Winter World Masters Games in Bad Seefeld (AUT) were a great experience!

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James is a member of the Wapiti Nordic Ski Club in Grande Prairie and a member of the Biathlon Alberta board. Here is his report about his time in Austria with the international biathlon community.

The Winter World Masters Games has been an amazing experience! The collection of biathletes that descended upon Seefeld from a great multitude of countries and a wide variety of backgrounds is impressive! From ex-Olympians to the 2 Mexicans who are living in Austria, started skiing a year ago and got their rifles a couple of weeks ago, the commitment of people who love this sport is continuously on display.The Seefeld course was interesting for a few reasons. It formed a U around two ski jumps which made watching that event easy and exciting. The course also circled behind the range on a trail that took skiers up a hill protected by safety glass. This provided a great place to view the range from during practice. The course also had a hill similar to the big hill at Canmore that had to be climbed right before the range which put extra stress on skiers immediately before shooting. That hill was a challenge to cope with and certainly affected shooting results.The commandery of the master’s group, young or old, male or female, was inspiring! I believe everyone enjoyed being able to participate at their age and all had respect and admiration for those older than they were.The host organization did a wonderful job of putting on the Biathlon event at these games and while there were a few hiccups, athletes rolled with the punches and demonstrated great sportsmanship.

Specific to me, I had three great races. The Individual was a learning experience about how to tackle this course and get more information on who my competition was.  I was pleased with my 6th place in ski time and sixth overall once time penalties for my 7 misses were applied. The Sprint was my best race as I skied the course better and had a better shooting result because of it (8/10). The relay was the most exciting and fun. I ended up on a team with an Aussie and an Italian in the 60+ category. I was a faster skier than they were but they were better shooters. Friedl from Australia had not missed a shot in the first two races! Friedl started the race and with clean shooting (again! Now 40/40), he handed off to Stefano in first place. Stefano only needed one spare and handed off to me still in first.

I got to the range just ahead of the German who quickly shot clean to the delight of his cheering fans. I needed one spare and left the range 30 metres behind. The German stretched the lead to perhaps 100 m and we were side by side for standing. Bernd needed a few spares but hit all his targets and quickly left the range. Fatigue got the better of me in trying to stay in touch with the German and I struggled with my standing. Even with spares I left two targets untouched and had to do 2 quick 100 m penalty loops. I noticed the Czechs still on the firing line as I left and thought there was still a chance for silver. A hard ski to the finish was unchallenged but it was the Russians who finished behind me instead of the Czechs. There were a lot of skiers who had to do penalty loops in the course of that race.All that said, it was the Canadian women that were most impressive. Every day, they were winning medals and many of the ladies are bring home 3 medals! My hat (toque) is off to them. Respect!On none race days, we held group skis to keep the legs loose, work on technique and see the sights. About half the Canadians had chosen to pay for coaching services while the rest chose to look after themselves so Team Canada was not always together as a unified team. This didn’t pose a major problem and perhaps made a few things easier as the organizing of daily events for smaller groups was simpler.All in all, it has been amazing! Our coach, Munny, has been very helpful, and the people at home who sponsored me are most appreciated. This will likely go down as the highlight of my Biathlon journey and it will be next to impossible to beat.In the end, Masters Biathlon in Canada is if a force to be reckoned with. While I was the only man to win a medal, all the other Masters put in respectable showings in tougher fields. Canadians are known now to be in the game and show great promise for the future.

The Camrose Nordic Ski Club is looking for volunteers!

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Please see the message from Jan Stephan, the Camrose Ski Club Volunteer Coordinator, below:

Hello all athletes, parents and winter sports enthusiasts,

I hope you have enjoyed the Christmas Holidays with your families and friends!

Another Calforex Cup  race is upon us during the weekend of February 1 and 2, 2020. The Camrose Biathlon Program is once again looking for volunteers  to make this event happen. The times during which the volunteers would need to be committed are roughly between  8:30 – 9:30 am to 2 – 2:30 pm each day. Even if  you can make one of these days that would help tremendously.  The race will be held at the Camrose Shooting / Biathlon range by the Camrose Landfill 2 miles south of Camrose. To get volunteers comfortable with knowing what they would be doing and to connect them with the Chiefs of each section, I would ask volunteers to check in at the administration office desk around 8:30 am. Please, tell or forward the information with the sign up sheet to your friends, family members or any individuals interested in helping out to make this race successful. If you have any other questions you can contact me directly through my email at  ringopes@hotmail.com The large number of volunteers we will be needed at the shooting range (32 people), penalty loop officials (4), Course Marshals (6), at starting line officials (3) and finish line officials (4). There will also be a need in the office, sticker board collectors (2), Manual Timing Crew and Sticker runners and lastly 4 officials at the Equipment Check. So all together we will need around 60 individuals. It is not as hard as it may sound for those who have never done this before, and you will receive proper training prior to the race. Biathlon is an exciting sport to watch and you will have a good time, I guarantee, even if the temperature might be on a cooler side.

Hoping to hear from you and see you at the race.

Sincerely,

Jan Stepan (Volunteer Coordinator)https://volunteersignup.org/FAMTHhttps://volunteersignup.org/MFRYY

Calforex Cup #5; February 1, 2020Volunteer signup sheetvolunteersignup.org
Calforex Cup #5; February 2, 2020Volunteer signup sheetvolunteersignup.org

Calforex Cup #3 in Hinton – update

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Athletes that were already registered for the Calforex Cup #3 in Hinton can expect to receive a full refund. Biathlon Alberta’s Cancellation Policy states that a 50% refund will be paid if an event needs to be cancelled but the race organizers in Hinton have agreed to pay out a full refund to the athletes that were already registered before the cancellation.

The refunds will be processed this week but it can take up to two weeks until you will see the money on your credit card statement.

The new date for the Calforex Cup #3 will be March 7 – 8, 2020.

The invitation and registration will open soon.

Attention: Calforex Cup / NorAm #3 west this weekend is cancelled

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The third Calforex Cup event of the season will be cancelled due to cold temperatures that are forecasted for the Hinton region. The Organizing Committee made the decision last night and the Technical Director supports this.

All athletes that are already registered will receive a 50% refund as per the Biathlon Alberta Refund Policy.

Athletes that were hoping to qualify for the 2020 Alberta Winter Games (zones 5-8) are asked to register at the Alberta Winter Games registration page HERE before Monday, January 13, 2020, at 12 pm! Athletes that are not registered before January 13, 2020, at 12 pm will not be considered for the 2020 Alberta Winter Games!  A selection for zones 5-8 will be made based on the Biathlon Alberta Technical Package Filling Policy.

Athletes should contact their Zone Representatives to ensure that they receive the cheque for the $80.00 team fee before Monday, January 13, 2020. Athletes that haven’t provided a cheque to their Zone Representatives before that date will not be able to attend the 2020 Alberta Winter Games!

Should you have questions regarding the registration process, please contact Biathlon Alberta’s General Manager, Elmar Heger, directly.

We would like to thank the Hinton Nordic Ski Club for all the work they have put into the event so far and hope that we can re-schedule the event for early March.