Senior National Team Kicks Off Training Season with Team Camp in Bend

by Sara Donatello

Ten of the 12 athletes from the recently announced U.S. Biathlon Senior National Team attended the first training camp of the season in Bend, Oregon May 6 through 16.

The athletes in attendance were excited to start the training season with some fantastic spring skiing before transitioning to rollerskis. Bend provided great weather for the team, and the staff at Mt. Bachelor worked their magic on the trails, resulting in solid skiing for the group.

“Bend camp was a culmination of a lot of quality training, great snow conditions, and fun times with teammates,” said Grace Castonguay, who recently celebrated her graduation from Saint Michael’s College on the trails of Mt. Bachelor. “Mt. Bachelor does a wonderful job of keeping their trails in top shape each day for our training sessions, and it’s so fun to experience the warm weather and sunshine while skiing on snow!”

Head Coach Armin Auchentaller noted, “We’ve had excellent skiing every morning at Mt. Bachelor, with almost six feet of snow. In the afternoons, the team has been running, mountain biking, strength training at Mt. Bachelor Sports Education Foundation’s (MBSEF) Bill Healy Training Center and doing individual scatt training to improve shooting technique. Biathlon Canada also joined us for many workouts too, so it was the perfect way to kick off the season. Thank you to Mt. Bachelor and MBSEF for your support, and to Oregon Nordic Ski Federation for providing a grant that allowed us to bring a dedicated massage therapist to this camp!”      

The U.S. Biathlon Team collaborated with both Biathlon Canada and the Stifel U.S. Cross Country Ski Team for both on-snow and dry land training sessions. Both U.S. teams also took part in a local community meet and greet organized by the Oregon Nordic Ski Foundation, engaging in a Q & A and fun games with the kids. 

“Camp was a great way to get back into training - with beautiful sunny weather for skiing, seeing friends again after the April break, and easy afternoon training on smooth trails for running and biking,” said Margie Freed. “It was nice to have a smaller group for more direct coaching and easier organization, but I’m looking forward to having a much bigger and diverse group to be training with in Lake Placid!”

“I love this camp as a way to jump start the new year of training,” added Castonguay. “It’s so easy to get lots of training hours in, and a great way to feel locked in and motivated for the summer ahead.” 

Team members now head back to their home programs to continue training before the June team camp in Lake Placid, beginning on June 3, which will feature the Senior National Team, National Development Group, X Team and Junior National Team training together for two weeks.