Steamboat parents take first steps for bringing biathlon to town |

Steamboat parents take first steps for bringing biathlon to town

Steamboat athlete Davis Brosterhous shoots at targets while training for biathlon in Casper, Wyoming. Brosterhous' mom, Erin, and several other local parents are working to start a biathlon club in Steamboat Springs in hopes of growing the sport locally.
Erin Brosterhous/Courtesy photo

Despite 33 medal opportunities, no American has ever stepped on the podium for biathlon in the Winter Olympic Games.

In fact, biathlon is the only sport in all 15 Winter Olympic disciplines for which Team U.S.A. has yet to medal in. In hopes of changing that history, a group of Steamboat parents are searching for ways to start up a local biathlon club for their young athletes. 

Youth interest has picked up with nine Steamboat athletes pursuing biathlon in various capacities while having to travel several hours to compete and train. These athletes go anywhere from Casper, Wyoming, to the Colorado Biathlon Club in Granby for training, but they struggle to progress quickly without a local option. 

Parents like Erin Brosterhous, whose daughter competes in biathlon events, are looking for ways to get a club started, but it is a lot easier said than done. 

“This group is actively needing to look at ways to organize, whether it’s their own club or looking for partnerships with established clubs,” Brosterhous said. “Secondary to that is looking at where they train.”

Brosterhous said parents have been trying to bring biathlon to Steamboat for over two decades and this is nothing new. She said every attempt brings up the same issues — finding land, partnering with other entities and fundraising. 

The Routt County Rifle Club has converted one of its pistol bays to a covered structure where athletes can lay down and shoot at a level target 50 meters away. Steamboat’s athletes can utilize this to train for shooting and can cross country ski in various places around the city, but they do not yet have the ability to do both at the same time. 

“It makes a ton of sense that Steamboat should have biathlon,” Brosterhous said. “When you look across the country, we are the No. 1 developers of winter sport athletes.”

Seven Steamboat athletes traveled to Park City and competed in biathlon events in January. From left: Conor Devin, Bode Rhodes, Davis Brosterhous, Sawyer Landers, Charlie Wiedel and Annika Wiedel were some Steamboat athletes to compete.
Erin Brosterhous/Courtesy photo

To help the effort in Steamboat, John Farra of the United States Biathlon Association came to Steamboat to encourage young athletes to give biathlon a try and discuss some of the challenges and potential solutions for getting a biathlon team started. 

Farra acts as the USBA’s director of sport development, and his mission is to travel across the country and spread excitement for the sport. 

“The challenge is you have these towns all over the country that have hundreds of cross country skiers, and a lot of them don’t actually figure out how to connect with biathlon,” Farra said.

To assist in Farra’s mission, the International Biathlon Union gave Farra and the USBA a grant for electronic rifles that can be quickly, safely and easily used by athletes interested in trying out the sport. He used the electronic rifles with Steamboat athletes on his visit and left some so the athletes can continue training.

Farra said that in his travels, he has seen countless young athletes take to biathlon in an enthusiastic way. Though just getting started, he sees a bright future for the sport and anticipates an Olympic medal is soon to come for the U.S.

“My phone is ringing, and that means there is interest and there is excitement out there,” Farra said.

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