This morning Cathy and I took a first shot at the sport of Biathlon. It combines cross country skiing with steel target shooting. Our friend and primary ski and bike purveyor, Chris, started a club that runs out of Harvard, MA. Today was a practice session at the range where they have a one mile loop set up along with a 150m penalty loop and a single range with 4 sets of 5 each, steel flip targets.
The basic principle is that you ski and then take 5 shots at 5" diameter target, 50m down range, using a .22 bolt action, 5 shot magazine fed rifle equipped with special peep sights. Typically the shooting stance will be an equal mix of prone and standing. Easy, right? For each miss you have to ski a penalty loop before proceeding out for your next full lap. For official competition I believe that the target sizes are smaller and vary depending on shooting position, with standing being bigger and prone being smaller. I've been away from shooting for some time now so lets just say, it was hard enough as it was.
We both had a great time and are pretty psyched to add some more variety to the mix. Cathy consistently out-shot me (again) shooting prone, until the end when I got my stance set and was able to shoot a 5 for 5, but of course, this was not directly after skiing. We're in the process of getting the licensing in place anyhow and will be in the market for some rifles soon there after. The down side is that the good stuff costs nearly what a respectable bike would cost. The up side is that unlike bicycles, firearms really are a good investment if you take care of them properly.