USBA Project X Program
US Biathlon is actively seeking athletes with a record of fast XC skiing (primarily skating) who have not yet experienced Biathlon at a high level. Many of our best performing athletes over the years have grown up competing at a high level in US Skiing Junior Nationals and NCAA skiing, finding Biathlon after wrapping up their NCAA skiing careers.
We would like to introduce more top performing skiers to Biathlon at an earlier point in their skiing careers so they can get a feel for it sooner and determine if it could be fit for them. Biathlon offers a tremendous amount of support to qualified athletes and can provide a very direct way to achieve one's international competition goals, including a chance for Olympic Teams, by already having the ski speed to be internationally competitive.
This program is called Project X and is intended for high level XC racers with a history of top 10 performances at Jr Nationals, NCAA, and U.S. Skiing's SuperTour skate races. Those hitting these standards are automatically qualified for our Project X (Elite Introduction) Camps but should apply as well so we know availability. Other athletes outside this performance standard may apply as well at the link below. All applicants will be reviewed and informed if they are in consideration for opportunities this year.
To apply for Project X Camps and other opportunities to try Biathlon please fill out an application. Feel free to follow up with an email to TID@USBiathlon.org
Top XC Skiers… why give Biathlon a shot?
- U.S. Biathlon is committed to finding fast cross country skiers capable of winning future Biathlon World Cup, World Championship, and Olympic medals and is ready to invest significant financial & human resources to support athletes
- U.S. Biathlon has proven it has the coaching, equipment, and the fast skis necessary to support athletes goals of winning medals (Susan Dunklee, Clare Egan, Lowell Bailey, Tim Burke)
- U.S. Biathlon has increased its Direct Athlete Support & bonus payments to support athletes at the highest level & to motivate new top skiers (details below)
- U.S. Biathlon has proven it can fast-track top skiers (with high level skate results) into international competition within months, and provide direct entry into international competitions
- Very direct pathway to qualify for World Championship & Olympic Teams for fast skiers willing to invest time into the shooting process
- Targeted skiers may be provided invitations to multiple Project X Camps (tentatively June-August, 2023 at the OPTC in Lake Placid) including full summer residency option
- U.S. Biathlon holds National & Development Team camps in Lake Placid during summer and able to incorporate Project X athletes into this environment
- Project X/Intro camps will focus primarily on the shooting process and prioritize athletes maintaining their key XC training plan workouts without interruption
- Additional opportunities during May Bend camp, Summer Jericho & October Utah Camps
- Significant support available (meals, lodging, equipment, stipends, travel funds, etc) for targeted athletes willing to commit to a period of Biathlon training alongside their XC training
- Biathlon permits primary focus on skate skiing for those strong in that discipline
- Highest Direct Athlete Support of any U.S. winter sport NGB ($36k max annually per athlete)
- Bonus payments up to $15,000 annually ($150/per point up to 100 pts at WCH)
- IBU pays prize $ down to 30th place - details here.
- Free Health Insurance for NTeam members (National Team has 3 levels)
- Free room & board at LPOPTC (valued at $90/day) and other high performance training environments may be available at times (Craftsbury & Bozeman)
- Free online classes through Devry, and scholarships at Paul Smiths & MSU
- Exceptional technical & casual attire possible by our sponsor Maloja
- Access to all USOPC resources, including sports med, sports psychology, career transition programs, etc
- Ski techs, based in Europe, with relationships to all the major ski brands to support our athletes equipment needs with the intent to have the best possible skis on the snow
- The sport is growing in popularity & participation around the world - coverage of all races available at https://www.eurovisionsports.tv/ibu/
- Notable Cross Country athletes who have taken to Biathlon quickly include: Denise Herman, Stina Nilson, Anamarija Lampic (2021 World Cup Sprint Champion)
- The sport is growing in the USA, and USOPC is highly motivated to help identify and support top XC ski talent to be introduced the sport