A total of 33 competitors gathered at the Bulkley Valley Nordic Centre on Jan. 2 for the Bulkley Valley Biathlon Regional Open. Conditions were just about perfect, according to B.V. Biathlon head coach Jill O’Neill. The temperature of -6º C was cool enough for good snow, but warm enough to shoot.
Competitors came from Smithers, Terrace, Burns Lake and Vanderhoof for the second year of the competition. Scores were based on skiing lap times, with penalties for missed targets.
“What makes biathlon a challenge is that you have to get your heart rate and breathing under control enough to shoot,” said O’Neill.
Category winners included B.V. Biathlon’s Liam Tweedie in the Midget (10 and under) category, finishing in a combined time of 17:11.8. Amanda Wilson, also local, won the Juvenile (11-12 years old) category, with a combined time of 21:18.4. In the Junior Girls (13-14), Omenica Ski Club’s Emily Dickson finished first with 30:02.2. B.V.’s Angus Tweedle finished first in the Junior Boys in 30:23.1. At the Senior level (15-16), Leah Forsdick of the Nechako Nordics took first place on the girls side with 44:38.0, while Omenica’s Nicholas Brochez finished first in the boys race in 41:18.1. In the Youth Men category (age 17-18) Nechako’s Van Kingsley took the top spot with a time of 48:52.1.
In the Para Nordic category, Jody Barber won for B.V. with 37:49.1. In the Recreational category, B.V.’s Alex Woods won in 39:03.3. The top female Rec finisher was Heidi Siebring from Biathlon Terrace, finishing in fourth overall with a time of 58:16.0. In the Masters category, B.V.’s Bryan Swansburg took first place, finishing with a time of 44:51.8 after hitting 19 of 20 targets.
O’Neill said race organizers are trying to make the Bulkley Valley Regional into an annual event.
“The goal is to develop some regional races so the kids don’t have to travel so far,” she said.