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Biathlon: Camp II

Mud Sweat and Gears:

Report From: Doug Forer

As a willing participant (victim?) to the ‘mud, sweat and tears’ that was the second Edmonton Biathlon Camp, I must commend you on your constant positive perspective, and encouragement, as we struggled with really crazy weather conditions.

Podium In The Rain:

If it ever rains at a biathlon competition, each of us now have the proper training to reach the podium…(or at least I can tell you where it is, after I wipe the rain off my fogged-up glasses).

Bike Mudathon:


As for the ‘Bike and Biathlon’ race, many of you will be interested to know that Helene spent a great deal of time planning the race route prior to Saturday…only to have her plans completely eliminated by the rain.  Her flexibility in designing a new race route, so that we could put into practice her ‘Race Strategy’ lecture, was fantastic…(even though I’m convinced she designed it entirely to permit Mark Singleton to post the fastest time…)

Sunny Elk Island:

EatingCrow.20160611_105427While the roller ski in Elk Island was fantastic, Helene just couldn’t cope with the perfect weather on Sunday morning; I’m sure she did everything she could to ensure that it would rain on us for at least 10 minutes while we were out on the road! [Arranging for snow at Camp I in Hinton raised all our expectations.]

Yoga Too …


Thanks are also owed to Monica, who braved cold, wet and windy conditions in order to coax all of us into a yoga performance for the ages.(Curious how all of the kids are fully capable of mastering the ‘Crow’ position in yoga moments after it’s taught (see pictures)…while the Masters are barely able to…enough said…)

Thanks again to everyone who helped make it a great Camp.

Children and Sport: LTAD and True Sport

True Sport:

True Sport is a Canadian initiative based on  six principles:

  • Go For It;
  • Play Fair;
  • Respect Others;
  • Keep It Fun;
  • Stay Healthy;
  • Give Back

Dina Bell-Laroche explains how these principles are worked out as children grow through the various phases of the LTAD model. This is a detailed, but very readable article. Enjoy!


This is the Canadian Sport For Life (CS4L) model that guides athlete development in every sport in Canada, including Cross Country Skiing and Biathlon. It consists of six phases:

  • Active Start;
  • FUNdamentals;
  • Learn To Train;
  • Train To Train;
  • Train to Compete;
  • Train To Win.

Maximizing Sport For Your Child:

The idea here is to optimize the joy and benefit for your children, while at the same time enhancing the experience for everyone involved – children, coaches, volunteers and officials. How you do it varies at the different stages of the LTAD as children grow up into adult participants. Bell-Laroche does a great job explaining this.

Read the full article.


Carded: Short hand for ‘nominated for Sport Canada Athlete Assistance funding’. Congratulations to ENSC alumnus Pearce Hanna, who has cracked the Biathlon Canada carding list after only two season of post high school competition.  This results-based award delivers cash, so that Pearce can focus more on his sport and less on working to put bread on the table and a roof over his head.

Pearce At World Youth Champs: 3-3

Pearce has a very long history with Nordic sports, completing his first Birkebeiner before he was one year old (way to go Glenda!). From there he followed the usual path through JR, TA, YD and bloomed in the ENSC  joint cross country and biathlon programs.

Competing successfully in both cross country and biathlon races, Pearce was eventually seduced by the way of the rifle. While at ENSC he represented Canada at the Biathlon Youth World Championships and has since gone on to the IBU WC series and the Biathlon Junior World Championships. Now residing in Canmore and training with the Biathlon Alberta Training Centre, we wish Pearce every future success.

Full Carding List:

More information and the full carding nomination list and can be found here: Biathlon Canada

Windy City Biathlon!

ENSC 2016 Biathlon Championships:

April 09, 2016: Thirty-odd athletes, four coaches, eighteen families and a couple of dogs, turned out for the Biathlon Championships on one of the windiest days of the season. Tall about huddled masses!

After the Mass Start races that determined the category champions Helene and Alan assigned everyone to 3-person Relay Teams for a fun race, and then we headed to the Volunteer Hut for a pot-luck lunch and barbecue. No fire in the fire pit – our resident fireman, Don Linklater said it was way too windy for an open fire in the park.

Linklater Sweep:

It was a golden day for the Linklaters! Wynn, Fiona, Callum and Helena each won their Mass Start Races and two of them made it onto the Relay podium too. Must be the genes!

