Biathlon is a complex sport that combines cross-country skiing and precision rifle target shooting. West Kelowna’s Telemark Nordic Club hosts an opportunity for the public to come see what this sport is all about every year, and this year’s demonstration day is on Saturday, November 3, 2018.

Although it still early in the season and there may not be snow yet on the course for demo day, visitors are still promised an exciting day trying the thrill of biathlon shooting. We spoke to Murray Carlson, one of the coaches at the club who has also been a member of the adult recreational program since 2012.

Biathlon Shooting No Snow
Photo by: Murray Carlson

“Participants who are new to skiing or who are already proficient skiers that might be interested to try shooting get to have a taste, on our annual demo day,” says Carlson. “Imagine the thrill of skiing around a short course and then stopping to shoot, all while trying to catch your breath so you can knock all of the targets down.”

Coaching staff will be on hand to introduce visitors to this exciting, fast-paced sport. They will provide supervision to the public on a certified biathlon range after a safety briefing.

Biathlon Shooting
Photo by: Murray Carlson

Biathlon is a winter sport that is practiced not just here locally, but also up to International and Olympic levels. In its current form, the sport uses a standardized 50-metre rifle range equipped with mechanical targets. Competitors utilize cross-country skis and poles to make their way around courses of various lengths. There are penalties for missed targets and the athletes are either assigned additional distance to ski, or time is added to their total race time.

Biathlon Shooting
Photo by: Murray Carlson

“We often joke amongst biathlon athletes that a third skill is the making of excuses for missed targets,” says Carlson. “Anyone can participate in biathlon and it is a sport that is easy to enjoy!”

The range is located only half an hour from Downtown Kelowna at 4425 Glenrosa Road in West Kelowna. If you’re coming from out of town, there are accommodation options available within 20 minutes of the range in the community of West Kelowna. Take the highway into West Kelowna and once you exit onto Glenrosa Road, it is only about 9km until you get to the parking lot.

Biathlon Skiing
Photo by: Murray Carlson

The public demonstration event starts at noon and only costs $15 for the range fee. You have to be at least 8 years old to shoot and there will even be prizes on demo day. More information can be found on the Telemark Nordic Club website.


Wesla Wong & Duane English
Wesla Wong & Duane English are meteorologists based in Kelowna. When not looking at weather charts, you will find the couple skiing, playing music or hiking with their dogs - enjoying everything that the Okanagan has to offer.