How to Do Biathlon in Whistler

It’s not every day one gets to combine skiing with shooting a 0.22-calibre Russian rifle. If this sounds like your kind of adventure, try the biathlon experience at Whistler Olympic Park, where you can walk (or, in this case, ski) in the tracks of Olympians and mythological snow gods alike. 

What Is Biathlon?

Imagine racing around a cross-country ski track at top speed, only to come to a screeching halt at your station your heart racing between 150 and 180 beats per minute. You pull out your rifle, remind yourself to breathe and aim at the targets, which range in circumference from a full roll of toilet paper (if you’re standing) to the size of a golf ball (when you’re lying on the ground). 

Equal parts endurance, cardiovascular prowess and deep concentration, biathlon is as much about time as it is about accuracy. The sport combines a ski circuit with several rounds of target shooting (half from a standing position and half from a prone position on your belly). 

Norway and Sweden were first to adopt skiing and shooting in the 1800s as part of their military training, which set the foundation for the modern-day sport. Biathlon officially became an Olympic sport in 1960 (at least for men – women were finally allowed in 1990). The sport has a rich history that’s rooted in Scandinavia, home of the Norse gods Ullr and Skadi, skiing and hunting legends who we mountain lovers still credit for bringing us a bounty of snow each year. 

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PUBLICATION: The Whistler Insider Blog (

Photo: Amber Turnau, Substrate Studios

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