Firing Line

A fledgling student biathlon club targets newcomers.

Biathlon has been an on and off recreational club sport at Dartmouth since the 1980s. After a hiatus during Covid, the club has two energetic co-directors, Dirk Andrew ’25 and Laura Wilson ’25, rebuilding interest in and momentum for the winter sport. The pair coaches the club’s two dozen members—mostly guys with little experience—and are training several of the biathletes to become leaders so the club can hold more practices. 

Computer science major Bradley Vogt ’25 likes alternating skiing’s intense cardio with the controlled breathing required to shoot accurately. “I was already friends with these guys. We all just coalesced into it,” he says. 

“They’re so excited,” says Wilson. “They’re learning to roller ski.” And having fun—the club recently held a “pie-athlon” that included skiing, shooting, and lots of pie eating. The group doesn’t have much money to spend: Members shoot at what Wilson calls a “janky” range set up near the organic farm, and the Outing Club supplies rifles, ammo, and free ski rentals—but some of the arms are decades old. The club also subsidizes registration fees for members who compete at the Ethan Allen Biathlon Club in Jericho, Vermont. 

Wilson, who started competing at age 12, says the sport has been likened to running up a few flights of stairs and then trying to thread a needle. “I like the dichotomy of working so hard in this endurance sport, Nordic skiing,” she says, “and then you have to do a complete 180, calm your body, and be fully on target.”                                                                                

 

                     

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