Competitors in this past weekend’s first biathlon Nor-Am were subject to a wintry mix of high winds and cold temperatures for the season-opener. Held in Canmore, Alberta, the race courses were set on a combination of nordic and biathlon trails which climbed out of the biathlon stadium onto a high point of the nordic trail system before dropping back down a high speed S-turn, a proven difficulty for many racers.
The field was not large, but very competitive, as both the Canadian and U.S. athletes are using these races to sharpen their form in time for the Olympic trials.
A 10km sprint race was held on Saturday and a pursuit race followed on Sunday. The wind made for tricky conditions in the range, but Saturday’s winner, Marc-Andre Bedard of the Canadian National Team managed a clean race, while teammate Scott Perras with two penalties followed in second place. Also with two penalties were third and fourth place U.S. biathletes, Wynn Roberts of the USBA and Walter Shephard of the Maine Winter Sports Center.
The winner of the women’s race on Saturday, Megan Imrie from the Canadian National Team, also shot clean in both stages. She was followed by her teammate Rosanna Crawford. USBA athletes Laura Spector, Annelies Cook and Jennifer Wygant rounded out the top five with three and five penalties, respectively.
Sunday’s race saw a change-up in the women’s race, as Tracy Colliander and Laura Spector of the USBA earned the top two places ahead of Canada’s Rosanna Crawford and Claude Godbout. In the men’s pursuit, Canada’s Scott Perras won despite missing nine of his shots. With just five penalties, USBA’s Wynn Roberts followed in second while Jesse Downs of the USBA and U.S. Army, was the second US skier in 5th place. Walt Shephard had another solid race, finishing in 7th overall.
“My skiing wasn’t quite there today”, Shepard stated after the race. “I didn’t quite have the feeling today like I did yesterday. Nevertheless it has been a decent start to the season.”
(Key information used in this article was reported to FS by Bob Douglas)