Auburn Ski Club biathlete named to elite U.S. team | SierraSun.com

Auburn Ski Club biathlete named to elite U.S. team

Special to the Sun

Thanks to athletes like Patrick Johnson, the Auburn Ski Club is quickly gaining traction as a world-class biathlon training and racing venue.

The United States Biathlon Association named the 25-year-old Auburn Ski Club senior athlete to the U.S. International Biathlon Union (IBU) Cup Biathlon Team.

Johnson, who has lived and trained in Truckee the past two years, will compete in the IBU Cup races in Canmore, Alberta, Canada, Feb. 27 to March 7.

Johnson qualified for the team by winning the most recent Biathlon NorAm Cup race — a 12-kilometer pursuit race with four shooting stages — in Lake Placid, N.Y., on Feb. 14.

An accomplished collegiate cross-country skier, Johnson started training full-time for biathlon in the spring of 2014 at the Auburn Ski Club (ASC) Training Center.

"It is amazing to see how successful Patrick has been in biathlon in such a very short time," said Johnson's coach, Olympic biathlete Glenn Jobe. "He's a great skier, and in just one season Patrick has gained the shooting skills to compete with the best in the country."

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The U.S. Biathlon World Championship team consists of four men and four women, while the IBU Cup Team — the next level below the World Championship Team — consists of five men and three women.

The ASC biathlon program has produced lofty results this year, after only three years of a year-round training program.

In addition to Johnson, 17-year-old Sam Zabell qualified for the Youth/Junior World Championship Team in December and is in Minsk, Belarus, this week competing in the Biathlon Youth/Junior World Championships.

The Auburn Ski Club Biathlon Program is open to all athletes ages 10 and older, and both winter and summer programs are available.

ASC will host the 2015 USBA Biathlon National Championships from March 19-22, and the 2015 USSA Cross-Country Junior National Championships March 7-14. Both events will attract the best biathlon and junior Nordic skiers in the country.

For more information about the IBU Cup races, go to canmorebiathlon.ca. Find more information about the Auburn Ski Club programs at auburnskiclub.com.