If the 2010 Olympics leave you hankering to ski with a gun strapped to your back, look no further than Soldier Hollow in Midway, Utah. The site is home of the 2002 Winter Games Nordic events as well as the training ground for future Olympians and those just looking for a taste of the sport. Anyone can sign up for the "Biathlon Experience" and now, you don't have to drive home after your exhausting day of skating and shooting. The new Bed, Biathlon and Breakfast package from Midway's Blue Boar Inn combines plush accommodations with the opportunity to try one of the least accessible Olympic sports in the world.
Biathlon combines cross country skiing with precision target shooting so it's not like you're going to get after it every winter. Unless you live in Utah. Biathlon, which means dual event, sprouted in Scandinavia and Finland where it evolved from training games used for military patrols back in the 1700s. You can access this Utah course in just 20-minutes from Park City and you'll soon find new respect for the athletes who wield the strength, speed, endurance, and concentration to compete professionally.
Coaches place a rifle in your hands, 10 clips of five shots each, and provide range instruction and practice. After, there's a "mini' fun competition, where you will ski or snowshoe, then try to shoot. Think you can hit the target now? While shooting at the Olympic range, everyone wears a bib that was actually won during the 2002 Olympic games. The experience ends on the biathlon Official Awards Podium where everyone is awarded a certificate.
The experience is open to anyone older than 6, with prices starting at $29 for the one-hour 'Bronze level' (instruction, ammunition and German air rifle use at the Paralympic range, mini competition, photo ops, and certificates), up to $129 for the 'Gold' level (two-hour use of Olympic (22 cal.) rifles with safety clinic on the full Olympic Range).
Biathlon package prices start from $313 per night for two people.
Soldier Hollow or call 435- 654-2002.
Blue Boar Inn or call 888- 650-1400.