I can see why this is such a popular sport in the world! Bill Moore at the Whistler Olympic Park Biathlon Range was an excellent instructor.
Moore first gave us a lesson in how to cross-country ski. Then, it was a full tutorial on how to safely manage a .22 caliber rifle. The stock is super light-weight and designed to quickly let the athlete unload five shots in 10 to 15 seconds.
While cross country skiing isn't especially challenging, it's the combination of the two sports that creates the challenge.
Athletes master the ability to calm their bodies and heartrates before they transition to shooting. And with the tiny targets 50 meters away, there is literally NO margin for error.
I was huffing and puffing and trying to hit the targets but only got one of five. And my target was smaller than the Olympic level targets. (In all fairness I hit four of five when I wasn't skiing.)
I learned how important it is to be a great shot too. That's because in competition, you get a penalty lap for every target you miss.