The Biathlon BC Cup No. 3 was held at the Cariboo Ski Touring Club’s (CSTC) facilities on Hallis Lake this weekend (Jan. 19-20).
While competition was stiff among the talented athletes who crossed the province to be there, it was a really friendly, supportive atmosphere.
Over 60 volunteers pitched in on both days, which fostered a palpable sense of community to all who took part.
Lots of the competitors know each other, there were many families with multiple members competing and even non-competitive recreational athletes who took part for the joy of the sport too.
Camaraderie was in the air, as competitors ranging from eight years old to 50 or older cheered each other on during the third race in the five-race BC Cup series.
Individual races were held Saturday, Jan. 19, with races from two kilometres to 10 kilometres.
Sunday, Jan. 20 featured the sprint races.
Under sunny skies with no wind, competitors completed ski loops and shooting rounds, with penalty loops added on for missed shots.
Chris Elden, the chief of competition, was very happy with how the weekend went.
“So far, it’s run pretty smoothly,” he said Sunday morning.
Elden was pleased with the course conditions for both days of racing.
“Today is phenomenal,” he said Sunday. “There was a bit of fresh snow yesterday and it was warm, so skiing was a bit slow. Today, we had frost overnight so they could do a bit of grooming, and it’s fast. Fast snow.”
Elden is grateful to the community for supporting this event. This weekend’s competition was the largest biathlon race hosted by the CSTC at Hallis Lake.
“Thanks to all our sponsors and to all the 60-plus volunteers each day and to the community that continuously supports the Cariboo Ski Touring Club and allows us to have the facility here,” he said.
Ten teams competed at Hallis Lake. Eighty competitors raced over the course of the two days, including 11 local members of the CSTC.
“We have everything from beginners who are eight years old and who are in their first year and just learning, right up to people who are on the U20 national team and will represent B.C. at the Canada Winter Games,” says Elden.
Throughout the weekend, competitors represented the CSTC, Omineca Ski Club, Nechako Nordics Ski Club, Bulkley Valley Cross Country Ski Club, Caledonia Nordic Ski Club, West Coast Nordic Club, Vancouver Island Biathlon Club, Telemark Nordic Club, Sea to Sky Nordics and Sovereign Lake Nordic Club.
Several families had multiple racers at the event, such as the Hamps from the Omineca Ski Club in Burns Lake. Gary Hamp took up biathlon after his daughters, Julia and Nicole, started competing. He finished second in the Masters Men 50 six-kilometre sprint competition Sunday and the Masters Men 50 10km individual competition Saturday. Julia Hamp was fifth in Juveniles sprint and fourth in Juveniles individual competition, while Nicole Hamp finished second in the Junior Girls sprint and fifth in Junior Girls individual.
The BC Cup race featured a recreational division for non-competitive athletes, featuring eight athletes on Sunday and 12 athletes on Saturday.
CSTC publicity director Ron Watteyne said the recreational athletes really added to excellent spirit at the event.
“It was really cool to see,” he said, “You get the parents telling at the kids, ‘Come on! Go faster! Do this! Do that!,’ and then all of a sudden, they’re out there doing what they’re telling their kids to do.”
Watteyne was also encouraged by the skill he saw from the younger competitors.
“It was just fabulous to see all the talent that exists in the province,” he said. “There are some really talented you kids, and some of them are from our club.”
Carter Bohme – 3rd place – Midget 2 km Individual – 11:32.4
Landon Aaslie – 4th place – Juveniles 4 km Individual – 20:22.8
Reese Hamelin – 7th place – Jr. Boys 6 km Individual – 34:26.1
Laura Balkwill – 4th place – Jr. Girls Individual – 32:09.3
Odin Mills – 15th place – Sr. Boys 7.5 km Individual – 39:24.9
Graham Balkwill – 16th place – Snr Boys 7.5 km Individual – 46:58.3
Rod Albers – 3rd place – Recreational 2-4 km Individual – 27:05.8
Savannah Robinson – 4th place – Recreational 2-4 km Individual – 27:33.6
Gisela Hamelin – 8th place – Recreational 2-4 km Individual – 31:24.8
Michelle Arcand – 10th place – Recreational 2-4 km Individual – 31:45.3
Carter Bohme – 3rd place – Midget 1.5 km Sprint – 7:38.3
Landon Aaslie – 4th place – Juveniles 3 km Sprint – 12:25.7
Reese Hamelin – 8th place – Jr. Boys 4.5 km Sprint – 20:22.3
Laura Balkwill – 7th place – Jr. Girls 4.5 km Sprint – 20:55.1
Odin Mills – 14th place – Sr. Boys 6 km Sprint – 24:28.0
Graham Balkwill – 15th place – Sr. Boys 6 km Sprint – 28:12.4
Rod Albers – 1st place – Recreational 2-3 km Sprint – 15:17.4
Savannah Robinson – 5th place – Recreational 2-3 km Sprint – 18:36.8
Michelle Arcand – 6th place – Recreational 2-3 km Sprint – 18:56.4
Gisela Hamelin – 7th place – Recreational 2-3 km Sprint – 24:05.7
-with files from Ronan O’Doherty
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