Mon 15 Feb 2010 13:50 GMT
Yesterday the cross country ski centre on the Col d'Ornon hosted an introduction to biathlon.
This is a sport that we have been keen to have a go at ever since we started cross country ski-ing. What could be more fun than the combination of ski-ing and guns?!
The taster day yesterday was a very toned down version of the biathlon that we have been watching at the winter Olympics; for a start our guns had no live ammunition but lasers. Also, to avoid accidents we neither wore our skis when shooting (apparently harder than it looks) nor carried the guns around the little 600m loop that they had set up for us to ski on.
One thing that I have often thought looked hard is holding the gun steady having just stopped ski-ing, to calm your breathing and heart rate so as not to disrupt your aim. I found it really difficult and having skied was a lot less accurate than when shooting 'fresh'. A couple of our neighbours who were there turned out to be naturals with the gun (note to self never to mess with them!!).
At the end of the day we split into 10 teams of 2 and lined up for a relay biathlon race. Guy skied and I did the shooting. 3 x 600m laps for Guy and 2 sets of 5 targets for me. To be fair, Guy is a much better shot than me but he's also quicker on the skis too! It was all very light hearted and there was a great atmosphere - one team of two had been passing by and wanted to join in but had no skis with them, instead they ran the course - in moon boots!!
I shall be watching the biathlon this evening to see how easy the pros make it all look - not a pair of moon boots in sight I'm sure!