Great Pot Luck:

The 18 families that contributed to the Pot Luck Lunch really out did themselves. Starting from the traditional barbecue and hot dogs via salads to frozen cream puffs. Delicious!

Thank you all for a great day.



Biathlon: Almost Done

March: Out Like A Lamb!

ENSC Biathletes enjoyed the mud-free mild weather and the evening light at their last formal practice, March 30, 2016. Our new Head Coach continued her innovative approach to training with ‘Game Combos’. Athletes were split into two teams to play cooperative skill games. After each game, the winning team went straight to the shooting range, while the losing team did core strength exercises.

Balance drill race; found objects relay. March 39, 2016

Balance drill race; found objects relay. Gerding sisters Kira and Leia in the lead. March 30, 2016

Cooperation and Balance:

For example, this game uses various found objects from our training toy collection and from around the Range. Athletes must stay off the ground at all times. Progress is made by passing the last object to the front, and then everyone on the team moves one one step forwards, freeing up the last stepping stone, which is passed forwards. If anyone falls off, the team loses that stepping stone until the referee relents and gives it back.

Next Event:

ENSC Biathlon Club Championships, Saturday, April 09, 2016.




Still Skiing Tawatinaw

Tawatinaw Ski Resort

My first visit to Tawatinaw Valley was a real eye-opener; this is an excellent development opportunity for our club.

The Chalet:

The Resort is situated in the Tawatinaw Valley, in the hamlet of Tawatinaw. This is less than 100 km due north of Edmonton on Hwy 2 (most of the way).

A complete rebuild of the Alpine Chalet really enhances prospects for visitors. Beautiful job – nice furniture, loft ceilings clad in knotty pine, big picture windows, sunny patio, cafeteria and licensed restaurant.

Snow Resources:

The alpine section has snowmaking, three T-bars and a short rope tow servicing 30 runs, including free-style jump ramps. It still had a v. good base on March 26, 2016, although the resort was closed due to diminished use.

The cross country portion offers slightly more than 20 km of trail, mostly in rolling bush, but including some stiff up and down hills with similar elevation gain to the alpine runs. Cross country trails at the top of the hill are accessible from the Chalet via the Orange T-bar.

Spring Skiing:

On March 26, all of these trails were skiable, with snow depths in the 10 – 20 cm range (judged by moose prints!). This is quite remarkable after a record warm Feb. – a snow year which left the Goldbar and SSP trails bare by the first week in March. Imagine how good these trails would be in an average snow year.

Grooming: There is a full on snow machine that sets track for skating and classic. Raint Boelman, volunteer groomer, intermittently grooms additional trails that are on private land contiguous with the Resort’s lease. If Andrei and I had taken a snowmobile and the Ginsu, we could have had beautiful skiing over 90% of the available trail; good for a couple of weekends in the sun.


Adjacent to the Chalet is a re-built community hall and a Lake Louise-style hostel that could sleep upwards of 100 people.  Next to this is a large gymnasium building which is also part of the resort. There is also a small B&B in Clyde.


Tawatinaw Valley Hostel

Future Developments For ENSC:

There are v. good prospects for both winter and summer XC activities. Tawatinaw is only 60 min. from downtown Edmonton. It is a lot closer than other trails that might have snow in spring, and it has much better hospitality-shelter options than any place closer than Jasper.

XC Skiing: The trails are like SWC, but with more wiggles, more ups and downs, and steeper hills. The snow cover is exceptional; the current good coverage is typical for a low-snow year. Excellent prospects here for early through late Spring skiing when ENSC trails are melting out, Gold-boredom is setting in and the sun is warm again.

Spring Loppet:

A Spring Loppet, co-hosted by ENSC and Tawatinaw Ski Club would be a fun event for the end of season.

Community Coaching: Biathlon

On March 19, ENSC Biathlon sponsored a Community Coaching weekend, which consisted of three sections, Bronze, Silver and Gold. These courses (Bronze Assistant, Silver Instructor and Gold Leader) are designed to train coaches who will run introductory Biathlon programs for children under 15. The Community Coaching stream is separate from the Competitive Coaching program and is designed especially for coaches who will be coaching children.

