by Elizabeth Folwell
Paul Smiths native Tim Burke earned a silver medal in the individual 20-kilometer biathlon on February 14 in the world championships held in the Czech Republic. It’s been more than 20 years since an American has done so well in the sport that combines precision marksmanship and cross-country skiing. The 31-year-old’s hometown paper interviewed Burke about this stunning triumph and also his performance at the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Burke first tried biathlon as a preteen and worked his way up through youth competitions at Lake Placid’s Mount Van Hoevenberg. There’s new interest in introducing the sport to boys, girls and grownups throughout the Adirondacks this winter. You can try the biathlon experience at Mount Van Ho, which includes a short group cross-country-ski lesson plus instruction in gun safety and target practice.
New York Ski Educational Foundation has long nurtured alpine and Nordic racers and is taking aim on the sport through a series of paintball biathlon contests at Saranac Lake’s Dewey Mountain cross-country-ski center and other venues. The next youth biathlons are slated for Mount Van Hoevenberg on February 24 and at Dewey also on February 24 and March 9.
Garnet Hill Lodge, in North River, has been sponsoring paintball biathlon events for kids since November. These use the ski center’s woodland trails, with four stations where paintball equipment—and adult help—are ready for action. Russ Myer, from Capital Region Nordic Alliance, helps with snowshoe orienteering and other friendly competitions and hopes to offer more paintball/ski sessions this spring around North Creek. Check the CRNA website for updates.
On March 9 the Saratoga Biathlon Club hosts the state championships for biathletes. The hiking, biking and skiing trails, along with the shooting lanes, were created by Jim Schreiner, father of three-time Olympian Curt Shreiner, and the outdoor center is a family-friendly facility on Shore Road in Hadley, New York.
Tags: Adirondack Life, Adirondacks, biathlete Tim Burke, biathlon, Capital Region Nordic Alliance, Curt Shreiner, Garnet Hill Lodge, Mount Van Hoevenberg, New York State Ski Educational Foundation, Paul Smiths, Saratoga Biathlon Club, Tim Burke