Nothing goes together better than skiing up to 20 kilometers and intermittently shooting a rifle at a tiny target 50 meters away…right?
It may not sound like the peanut butter and jelly of combinations, but biathlon is a unique sport that deserves more love.
The amount of endurance, control and stamina this sport requires is enough to scare most people away from it — but that’s what makes these athletes even more epic.
If skiing long treks, followed by immediately lowering your blood pressure to hit targets, so you don’t have to ski more, excites you — you should probably give biathlon a shot.
Whose Idea Was This, Anyway?
If you follow the Winter Olympics, you’ve probably seen some of the best biathletes in the world compete on the course, alongside coverage of more conventional winter sports, like skiing. So, who decided strapping a rifle on your back was probably a better way to do it?
It may come as no surprise, as they’re usually on the podium getting medals, but Scandinavians did!
And it makes sense, too, once you know the history of the sport.
It turns out Scandinavian hunters would use skiing as a way to get around, since snow is a pretty common condition to deal with that far north.
To hunt more efficiently, they would strap their guns onto their backs so when they found prey, they could shoot it, then make the trek back on their trusty skis.
You may not be dealing with living conditions quite like that, so you may not have the right training, yet — but that doesn’t mean you can’t! Biathlon training is available in a lot of different locations, and most offer rifle rentals, as well!
Nowhere to Go but Uphill
One of the best ways to get started is to join a club that offers tracks, rentals and training. From there, you can get safety certification and try out the sport. Don’t worry about buying gear yet — call before you head over and ask if they offer rentals. If you try it and love it, you can start going to events!
If you live in a location that doesn’t offer training, you may need to travel a bit to get proper training, especially with the rifle. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t be proactive while you’re at home!
There’s plenty of ways to build up stamina and cardio capacity. Boxing and bag-work are fun ways to get your heart pumping. If you have a yard or open space available, you can build a personal track where you can run, ski or even roller skate until you hit the distance you want. You can also set up targets and use a BB gun to practice your focus after your rounds.
Make Your Motherland Proud
Biathlon is a growing sport that is becoming more and more accessible. You’ve got everything you need to get started — so get involved, give Norway a run for their money and have fun!