For his profession, Lowell Bailey wears a .22 caliber rifle strapped to his back. It has taken him across the world and to four Olympic Games, most recently to the biathlon mixed relay Tuesday night at Alpensia Biathlon Centre, where he skied the anchor leg for a United States team that finished 15th. His sport and his livelihood revolve around shooting. His competitors from other countries often wonder about his country’s relationship with guns…
Have you ever considered an off-season multisport? Maybe a run-bike-run duathlon? Or a combination skiing-shooting biathlon? Colorado hosts a variety of traditional and non-traditional events, taking many forms… But the traditional sport of Biathlon consists of Nordic skiing and shooting/rifle marksmanship.
The Biathlon series at Snow Mountain Ranch is hosted by the Colorado Biathlon Club and takes place once a month through the winter. https://www.coloradobiathlon.org/
Both junior and senior categories are offered.
In the summer the Colorado Biathlon Club hosts a warm-weather biathlon, consisting of mountain biking and shooting, or running and shooting. Be sure to check out 303 Ambassador Sasha Underwood’s story on the experience, “Guns-N-Heartrates”
What a blast, literally! This was my first time participating in a biathlon, and my first time shooting a rifle for that matter. Colorado Biathlon Club holds one summer biathlon each year which consists of either running or mountain biking, and shooting a low caliber .22 rifle at 50-meter targets. The way it works is somewhat like cyclocross, with shooting in between laps. The loops were dirt trails, some single track, not very technical but overall there was about 1000ft of climbing. At the end of each 2.75meter loop, we’d ditch our bikes and walk over to the shooting range. There were five targets that we would shoot and for every shot missed you would do a 150meter penalty loop.
First time shooting was in prone position (laying on the ground) and I managed to hit three targets. I did my two penalty loops and hammered out the next lap.
The second time shooting my heart rate was about 175 and I managed to hit one target. Four penalty loops then on my way. I passed a couple guys and came into the shooting range for my first standing shot – which proved to be much more difficult than prone position. I hit zero targets. Not to mention that it started pouring rain about that time. So after my five penalty loops I started up the climb which was becoming more challenging as my legs were tired and the trail was super muddy. Got passed my boyfriend, Dan (who placed 2nd overall), and went to shoot for the last time.
Standing again, missed all targets – again. After my last five penalty loops the ground was sloppy with mud and it was so slick I had a hard time staying upright. Managed to keep it
together and passed one more guy on the way into the finishing chute covered in mud from head to toe. It was so much fun that I plan to participate in some of the winter biathlons this season. I want to brag about coming in first place but there were only three of us girls – haha! So I was guaranteed top three even if I came in last – but I’m not competitive!
If you’re looking for something different, challenging, and in our gorgeous Colorado backyard at Snow Mountain Ranch, I HIGHLY recommend participating in the summer biathlon next year. No experience necessary and if you’re a girl you’ll probably place top 5!
Stay tuned for more reports from this new sport I picked up – I found out that my visually impaired friends have access to rifles that make audible sounds as they aim at the target so I plan on guiding for a winter biathlon.