Mount Washington to host a Major Biathlon Event

Mount Washington Alpine Resort will host a Biathlon North American Cup race Feb. 25-27, 2005. It's the highest level biathlon competition ever to be hosted in B.C., says event organizer and Courtenay Biathlon Club member Joe Bajan.

The race will attract close to 100 biathletes from across Canada and the United States, including some who should be competing in the 2010 Winter Olympics at Whistler, B.C., Bajan said. This will be a perfect opportunity to see some of the best athletes in North America competing in one of the toughest sports-before they become famous, he said.

Mount Washington management is a great supporter of the sport and club," he said. "With their careful planning and work on the range and trails we have the largest biathlon range in B.C. and the first up to international standards. This competition is a step up the ladder to hosting other high profile events and getting the Olympic training centre built (at the Resort)," he said.

What exactly is biathlon? Bajan has a simple explanation: "Ski like mad with a rifle on your back in a 20-kilometre race; Ski like mad, stop in the range for 30 seconds to squeeze off five shots (and don't miss the target!), then ski like mad again."

The race got a boost in October when HostingBC, part of the 2010 Legacies Now program, invested $10,000 in the Cup: the highest amount permitted for this level of competition under the new hosting policy, Bajan said. The money was part of HostingBC's commitment to invest $225,000 in 12 communities to assist them in hosting 17 major sporting events in 2005.

An initiative of the province of British Columbia and the Vancouver 2010 Bid Corporation, 2010 LegaciesNow is the lead organization for sport in B.C. and works in partnership with community-based organizations to develop and support participants and athletes "from playground to podium". "These funds help host the competition and help leave a legacy for the sport for years afterwards," Bajan said. "I'd like to encourage the public to come and watch the competition," he said. "It's free-no admission charge. Come up and get personal with future Olympians at Mount Washington."