NORWAY — The Western Foothills Land Trust has received a donation of air rifles for its winter biathlons and off-season biathlon training and is now looking at organizing a biathlon club.

According to information from Lee Dassler of the trust, Paul Brooks of Woodman’s Sporting Goods in Norway donated five basic air rifles to the trust after being asked by trust officials for advice and help regarding the purchase of air rifles.

The trust is now looking at organizing a biathlon club in Oxford Hills and to fund the purchase of five air-rifle cases and five biathlon targets for air rifles. The cost is approximately $800, Dassler said. The trust intends to add in some dry-land biathlon training programs at Roberts Farm Preserve this fall.

The Southern Maine Biathlon Club has come to Roberts Farm Preserve with their equipment in past years to encourage the sport here, Dassler said.

The biathlon, which is a popular sport in Maine with an international competition facility at the Maine Winter Sports Center in Fort Kent, combines the rigors of Nordic skiing with the precision of target shooting.

While the trust canceled two biathlons last winter due to poor conditions, a surprise late-season event was held on March 23 using borrowed air rifles and biathlon targets. Competitors skied three 1K or 2K loops at the preserve, interspersing recumbent target shooting between each loop. Penalty laps were earned for every target missed.

Anyone interested in joining a local biathlon club or just trying out the sport on land or on snow should contact Lee Dassler at 207-739-2124, [email protected]

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