BC Winter Games are springboard for nationals, worlds

BC Winter Games offer an invaluable experience for young athletes, says Vanderhoof biathlon coach Paul Collard.

The 2012 BC Winter Games offer an invaluable experience for young athletes, says Vanderhoof biathlon coach Paul Collard.

“It’s a very important development step for them because it’s the first multi-sport competition for most young athletes,” the head of the Nechako Valley Sporting Association said.

Collard explains that multi-sport events like the BC Winter Games give athletes a whole different experience.

“It’s just a completely different feeling than being at a single sport competition,” Collard said.

B.C. is lucky to have a number of these high level contests, to offer young athletes the experience needed to springboard them onto national and international multi-sport competitions.

“We get them started with the Northern Games,” Collard explained, “then the BC Winter Games, Canada Games, then World Youth and now, initiated just this year, the Junior Winter Olympics.”

The Nechako Valley area had an experienced BC Winter Games competitor hit the junior world stage this year, since Sarah Beaudry was racing in the Junior Winter Olympics in Innsbruck Austria a couple of weeks ago. Last year she took a gold at the Canada Winter Games.

Beaudry trains with the Caledonia Nordic Ski Club in Prince George for biathlon.

There’s many similarities between skiing style for cross country and biathlon (biathlon, if you weren’t aware, incorporates target shooting as well as racing.)

Collard explained that the biathlon and cross country skiers train together at the club level, but they have different organizations representing their sport.