Easily put, this is the most asked question, other than “Is biathlon the one where you run, bike and swim”? Which the answer is no, its where you ski and shoot. Then comes the often heard, “How did you ever get into that”?
This isn’t an easy answer either.
It all starts in 2012 when I was peer pressured into joining cadets. I never really saw myself as an army guy, but the adventures that cadets were sharing got me interested. In cadets they had a biathlon program run by Capt. Strom. He gave out the invitation to try out biathlon in the weeks leading to the winter of 2012. I was not interested.
About 2 or 3 weeks after my brother, Joshua, who is into figure skating, had an evening they like to call the Family Skate. Essentially for the first hour of his practice, every skater can bring their family on the ice and just have some fun skating around. I’d grown up on skating playing shinney at the local outdoor rink with my friend Jed Maki. So I naturally knew how to skate, and had a blast out on the ice that night. At one point I found myself power skating around, little did I know, there was someone there watching me.
After the families were kicked off the ice, we stuck around for the rest of Joshua’s practice. About 15 minutes into his practice, Capt. Strom from cadets approaches me and comments on my skating ability. His daughter was also out on the ice, and during the family skate he noticed that I have a pretty powerful legs, and can propel myself rather quickly. He suggested I come out to ski practice on Saturday with cadets and give skiing a try, as it is a very similar striding pattern. He mentioned that all the gear would be free, and I just needed to get there.
So Saturday arrived, and here I was at Arrowhead Provincial Park, skiing for the first time. After the practice I couldn’t shut up about how much fun it was, and how difficult it was.
As for the shooting part of biathlon, I had always been around guns, I had my own BB gun when I was young, and shot .22’s with dad. Cadets also had an air rifle section where the competition was just shooting, it was because of this that I learned all the precision skills which I still use to this day to perfect my shooting.
Cadets is the reason that I got into this sport, and now I’ve grown so much from then. I can’t thank the program enough for letting me find my passion.