Who wants to try biathlon, should visit Antholz in South Tyrol. I tried the popular sport for two hours with ski instructor Christian Leitgeb.
“Are you a skier?” the smart 45-year-old asked me after the greeting. Since I ski for over 30 years, I nod. “Then I will give you skating skis.” Christian hands me the narrow slats and helps me hooking the special shoes. This is not so easy!
Biathlon at the world cup stadium
My private lesson starts and we enter the Biathlon Stadium of Antholz . There was no snow for a lot of weeks, but the tracks are covered with artificial snow. We walk over to the skiing trail and Christian shows me how I can slide in a classical style with cross-country skis.
But he changes quickly to the skating style; that is much easier for me. So I ski back and forth, always trying different cross-country styles. It works quite well because of my ski experience! Only braking is difficult, because the skis are very narrow and the shoes are only fixed at the front.
Skating and shooting
After half an hour cross-country ski training with intensive use of the poles my arms ache already from the unaccustomed exercise. “Now we will try shooting,” Christian beckons me over to the shooting range. He is not only a ski guide, but also has a gun license and shows me the target. The black discs have a diameter of 11.5 centimeters and are 50 meters away from the shooting location. “When the professionals shoot while lying down, the targets are smaller. But we try even so,” smiles Christian and hands me the small-bore rifle.
The gun is surprisingly heavy with it’s three and a half kilos and the shot dissolves very quickly in spite of 500 grams of counterpressure. I lay down on the mat; the rifle lays on a wooden block for beginners like me. “Now, when you look through the rear sight, the disc must be in the middle of the target ring,” explains my instructor. Said and done, but the shot went wrong. But the second shot is a hit!
Practice creates masters
When standing, shooting is even more difficult. Although my pulse is quiet, I can‘t hold the gun quietly and in the first round I hit only one disk. “The trick is already pulling the trigger when the target ring of the gun is going in the direction of the black disc,” says Christian. I practice on.
The sport is fun and Christian reloads the gun with five more shots. After that we ski with the yet learned skating style back to the entrance. Of course, not without a photo to remember the great lesson.
Holidays at Plan de Corones
Antholz is located in the holiday region Plan de Corones, which is named after the big ski mountain between Bruneck and Olang. 116 kilometers of slopes of all levels of difficulty can be completely covered with artificial snow when needed. The popular meeting place is the Concordia bell at the top of the hill. It rings every day at 12 o’ clock. Also worth seeing is the sixth Messner Mountain Museum next to the huge bell with its unique architecture and panoramic views.
You will find further information at www.kronplatz.com.
The biathlon lesson is offered at: : www.skischule-antholz.it.
Note: This trip was supported by the tourism office of Plan de Corones. The report is intended solely as our own opinion.