Youth Training in Biathlon with the EcoAims camera based optic rifle
You may notice a new sport on the West Bragg Creek trails when you are out enjoying this beautiful multi use recreational area. XC Bragg Creek Ski & Bike Society has introduced a new program this year- youth Biathlon, a combination of skate skiing and marksmanship. Young athletes ages 9-12 are experiencing this sport for the first time while being coached by certified Biathlon coaches. This is an exciting new program allowing local youth to experience this Olympic sport in complete safety at very low cost.
The EcoAims camera based rifles are a non-projectile, non-invasive rifle allowing coaches to view what the athlete sees through their site. Portable target systems are hooked up via wires to the rifle and computer system to relay information of on target hits, misses and timing. The EcoAims camera system is like a high-fidelity Nintendo, is battery powered, completely portable and emission free. The EcoAim rifle simulator has the shape and feel of a biathlon rifle but it cannot fire a projectile. The rifle simulator contains a camera which reads the infrared emitter on the target. A hit or miss is registered on the target with red or green LED lights. A control unit records the accuracy of the athlete. The EcoAims system is so precise that Olympic level athletes incorporate it into their training regime.
Athletes at this age do not ski while carrying their rifles on their backs – rifles are kept on the rifle stand at all times. There is no environmental damage or strain on the eco-system. All range and equipment is set up and taken down before and after practice, being a temporary set up.
Our young XC Bragg Creek athletes were in Canmore this week competing in their first biathlon race called the Kinder Cup. Competing alongside other Biathlon clubs who use air rifles and 22’s, the EcoAims system is still treated with the same gun safety protocol and competitions run parallel to each other. This is an exciting time for Southern Alberta to be introducing this sport to more children around the province, especially since the best athletes in the World will be competing at the BMW IBU World Cup Biathlon in Canmore on Feb 7-10, 2019. Information on the World cup can be found here
XC Bragg Creek Biathlon Programs will run in the West Bragg Creek public lands area on Sunday mornings & Tuesday evenings.
2018 2019 Biathlon Program:
***Biathlon Program age 9-13 (new to Biathlon and/or skate skiing)***
Tuesdays 7:00pm-8:30pm & Sundays 10:00am-11:30am
Nov 6, 2018 – Mar 12, 2019 (28 sessions) $550
no classes Nov 11, Dec 22-Jan 6, Feb 15-23
Location: Redwood Meadows & West Bragg Creek Trails (location dates TBD)
Skate ski gear is required.
Biathlon Eco- Aim, non-projectile camera rifles are supplied for usage during lessons (price is included in the Biathlon program fee)
A parent or responsible adult must be available on a rotational schedule to set up and take down the rifles, targets, mats and rifle blocks.
This XCBC Biathlon program is in its first trial year.
Coaches will be certified Biathlon coaches.
The program is an entry level Biathlon program for approx ages 9-13 new to either Biathlon and/or skate skiing.
The Eco-Aim camera rifles are a great training tool with a built in computer system allowing coaches to view the athletes sight target and breathing rhythms while also calculating timing and results.
Training will include range safety protocol and all Eco-Aim rifles will be treated just as any projectile rifle would be treated.
Athletes will be invited to attend and compete in local Kinder Cups. These are fun entry level Biathlon races. Eco-Aim rifles will be used for XCBC Biathlon athletes. Other regional Biathlon athletes will use their specific program rifles such as air rifles where appropriate.
Kinder Cup registration only requires a $10 recreational Biathlon Canada Membership (please see below).
Biathlon Canada Memberships:
It is mandatory for all XCBC Biathlon athletes and coaches to have a Biathlon Canada Membership.
- Answer “no” to competing in 2018/2019 (Kinder Cups will be our only competition this season and do not require a racing/competition membership)
- Athletes select the $10 recreational membership
- Please send your confirmation membership certificate to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- link for Memberships: https://zone4.ca/register.asp?id=17846&lan=1&cartlevel=1
Adult Program Further Information
- skate skis that are appropriate for your weight ( please have the camber checked at a reputable ski store for weight) and height (tops curve over the head or longer).
- skate poles- pole top/handle straps should be between chin and nose. Straps should be adjusted so hands are close to the pole.
- skate ski boots that fit well. No lift or rubbing in the heel area. A way to snug them up tightly ie) laces or pull tie.
3 w’s wicking layer (no cotton):
- under layer (wicking layer -to take dampness away from the skin such as polypropylene long underwear or wool (NO cotton!))
- mid layer (warm layer– fleece or wool works well)
- windproof layer (our club jacket and a pair of light windproof pants will work)
A vest is a good to keep your core warm. It is better to dress in multiple thin layers, rather than one bulky one. (you can regulate your temperature better). Be warm but avoid sweating – take off layers as needed and make sure your outer layers are breathable. Being damp is what will make you cold (especially if you have to stop moving)
- appropriate ski socks (no cotton)-You can again use the 3 Ws; wicking, warm, then your boots are the wind layer. It’s better to have two thin socks than one pair of bulky thick socks. If your feet are prone to getting cold, then get a ‘boot warmer’. (It’s a layer you put over your boots that are designed for ski boots and bindings). For kids- a large wool sock over their boot, (with the appropriate holes cut in it to accommodate bindings) will suffice as a boot warmer.
- mitts are warmer than gloves (no cotton). Again, for colder days, layering mitts are a good idea. Some little fleece mittens work well inside a x-country ski mitten for cold days. Instant hand warmers (‘hot shots’) are good if your hands get really cold.
- For shooting/target practice nights, gloves are required
- a toque
- thin neck buff (Lycra)
- sunglasses (for Fridays)
- Headlamp (for evening classes)
- Water bottle and holder (the bottle needs to be covered or it will freeze)
- Snack for after practice
- Skate skis must also be glide waxed regularly. This helps them glide.
Nice to have:
- Balaclava for our coldest days
- Ear warmers or headband for warmer days
Biathlon Lessons – Program Goals:
•gain confidence on skis
•learn new technique & improve skill level
•become a more efficient & graceful skier
•learn ski trail etiquette
•safe rifle handling and practices
•learning how to shoot accurately and timely
Below are some helpful links glide waxing:
West Bragg Creek Trails Report:
Please see “events” calendar for all scheduled program sessions.
Please see “events” calendar for all scheduled program sessions, events and other scheduled XCBC activities.
Biathlon athletes will be invited to attend KinderCup events in the local area.
- Q: Cold weather cutoff? A: -15 air temp -18 wind-chill
- Q: If a session is cancelled? A: An email and/or website post will be sent out by noon the day of.
What Member’s Say
When you really think about it, this is almost the “ideal” program in so many ways. It is local and convenient. It is a “no stress” introduction to a sport that promotes fitness and health for life. It offers competitive opportunities to those who so desire. Finally it happens in a beautiful outdoor environment. I believe there are many sports clubs who seek to fulfill one of these goals, but very few who attempt to fulfill all of them. We are so fortunate to have XCBC in our backyard!
Let me say something. You have an amazing team with awesome support. They really helped me this weekend. This is what I call an “extra mile” in customer relationship. So I give 8 stars for the program theme and if I could, I’d give 10 stars for support.