This is the first of two pages of pictures taken at the World Cups held in Soldier Hollow near Midway, Utah. This page could take several minutes to load if your net connection is bandwidth challenged. Click on any picture to see a full-sized version.
I attended this event as a volunteer - for those of us who are volunteering to work at the Winter Olympic Games in 2002, this was a mandatory training event, since the format and course used are supposed to match what will be used next year for Olympic competition.
I was fortunate enough to be assigned to the trail maintenance crew. I say fortunate, because we had the priviledge of working with and for a great group of people (which is not to say the other volunteers didn't!). We also had a reason to ski the course every day. And since we needed to be monitoring the trails during races, we had just about the best viewing spots in the house for the competitions. I had a blast!
The course loops were pretty tough - except for the stadium/shooting range area, there is no place where the course is flat for any distance. The venue is also at roughly 5,000 feet elevation - the maximum allowed by International Biathlon Union rules for competition. On the plus side however, the groomers did a great job of managing what snow there was, (note in some of the pictures there is hardly any snow off the trail!), it was very well marked (of course!), and the weather was relatively cool on the days the races were run. This made for some of the fastest snow I've skiied on. It was also a pretty forgiving course - no ice, and no crash hazards.
Of course, tough and fast are relative terms. It was impressive watching the Olympic caliber athletes ski. Hills that these men and woman were (effortlessly???!) cruising up using V2 or V2 alternate just knocked the wind out of me. And one of the athletes was complaining the course was too easy. Ha! Maybe for him...
The following pictures were taken with a Nikon digital camera. I actually have a bunch more that I have not had a chance to download, since I have been on travel more than I've been home so far this year. Considering how well rated this camera is, I was mildly disappointed with the quality of some of the shots - especially in terms of focus and composition. The latter problem has to do with the lag time between pulling the trigger, and when the camera actually takes the shot. Not to mention battery usage. I didn't catch most of the womans events because the batteries never lasted that long.
|Volunteer registration||Lyle's Pep Talk||Trail Maintenance Bosses|
|Early morning||Laying down V-block||Athletes unofficial practice|
|Range facilities||Prone practice||More Offhand|
|More practice||Standing shooters||Three shooters|
|Which ski to use...||Neat hit indicator||Working fence line|
|Race day - stadium||Waiting for start||Jay Hakkinen|
|More starters||Sergei Rozhkov||Robert Rosser|