You can’t practise skiing without snow, but you can practise shooting.
Biathlon Yukon has taken that idea and run with it, getting members of its Velocity Squad to practise at the range during the off season. The results were showing this past weekend.
Members of the Velocity Squad captured nine medals with some keen shooting at the B.C. Cup #2 over the weekend in Whistler.
“Our summer training has really affected our winter training because we’re not spending as much time trying to teach shooting skills in the cold weather,” said Velocity coach Dennis Peters. “In summer it’s pretty easy to shoot when you’re not freezing and you’re comfortable. In winter it’s really hard to get those skills down.
“I think that’s starting to pay off.”
Four Velocity biathletes won medals both days, in the sprint and the pursuit, in Whistler. They prevailed over tough competition and wet, rainy conditions on Saturday.
“We had a really successful trip,” said Peters. “These kids were competing in tough conditions and there was never a complaint by a single kid. They were soaking wet, they were skiing through lakes, through mounds of slush, and they just did great.”
Yukon’s Nadia Moser was golden both days. The 17-year-old took first in the two-person junior women’s division with 80 per cent accuracy at the range on Saturday.
Maria Peters won bronze both days in senior girls, showing some perseverance in Sunday’s 7.5-kilometre pursuit. She missed all five shots in her first trip to the range before shooting clean her next trip, and hitting eight out of 10 while standing.
“After her five penalty laps she was way behind everybody else and she kept gaining on people and passing people,” said Dennis.
Moser and Maria will be Yukon’s two biathletes at the Canada Winter Games next month in Prince George, B.C. Last month Moser won a silver medal at a national team trials event, which was also a North American Cup, in Canmore, Alta.
“I’m really excited. I think it will be a really good experience for me,” said Maria in a recent interview with the News. “I’m not really hoping to podium because I don’t think that’s realistic, but I’m hoping that I’ll do my best.”
Yukon’s Jake Draper had two very different races in junior boys, but came away with a medal in both. Draper won silver in Saturday 4.5-kilometre sprint despite hitting just three of 10 at the range and was only 37 seconds behind the winner.
“When Jake doesn’t shoot well, he gives it everything on skiing,” said Dennis. “His skiing was just exemplary on that day.”
On Sunday Draper captured gold in the six-kilometre pursuit, pegging off nine out of 10 to finish a full two minutes in front of Saturday’s gold medalist in second.
Yukon’s Micah Hildes captured silver in junior girls 4.5-kilometre sprint Saturday and then gold in the six-kilometre pursuit Sunday, hitting 12 out of 15.
Teammate Dana Sellars won bronze Saturday in the same division and placed fourth Sunday. Both Sellars and Hildes shot at 80 per cent Saturday.
“The announcer … started commenting on all the people who shoot clean and by the fourth or fifth time he says, ‘Another Yukon clean – what are these guys doing?’” said Dennis. “And we just kept on cleaning, shooting well, shooting four out of five. It was a real highlight for all the Yukoners.”
Torsten Petersson was twice edged out of hardware, placing fourth both days in junior boys. He was just nine seconds behind the bronze finisher on Sunday.
“This year he has really excelled,” said Dennis. “He’s shooting well, his skiing has improved by leaps and bounds, and he’s determined.”
The Velocity Squad had four biathletes in the 17-competitor senior boys division with five top-10 placings. Daniel Sennett placed sixth Saturday, eighth Sunday; Liam Adel seventh Saturday, sixth Sunday; Francis Reid 12th Saturday, 10th Sunday; and Bruce Wilson finished 11th Saturday, 12th Sunday.
Clodagh Berg finished 10th Saturday and ninth out of 10 on Sunday in senior girls.
Bronwyn Goodwin-Williams, in junior girls, came eighth Saturday and seventh Sunday.
Aidan Hupe came 16th Saturday and 13th Sunday in mixed juvenile while teammate Amma Marnik placed 15th both days, out of 23 competitors on Saturday.
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