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How about testing biathlon this winter?


The biathlon benefits from the growing popularity of Nordic skiing and good exposure on television. Many resorts now offer an introduction to this discipline combining cross-country skiing and shooting.

The sound of bullets dropping targets, a rifle that you put behind your back before spinning on skis between the fir trees.

Behind their screens, many French people devour the biathlon competitions led by our national champions who, from Florence Baverel-Robert to Martin Fourcade yesterday, to Fillon-Maillet or Jacquelin today, popularize this discipline.

Because from the fantasy of the sofa to reality, there is only one step.

Because now, most French Nordic resorts offer access to biathlon initiations.

“We have 190 Nordic ski schools in France

,” summarizes Alain Etievent, referent for these disciplines at the national union of ski instructors.

In 2019, 74 offered a biathlon progression.


Since 2013, the biathlon has been an integral part of the Nordic ski instructor's state diploma.

It was on this same date that the World Cup, after a hiatus of 12 years, reappeared on French soil in Grand-Bornand (Haute-Savoie).

From 23,000 spectators for this return in 2013, the Aravis resort brought together more than 60,000 people over four days of competition last December.

A passion for the discipline which is also reflected in the field with a sharp increase in the number of introductory courses.

Read alsoCross-country skiing: our 10 favorite resorts in France

Full-time monitors


Until 2019, during the World Cup, biathlon initiations were taken by storm

," says Yannick Aujouannet, secretary general of the organizing committee of the Annecy Biathlon World Cup - Le Grand Bornand.

There has been a slowdown since, but because many spectators have tried elsewhere


And to clarify:

“In Grand-Bornand, in the past, we had an instructor who worked four half-days for biathlon initiations.

There are now two full-time monitors…”

The leisure offer is now structured in many ESF and resort operators.


The situation in Grand-Bornand is not an isolated case.

The craze for the discipline has spread to all the French massifs.

And to meet demand, the offer has been structured.

"Today, you have laser shooting at 10 m to start and learn about security issues

," recalls Alain Etievent.

We then move on to shooting with pellets and always at 10 m to switch, when possible, to shooting at 50 m with .22 long rifles as in the World Cup”


The idea is to have an evolving offer

, testifies Stéphane Grosset, a former biathlete and who manages the Club Alpinium structure.

We were able to benefit from a lot of work on the equipment which facilitated access to the greatest number and especially in conditions close to what we find on the World Cup and this even on shooting at 10 m with air rifles.

There really is the possibility for everyone to identify with what we see on television.


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With or without support

Biathlon remains the combination of two disciplines: cross-country skiing and shooting.

If shooting is more affordable than cross-country skiing, the level on the skis is not discriminatory.

“It's really an offer in its own right

, says Alain Etievent.

Biathlon is the practice of both disciplines and during an initiation you learn to shoot as well as to ski”


A beginner skier can, in fact, today access an initiation with shooting at 50 m.

"We can provide people with real biathlon emotions

," explains Nicolas Terminer of Altitude Biathlon.

We offer initiations with 22 long rifle shooting like World Cup athletes.

The difference is that it is suitable.

They can shoot with support or without support


And to specify:

“You can be a beginner on skis.

As a professional, we judge on the spot whether it will be possible for them to carry the rifle or not.

The purpose remains that they can wear it.

Afterwards it's like a ski lesson, you learn and you progress on the track and behind the rifle.

It is a unique experience.


In the majority of ski resorts, it is now possible to test shooting at 10 m.

In some, shooting at 50 m, as in the World Cup, is possible both in summer (rollerskiing, mountain biking, running) and in winter (cross-country skiing).

These are the following sites: Contamines-Montjoie (Haute-Savoie), Féclaz, Bessans, Peisey-Nancroix (Savoie), Corrençon-en-Vercors, Col de Porte (Isère), Vassieux-en-Vercors (Drôme), Font-Romeu (Pyrenees), Arçon, Les Rousses (Jura Mountains), Plan d'Hotonnes (Ain).


Shooting at 10 m is practiced with a pellet or compressed air rifle from the age of 8 years.

22 Long Rifle shooting, as in the World Cup, is accessible from the age of 15.



Prices start around €45

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2023-02-23

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