Lot’s of Snow, Sun, and Fun at GNA’s Annual Biathlon
February 19, 2017
Gilford, NH – February 19, 2017 – Gunstock Nordic Association – On the heels of the 2 historic medals by Lowell Bailey (gold) and Susan Dunklee (silver) at the 2017 Biathlon World Championships, GNA held its annual grassroots paintball biathlon. The buzz from American biathletes’ recent successes was palpable—competitors were ready and excited to give their best shot at the race.
56 skiers and future biathletes from all over New England took part in the event. Competitors were rewarded with 52°F weather and trail conditions that were surprisingly good thanks to the efforts of the grooming crew from Gunstock Mountain Resort. The biathlon range was set up like a mini World Championship biathlon stadium lined with international flags and featured a modified shooting range to accommodate the Tippmann paintball guns. For many participants, this was their first try at the sport of biathlon. Paintball biathlon combines the sports of Nordic skiing and target shooting, using paintball guns instead of the traditional fire-powered target rifles.
The format for GNA’s biathlon was an individual start where competitors start at 15-second intervals and are timed on a multi-lap course. Depending upon the age of the competitor, each raced 3 laps on courses that ranged from 500 meters up to 2.4 kms in length. After each lap, each competitor would enter the shooting range for 5 opportunities to earn 10-second time deductions for each target hit.
The ages of the biathletes ranged from NENSA Bill Koch League skiers (youngest at age 6) to seasoned master skiers (oldest at age 68).
Winners of each category are as follows:
Grades 1–2 – Mathew Northcott, Putney Ski Club
Grades 3–4 Girls – Reid Donovan, Holderness Bill Koch
Grades 3–4 Boys – Fitz Courtney, EMBK
Grades 5–6 Girls – Poppy Lord, Agamenticus Ski Club
Grades 5–6 Boys – David Northcutt, Putney Ski Club
Grades 7–8 Girls – Katie Watt
Grades 7–8 Boys – Henry Lord, Agamenticus Ski Club
U16 Girls – Alexandra Paluszek, Gunstock Nordic Association
U18 Women – Sohani Damien, Bow High School
U18 Men – Sander Valpey, Gunstock Nordic Association
U20 Women – Mary Kretchmer, Gunstock Nordic Association
U20 Men – Jamie Nelson, UNH Nordic Ski Club
U23 Men – Nick Namie
U23 Women – Ellen Ross, UNH Nordic Ski Club
Master’s Women M2 – Suzanne Wenger
Master’s Women M3 – Ronda Fernald, Gilford
Master’s M2 – Kevin Johnson
Master’s M4 – Jeff Palleiko, Gunstock Nordic Association
Master’s M5 – Chris Namie, Bow Nordic
Master’s M6 – David Paluszek, Gunstock Nordic Association
Master’s M8 – Thomas Smart, Gunstock Nordic Association
GNA would like to thank all participants and all the volunteers who helped make the event happen. Additionally we’d like to thank GNA members for providing the post-race buffet and for their donations to the raffle.
A group shot of Bill Koch aged skiers
Each Bill Koch aged skier was coached on how to use the paintball rifle
Bill Koch aged skiers were lead around the track by a one of the older GNA junior skiers.
GNA skiers Mark Young, Sander, and Seth Valpey continue the tradition of wearing whimsical outfits for the race
Alex Paluszek is ready for her race
Bill Koch skiers finishing strong
Another Bill Koch skier showing a fast finish
An Agamenticus Ski Club skier leaving the range
Mary Krecthmer winning the U20 category
Catherine Stow at the finish – 2nd place, grades 7–8
All images are courtesy of Eileen Paluszek.
Click here to view a full gallery of the event »