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Auburn Ski Club set to host biathlon championship

By: Journal sports staff
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There may not be any snow yet.

But the Auburn Ski Club is getting ready to host the USBA National Summer Biathlon Championships next week in Lake Tahoe. The event, which taking place at the ski club’s Training Center on Donner Summit, goes from Thursday, Aug. 23 to Sunday, Aug. 26. 

Organizers say entries are coming in from all over the nation to take part in this annual test of running — not skiing — and shooting skills.

This will be the 25th annual summer biathlon championships, which were first contested in 1988. 

The summer biathlon has grown out of one of the original winter Olympic sports of biathlon, in which athletes challenge their cross-country ski and shooting skills.

In the winter, biathletes cross-country ski a course carrying a specialized .22-caliber rifle on their backs, stopping to shoot at targets 50 meters away.  Each shooting round involves five shots with a 150-meter penalty loop being required to be skied for each miss. 

During the summer, biathletes leave their rifles on the range and replace skiing with running.  The shooting is the same — as runners have to calm their breathing and pulse as they enter the range to have the best chance of hitting their targets.

The Auburn Ski Club has the only biathlon shooting range in the Tahoe area and attracts athletes year-round who wish to try biathlon and train for local and regional competitions.

Spectators will be welcome at the event. 

There will also be a 3km Novice Race and 1km Youth Race offered on Saturday, Aug. 25. No experience is required but a mandatory safety clinic will be given before the race.  

Rifles and ammunition will be provided.  Parents must register their children prior to the clinic and sign a liability waiver on the day of the event, which is open to those ages 8-18.  

More information is available at the Auburn Ski Club website at www.auburnskiclub.org/nordic/biathlon , or by emailing biathlon@assoc.auburnskiclub.org.