Winter Olympics geeks relish the biathlon, the somewhat random– but oddly appealing–  combination of cross-country skiing and rifle shooting. The new Powdr Shot race series gives trail runners and mountain bikers from across the country an opportunity to try a summer variation. Six events in July, August and September will be hosted by ski resorts owned by Powdr Corp.:  Killington, Park City, Mt. Bachelor, Copper Mountain, and Boreal.

Each of the weekend events includes trail running and shooting races on Saturday, then mountain biking and shooting races on Sunday. In the original winter biathlon inspired by military training, the skiers carry their rifles on the course, but the provided rifles stay at the shooting range in the Powdr Shot races.


Athletes in the powdr shot biathlon bike, run, and shoot.

Photo credit: Euclid Outdoors

The trail-run biathlon consists of laps on a 1K loop with five target shots using an air rifle after each lap. The mountain-biking biathlon works in the same fashion with each lap stretching about 2 miles. In both cases, competitors must make a much shorter penalty lap for each missed shot before going on to the next full lap.

“We didn’t want to have a climb right before you shoot, so the climb is in early stages of the bike ride and the downhill portion will come back into the shooting range,” said Jeff Alexander, events and sponsorships manager at Killington. “Obviously, you’ll still have a pretty good heart rate coming down the downhill section, but it alleviates some of that.”


A runner participates in the powdr shot biathlon.

Photo Credit: Euclid Outdoors

Ranging from three to five laps for both the running and biking versions, the number of full laps depends on the ability division. “The experts take five laps and will finish in about an hour. The intermediates take four laps and it’ll probably be about the same time,” said race-series director Tyson Apostol. “It is all based on fitness level, more than marksmanship skill which is going to be new for so many people. With more fitness, you can control your breathing more and not be breathing so hard that you can’t get a straight shot off.”


Bikers race down the mountain in the powdr shot biatholon.

Photo Credit: Euclid Outdoors

For newbies to air-rifle shooting, the range will be open before the races for practice. Plus, everyone must go through a rifle safety briefing right before competing.

The proceeds from the events will be earmarked by Powdr Corp. for the company’s environmental efforts such as ski-area forest management. “We hope to have an event that’ll bring people in to enjoy the forests and use the funds to maintain that forest health,” said Brent Giles, chief sustainability officer for Powdr Corp. “At Park City Mountain Resort, we’ve had foresters in and they say what this forest could benefit from most is to be thinned, so all of the trees aren’t competing for the same resources. Will it improve skiing too? Absolutely, it’s a win-win all the way around.”


A contestant shoots after biking in the powdr shot biathlon.

Photo Credit: Euclid Outdoors

2013 Powdr Shot Series

July 13-14       Killington, Vermont

July 20-21       Park City, Utah (Gorgoza Park)

July 27-28       Mt. Bachelor, Oregon

Aug. 24-25      Copper Mountain, Colorado

Sept. 7-8         Boreal, California

Sept. 21-22     National Championship: Park City, Utah (Gorgoza Park)

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