How do I get started in biathlon?
Getting started in biathlon starts with fitness and a US Biathlon Association (USBA) Safety Class. WBA offers the USBA safety class (at no cost) before any Saturday Winter Competition, most Summer Competitions, and during the All-Day Intro Clinics offered in January at Stevens Pass Nordic Center (SPNC) and in May at the Seattle Police Athletic Association (SPAA) in Tukwila. Once you have the safety class you are eligible to participate in any biathlon competition (summer and winter).
If you are new to skiing, we recommend taking the Spring Intro Clinic to learn the basics of range procedure and rifle safety. Once you understand the shooting aspect, it will be easier to add the skis and snow to the equation. It is not realistic to try to compete in winter biathlon without some skiing experience.
Is there an age limit?
The minimum age to become involved in biathlon with the Washington Biathlon Association is eight years old. There is no upper age limit. The WBA has a significant group of 60s+ competitors and we have seen races where there were biathletes in their 80s competing.
What is the difference between Winter and Summer?
Winter Biathlon consists of skate skiing and marksmanship and all age eligible athletes carry their own rifle. Summer WBA Biathlon competitions are either running/marksmanship or mountain bike/marksmanship. During the summer competitions, rifles stay on a rack at the range to be carried to the mats for the shooting bout.
What type of rifle is used?
.22 caliber rifles are used (typically Izhmash or Anschutz). Rifles are specific to biathlon, although some standard bolt-action rifles may be used with approval.
Do I have to buy a rifle?
WBA does have club rifles that may be used for competitions and clinics.
Where do I get ammo?
Standard velocity .22 ammunition is used in biathlon with 40 grain soft lead bullets. Ammo may be purchased through many sporting goods stores or you may purchase up to two boxes (box = 50 rounds) at any WBA competition. All ammo must be approved by WBA before use.
Do I have to be a member of WBA or USBA to participate?
You are not required to be a member of WBA to participate, but membership supports the sport in the state of Washington. If you plan on multiple races throughout the year, the membership benefit discounts will more than pay for the annual fee.
USBA membership is required and daily dues are included in daily race fees. If you become an annual USBA member, not only do you support the national governing organization, you will receive a $20/day discount on registration fees. For more information: USBA
How to do register for a WBA competition?
Check our calendar for scheduled events. All WBA registrations are offered at Webscorer
**Pre-registration is required. Please note, that our winter range is a 3km ski (mostly uphill) from the Stevens Pass Nordic Center, skiing ability is a necessity. There is a warming hut and outhouse, but no services are available. **