Biathlon Bears:

This is the program that the coaches are trained to deliver. The Bears skiing and shooting manuals, games and reference materials are aligned with the characteristics of children who are still learning, both the sport and about themselves. Using Biathlon as a way to increase both self confidence in sport and athletic literacy are key goals of the program.

Bronze andSilver Instructors:

The following ENSC members (plus Randy) graduated from both the Bronze and Silver courses: Abbi Brown, Anna Minarik, Erin Bennett, Erin Sand (also Jasper Place Cadets) Doug Forer, Henry Forer, Jaima Fixen, Helene Jorgensen, Jake Taylor, Jason Scott, Kira Gerding, Nick Gerwing, Randy Hopkins (Wapiti Nordic), Sol Bobier, Tia Bennett.

Gold Leaders:

The following went on to complete the Gold Leader training, which qualifies them to lead a Biathlon Bears program and mentor Silver Instructors: Anna Minarik, Erin Sand (also Jasper Place Cadets) Doug Forer, Henry Forer, Jaima Fixen, Helene Jorgensen, Jake Taylor, Jason Scott, Kira Gerding, Randy Hopkins (Wapiti Nordic), Tia Bennett.

Now considered by NCCP to be ‘Trained’ the participants have some homework to complete before they become ‘Certified Gold Coaches’.

Canada Medals at World Champs

Holmenkollen: Biathlon WCH

Canada made a great breakthrough in men’s biathlon today when four Canadian athletes combined to place third in the premier event of the season, the Mens’ 4 x 7.5km Relay. Fighting it out with Norway and Germany, Canada alternated between 1st, 2nd and 3rd until the last leg. Austria was fourth, 40 sec. back and the vaunted French and Russian teams were nowhere to be seen.

Alberta Biathlon Core

Albertan’s Nathan Smith, Scott Gow and Christian Gow, with Brendan Green from NWT really put Canada on the world Biathlon map today.  Canada’s shooting finally came together to complement their known ski speed. It looked like they had fast skis too, thanks to Tom Zidek and the wax crew.

Canada: Men's Bronze Relay Team, 2016 World Champs. Christian Gow, Scott Gow, Nathan Smith, Brenan Green

Canada: Men’s Bronze Relay Team, 2016 World Champs. Christian Gow, Scott Gow, Nathan Smith, Brendan Green

Masters Skiers and Fractures

Strength Training Now an Important Part of Osteoporosis Prevention

Not many of us Masters Skiers can ‘crash and burn” like we used too. Fear of falling slows us down and takes some of the exhilaration out of Cross Country Skiing and Biathlon.

Although there is no ‘cure’ for osteoporosis, strength training is an integral part of postponing the inevitable.

Strength training will also help prevent bone fractures caused by over use.

Read More

Biathlon at AWG

Summer Biathlon at the Winter Games:

A weekend of ups and downs at the AWG for the Biathlon crew, as the format changed to Summer Biathlon, i.e. Run and Shoot, in newly defined age categories.

This year the AWG categories were redefined as 2-year categories and more than a few of our younger racers ‘skied down’ from their Calforex performance levels. Medals resulted, although it remains to be seen what effect this de-tuning will have on their performance levels at the next Calforex in Grande Prairie.

Helena Linklater maintained her reputation as Alberta’s ‘top gun’, shooting clean over the whole Air Rifle-2 race series and winning two Golds and a Bronze in the process. Taylor Fulton shared two of those podiums with Helena, winning Bronze in both the Individual and the Sprint and followed up with a Gold medal in the super Sprint.

Higher up the age categories, Solomia Bobier contributed a Bronze in the Individual and another in the DEV-1 Super Sprint while Abby Brown added another DEV-1 medal with a Bronze in the Sprint.

ENSC also did well in the Boys DEV-2 Individual race, with Jake Taylor in first place (racing for Zone 7) and Nicholas Gerwing in second (Zone 6).

The rest of the crew contributed several top-five finishes in various races, with Callum Linklater and Jacob Losey scoring near misses with 4th place finishes. Samuel Bosse, learning as he went, capped an excellent week of shooting with a Bronze in the Supper Sprint (Air-2)

Despite the lack of snow, everyone,  including the coaches, had a great time doing Summer Biathlon at the AWG, but the crew is looking forward to getting back on skis for Calforex #5 in Grande Prairie.

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