Do-it-Yourself Olympic Winter Sports
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Biathlon at Lake Tahoe, California
Sporting chance: Imagine sprinting up ten flights of stairs, then immediately threading a needle. If you miss, you run up extra stairs. That's sort of how it feels to compete in biathlon, a sport where cross-country skiers ramp up their heart rates during all-out races, then attempt to slow their pulses enough to shoot a target 25 yards away with a .22 caliber rifle. To test your endurance and marksmanship, head to Northstar-at-Tahoe. The ski resort's biathlon range (the only one on the West Coast), offers clinics in the sport as well as private lessons taught by Olympian Glenn Jobe. If the morning of firing and skiing doesn't make your heart pound enough, the views of surrounding Lake Tahoe will.
Training tip: Get to know your VO2 max through endurance efforts. Long dominated by Europeans, biathlon has a new World Cup leader in American Tim Burke, who spends the off-season on four-and-a-half-hour bike rides and three-hour runs.
Learning curve: Very steep. Acquiring the lungs of Lance Armstrong and the marksmanship of a sniper takes time.
Northstar offers biathlon lessons for $299 for the first person and $50 for each additional person.