The skiing and biathlon season is coming to an end. Hay River athletes participated in the last Polar Cup race of the year in Yellowknife earlier this month. But, the team is already anticipating a summer of training.
“I’d like to be doing a bit more cross-country training in the warm weather,” said coach Robert Plamondon, adding that with a team growing increasingly competitive, the next step will be to keep the momentum going during the off-season.
The club boasted 18 athletes this past season, the most it has ever had, according to Plamondon. He said, however, the organization is expecting to expand even further next year to about 25 athletes, many of them quite young.
“It’s going to mean we need a lot more adults,” he said, though he wasn’t worried, as biathlon parents are required to stay with their children for the duration of the practice and then become volunteer officials for the races.
“It’s all the planning that can be long, but the best part is just getting out to races and doing it.”
Plamondon said the year had been a tough one, with many races cancelled as a result of the cold weather. He said it was frustrating for kids and parents who wanted to get out and compete, but couldn’t for much of the season. Still, reflecting upon their season as a whole, the kids didn’t seem to mind.
“It was good, I’m happy with how it went,” said Seth Patterson. “I met new friends, skied well and there was lots of competition.”
Seth’s sister Tanielle Patterson agreed, saying that this was her first year shooting on the small targets and that the competition – particularly at the last Polar Cup – had been fierce.
Jack Coombs, just completing his first biathlon season, said it had been an awesome experience.
“It was fun to get to know the people I’ll be competing against, hopefully for a while,” he said. “And I saw a bunch of friends from other sports so that was pretty good.”
Coombs, who started the season being able to hit an average of three out of 10 targets, finished the Polar Cup in Yellowknife with a perfect 10 out of 10.
Davida Patterson, however, spent half the season injured and volunteered as an official at the last race. She said it wasn’t the greatest way to end a season, but was hopeful for next season.
“Mostly I just want to be on skis again,” she said.