We are excited about the annual delight that is the Mountaintop Biathlon race this Sunday! Some details below.
For those who may not know much about it, the kids have the opportunity to ski short loops (on a loop augmented by manmade snow) and to fire real paintballs (and hear the SPLAT) at large targets in an actual biathlon range. It is obviously a little different than carrying around a 22 caliber rifle, but there are pieces that are very similar to the demands of biathlon: kids have the chance to ski hard and then immediately try to calm themselves, and their breathing, to be able to take careful aim and hit a target/goal. (Some good life skills for other contexts, it seems.) For those families that want to learn more about biathlon, IBU races can be found at this link all season (with thanks to FS coach Dennis Donahue for sharing the link!):
The race is a perennial favorite of young skiers all over New England, and an ideal first race for those who have not yet competed. Skiers earn time credit for targets hit in the range (there are no penalty laps for missed targets – the focus is on success!). While adding fun and excitement to the event, the range also serves as a nice results neutralizer, shaking things up in unpredictable ways and diverting focus off of any single outcome.
The overall schedule for the day:
9:00-11:00: Shooting range practice — a very important component of the day is practicing with the rifle, so make sure to get there in time to have skis on by 10:30 to ski up to the range.
11:00: Course preview
Details on the flow of the day and the coaches who will be on hand can be found on the Race Document, at this link. Please be sure to sign your child up on the document, and to sign yourself up if there is an available volunteer job that you can help with. Many hands make happy kids, or something like that.
Online registration ($20) closes at 11:45 PM on Friday, 1/29/16. Day-of registration ($30) is also available. All information can be found here, and we do suggest you register ahead if you know now that you are going.
One final note on sportsmanship. It is a concept — congratulating other competitors, thanking the wax coaches and volunteers, and being a gracious competitor regardless of one’s individual performance — that we stress with the kids in general, and the Paintball Biathlon is a particularly good opportunity to reinforce it. The rifles are not always accurate, can sometimes freeze up, etc, and this has been frustrating for kids at times. The skiers should certainly take the shooting component seriously as this event offers a wonderful opportunity for them to experience the demands and the thrills of the sport, but if something does happen that they cannot control, they should keep perspective and a smile. They can obviously talk about the gun not working if that is what happened, but we encourage them to identify other unique process goals that they can reference in defining their performance on race day. We hope they revel in the opportunity to experience this Olympic sport and think about various elements of their experience without focusing preferentially on the technicalities of the shooting component. And they will make the day of volunteers, at any race, if they thank them for their work as they ski by!
We look forward to seeing many of you up there on Sunday,
Jay and Heidi
BKL Head Coaches