Former biathlete, current coach….all round nordic enthusiast!

An elite athlete competing in the sport of biathlon: nordic ski racing combined with marksmanship

Monday, March 25, 2013

Sunburns and Shooting: Mammoth Lakes Biathlon 2013

Earlier this winter I received an invitation to participate in the Mammoth Lakes Biathlon event as an elite competitor. Last year I thought about attending but backed out because I was too tired at the end of the racing season. I'd heard nothing but good reviews of the event so this year I booked my flight earlier and registered for the event so I wouldn't back out again.
I'm sure glad I did! Right now I'm sitting in the San Francisco Airport on my way home from an awesome experience. I have a sunburned face and my body is exhausted, but I'm already looking forward to returning for this event next year if I can.

I went out with seven other USBA racers including three other senior-level racers and four juniors. We stayed at a nice hotel right in town and were given rental cars to get around. In hind sight, I wish I had booked my tickets differently, leaving more time to explore the area either before or after the event. Mammoth is an outdoor enthusiast's paradise. In winter they have a massive expanse of downhill skiing, backcountry, cross country trails,

Mammoth doesn't have a permanent biathlon range so they set up a temporary one up on the alpine area. They are working on a range on their nordic trail system at Tamarack but because of permits, it's been a long time coming. As in the past, volunteers, organizers, racers and spectators took a chairlift part way up the Mammoth downhill trails, then climbed into a snow cat shuttle for the rest of the trip up to the temporary range and race trails. Their venue was in a kind of basin off the back side of the (massive) downhill mountain.

Because access is only possible via the downhill trails, we did some shooting clinics in town on Friday for beginners using laser rifles set up in the local fitness center. Saturday we manned the firing points during the beginner and kids races and then Sunday we helped with more races before competing in our own, a 7.5k mass start. I won the women's elite category however not in very impressive form. We all zeroed on metal targets because they didn't have enough paper targets to go around. The result was less than stellar shooting during the race: I finished with eight penalties.

As always, pictures, because I know picture-filled blog entries are so much more interesting to read. Thanks to Greg Williams and Jim Stimson for most of these great shots. The rest are mine.


Friday, before the shooting clinics, Jakob, Sienna and I went adventuring on Mammoth's xc ski trails at was amazing. 

We quickly discovered that everything was frozen so we weren't limited to just the ski trails. We skied all over the place and were just awed by the amounts of snow in places...

Gorgeous. Just gorgeous. 

Found this neat building above one of the lakes we skied across....

Jakob tried to ski up onto this buried didn't work out too well. 

Riding in the cat on our way up to the race venue Saturday morning....

The bowl where the race courses and shooting range were. 

The temporary shooting range...not too shabby at all!

Start of the first kids race on Saturday

Mia, adorable daughter of the race organizer, taking off after shooting

Corrine helping a young lady on the range

Jakob helping during the Wounded Warriors race

Raleigh helping another kids racer with her shooting

Jakob getting antsy between races....

Raleigh enjoying lunch from the Burrito Cat

Lined up for the elite wave on Sunday (I'm #7)

Start of the elite wave

Trying to ski hard at 10,000 feet. This was probably one of the harder races I've done this year in terms of how I felt. When you can't get enough oxygen your body starts to hurt pretty quickly when you're working hard. 

Taking aim at standing targets...

Heading uphill in the sun....

And done. So, so very hard! 

Our elite gang after the race.... All smiles!

I will update with more pictures soon but right now I have a plane to catch!

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