The 2011 North American Biathlon Championships were held at Whistler Olympic Park from March 31 to April 3, and were hosted by my ski club, the Callaghan Winter Sports Club. In connection with the Championships the club also put on the Callaghan Valley Open, an event for kids and for adults who were not competing for Noram points.
I was the ramp supervisor for the event. Ramp supervisor is one of my favorite positions on the range. Filling athletes into lanes in the Pursuit and Mass Start competitions can be a lot of fun, even when it gets chaotic at times with the younger athletes coming into the range all at once and their coaches running out to put their rifles on the correct mats.
The Championships featured a Sprint, Pursuit and Mass Start competition.
Matt Neumann of the Caledonia Nordic Ski Club was the winner of the Men’s 10 km Sprint competition, with three penalties. Second place went to Beau Thompson of the Canmore Nordic Ski Club, who finished 36.5 seconds back with two penalties. Aaron Neumann, also from Caledonia was in third, 2:20.9 back with no penalties.
The podium in the Men’s 12.5 km Pursuit was the same as the Sprint, with Matt Neumann on top with five penalties, Beau Thompson 1:44.4 back with six penalties and Aaron Neumann 3:49.8 back with six penalties.
Beau Thompson moved up to the top of the podium in the Men’s 15 km Mass Start with five penalties, after Matt Neumann had a tough day on the range with nine penalties to finish 47.2 back. Aaron Neumann picked up his third bronze medal, 1:33.9 back with four penalties.
Casey Smith of Methow Valley Biathlon won each of the Junior Men’s competitions.
The 2011 North American Championships were a great event, even though the top Canadian and U.S. biathletes stayed at home after competing in their respective national championships the weekend earlier. All those who came were treated to Callaghan Valley weather at its best: each day different with rain, warm sun, snow, and cold overcast conditions.
Many thanks to all the athletes who participated and the volunteers and officials who put in their time and effort to make the event a success!