Debeck, Anne Baughan, Anne Nicolson, Sun Peaks Resort LLP, Sun Peaks Municipality and various volunteers.
The SPNC Jackrabbit program started four years ago and now attracts 30 children aged four to 15 to cross country ski every Saturday morning.
For more information, go to www.sunpeaksnordicclub.com, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.