For the second consecutive year, the U.S. Biathlon Association is hosting a tryout camp this summer in Lake Placid, New York.
The camp is intended for elite cross-country skiers with either no experience in biathlon, or very little. Last year, the first time USBA had hosted such an event in years, included several athletes who went on to represent the U.S. in international competition this winter, and some who also earned 2015-2016 National Team nods.
As was the case last year, the camp will allow athletes to get an introduction to shooting; to spend some time training and chatting with current top National Team members; and to complete some rigorous physical testing, like an uphill running time trial at Whiteface Mountain.
Last year’s camp roster included several athletes, like Paul Everett and Kelsey Dickinson, who had competed at the previous year’s World Youth and Junior Championships. Dickinson was named to the National Development Group mid-autumn, and Everett joined her in competing again at World Youth and Junior Championships and at Open European Championships. Everett was named to the National Development Group for the 2015-2016 season last week.
But the camp also included senior athletes with no history in the sport. The inaugural Tim Burke Uphill Run Test was won last year by Erika Flowers of the Stratton Mountain School and Max Durtschi, a former professional cyclist who grew up skiing in Sun Valley and was attending Dartmouth College.
Flowers didn’t end up focusing on biathlon last season, but Durtschi went on to represent the U.S. at IBU Cup competitions in Canmore, Alberta. So did Patrick Johnson, another camp alum who has taken up biathlon full-time out of the Auburn Ski Club in California. Johnson recently won two national titles in his new sport, and both he and Durtschi were named to USBA’s 2015-2016 “X” team.
What’s the difference between the “X” team and the Development Group?
“The X Team is the ‘A’ team of the Development side, and the Development Group is the ‘B’ team,” USBA Chief of Sport Bernd Eisenbichler explained last year. “X team gives you a resident bed in Lake Placid and other benefits, but this season we want to really work very intensively with both teams to give them most time possible with biathlon training. So also the Development Group got a good amount of camp days in Lake Placid and/or Utah, so all the athletes have a good chance to develop as quickly and as far as possible in a short amount of time.”
With the 2015 season complete, the message is clear that being identified as a good prospect at the tryout camp can lead to international race starts, and potentially a national team nomination. And USBA seems to want to attract more athletes like those it found last year.
US Biathlon Talent Identification Camp
Olympic Training Center
Lake Placid, New York
Arrival: June 20th or 21st – camp starts on Sunday June 21st at 7:00 PM
Departure: June 25th – camp ends June 25th at 10:00 AM
US Biathlon is looking for talented endurance athletes who are interested in becoming world-class competitors. The talent identification camp will help us evaluate your stage in this journey.
– Physical tests, e.g. uphill run, 30 meter test
– Strength tests and flexibility screening
– Roller ski technique training with World Cup athletes Lowell Bailey, Susan Dunklee, Tim Burke, and Olympic Champion Andrea Henkel Burke
– Shooting drills and precision test
– Question and answer sessions with World Cup athletes Lowell Bailey, Susan Dunklee, Tim Burke, and Olympic Champion Andrea Henkel Burke
– Final running Biathlon competition running at the Olympic Biathlon venue Mt van Hoevenberg
– Gear for indoor and outdoor sport
– Gym shoes
– Running shoes
– Roller skis, ski boots, poles
– Writing material
Applications: please fill out the attached application form and email it to US Biathlon Chief of Sport Bernd Eisenbichler by May 5th: firstname.lastname@example.org
Invitations: will go out latest by May 15th
Travel: Applicants are responsible for their own travel. Those arriving by air should plan to arrive in Albany, NY.
Housing & Meals: The camp will take place at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, NY. Meals and lodging will be provided there free of charge.