Sports2024 Summer Olympics


Skiers give biathlon a try at McMiller Sports Complex in Eagle

Posted at 8:50 PM, Feb 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-14 21:50:22-05

EAGLE, Wisc. — South of Waukesha in Eagle, a group of sharpshooting, cross country skiers meet for practice.

"Wisconsin Biathlon first started building the club around 2008 in cooperation with McMiller Sports Center and the DNR," says Mike Larsen, a coordinator with Wisconsin Biathlon Association and biathlon athlete.

The rhythm of skiing, stopping, shooting, and repeating may seem simple, but don't let that fool you.

"It's a very difficult sport to do because you have the combination of going full out and then having to be relaxed and stable to make the shots downrange," says Larsen.

Don't let that deter you either. This group is all about showing people the ropes, fueling that competitive fire.

"The nice things that we have set up here and Mike is really good about it, it demo days where they can come out give it a try see how they like it. We have enough people to stand by the ranges to help people with the rifle part," says Tom Davenport, biathlon athlete, and club member.

As long as there's snow, the range and trails are open.

"An average practice you can do whatever sized loops you like here. We have multiple loops, with the standard loop being 2k. So a standard practice for me is to do 5 of those loops, which is what a standard race is," says Larsen.

They also love experiencing that moment of success first-timers feel hitting a target the size of a CD that's 50 meters away.

"That is really exciting and they feel so good when they hit it too," says Davenport.

Another great thing about this sport is you're never too old to start.

"The age range is pretty wide. We have kids starting at 10, all the way up to 60 and 70-year-olds," says Larsen.

Even if you're not into shooting, still come out and enjoy the trails and company.

"These trails around here are just magnificent. They are challenging and it's kind of the perfect terrain for cross country," says Davenport.

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