Having the Olympics in Vancouver in 2010 was huge. There was a ton of “fan-demonium” all around, you could feel the intensity of the Olympic spirit all around the province. Since then, we have wanted to try our hand at some of the Olympic sports. This past weekend we were in beautiful Whistler, British Columbia and had the exciting opportunity to try out Biathlon Rifle Shooting as well as the Summer Bobsleigh.
For an entry fee of $5 a vehicle during the summer, you can enter and explore Whistler Olympic Park. At the entrance you are also given a $5 coupon to try the Biathlon Rifle Shooting, so the entrance fee is pretty much a wash if you intend to try your hand at the rifle shooting portion of the Olympic event. To take part in the experience, it is $10 and includes one round of five shots of ammo. Additional rounds of five shots of ammo are $5. Driving to the Biathlon area, it was neat to see the ski jumps and slide park and to see in person just how steep the runs really are.
Our instructor for rifle shooting, Shannon, was fabulous. She was super friendly, and was willing to take the time to answer any questions we had, show us how to properly position ourselves and shoot the rifle. If you follow the instructions, you should have little to no problem hitting the target. And, at $5 per every round of five shots, the experience won’t break the bank and will leave you tempted to ask for more ammo when all your rounds are up. We were taught to lay at a 45 degree angle, have the back end of the rifle touching your shoulder and how to line up the shot for a successful target hit.
We couldn’t imagine having to first ski several demanding kilometers before taking out all the targets in a fraction of the time we were able to. The official event mixes two completely different skill sets: endurance and precision.
We started with the .22 calibre rifle being rested on a block for the first round, to get the hang of it. For the next rounds, we took away the block and was surprised at how heavy the rifle was, and while we still hit the targets, it was harder to get a perfect round; we averaged 3/5 targets. It was also a bit more challenging without the block because you then had to hold the rifle steady as you shot. We weren’t as fast of shooters as the Olympic athletes, that is for sure. We definitely took our time between each shot. And, we were shooting at targets noticeably bigger than those a professional athlete would shoot at. But none of that seemed to matter, it was so much fun that we could have spent all day shooting at targets.
It was a cool feeling shooting a real biathlon rifle at the same place that Olympic legends such as Ole Einar Bjorndalen and Magdalena Neuner celebrated their victories.
Whistler Olympic Park is located at 5 Cakkaghan Valley, south of Whistler. The Biathlon range is at the far end of the park and there is free parking available nearby the shooting range. Advanced booking is not required, but if you are arriving with a group, it is best to call ahead and make a reservation.
“Mark” our words, try biathlon rifle shooting and you will be immediately hooked.
What Olympic sports would you want to try if you had the chance?