Shooting in lying position | © Gesa Temmen
  • Outdoors

Cross-country skiing & biathlon - a self-test review

Trending Nordic sports bring moments full of joy

My steps are getting bigger. I'm not running any more, no – I'm floating! With a single step, I glide several metres, and it feels as if I could go to the end of the world. It is this surreal perception when cross-country skiing that you think the whole world around you is at a standstill. There is only you and the motion. But the feeling of happiness is abruptly interrupted by absolute exhaustion. Should I stop? I pause briefly and collect my energy to start one last time. Hello, my name is Gesa and cross-country skiing releases my feel-good hormones!

Cross-country skiing is boring? I used to think this way myself as a travel blogger and #MunichMountainGirl Gesa Temmen. But a visit to the Nordic Academy changed everything. I am very happy to have tried cross-country skiing! Don´t get me wrong: I had the rock-solid conviction that cross-country skiing would be dull to me! I could not imagine anything more boring than having to watch cross-country skiing on TV! Let alone biathlon. Would I ever try this sport myself? No way!

Get out of the comfort zone and into the cross-country ski trail

But for the #StoryBase2017, I let myself be persuaded. Try something new. Get out of the comfort zone, and so on. Before I realise, I am standing on 5 cm narrow skis. On SKIS! Me, who is usually only on a snowboard. On skis, I am an uncontrolled bunch of misery...! So I stand there like a fish out of water and have no idea how to coordinate my limbs. What to do with the poles? "Hello, we are the bloggers. We’re actually only here to take a quick photo of cross-country skiing. Ten minutes?" I hear myself say.


My wish is not heard. "It would be ridiculous if we could not inspire them for cross-country skiing," the biathlon teacher is probably thinking. He is right! Somebody who teaches a sport with such enthusiasm and passion can only win. A few instructions later, I have the rhythm of cross-country skiing almost flowing through my veins. I am a natural, my teacher shouts my way. But I almost don’t hear him anymore. I know how the motion is supposed to look like. I know how I should move, and I feel how I am gliding along. Am I flying already?

***** error-free

Surrounded by the mountain panorama, we make our rounds in a beautiful setting. I can understand what type of euphoria such skiing can cause and slowly start to understand the athletes from the TV. Towards the end of the lesson, we get an insight into shooting. We do this with an air pressure gun and lead shells. In real competitions, the athletes use small bore rifles. With the skis still strapped on, we lay belly down on the ground and aim at tiny black dots on the wall in front of us. 1 ..., 2 ..., 3 ..., shoot. 1 ..., 2 ..., 3 ..., shoot. Again and again. You have to do so five times and every time you are supposed to hit the bullseye without fail. Biathlon requires endurance and full concentration. Whoever steps from the sprint to the shooting range and sways from exhaustion will miss the target! At our practice, the discs are not even ten metres away. But in a proper competition for professionals, the discs are located 50 metres away from the shooter. What a remarkable achievement!!


My conclusion

Biathlon is a remarkable and liberating sport which you can probably only understand, or maybe only when you have tried it yourself! Have lots of fun with it. Exhausted but happy, I leave the track on this day and I know once again: During a holiday at the Skicircus, it does not always have to be skiing ;)

Information about cross-country skiing in the Skicircus:

In recent years, the Saalfelden Leogang region has developed into a stronghold for cross-country skiers and biathletes and is internationally renown as a Nordic Competence Centre. Even Olympic winner Felix Gottwald or biathlon stars Simon Eder and Julian Eberhard are from here and train regularly on the trails around Saalfelden Leogang. 150 kilometres of well-maintained trails await guests who want to bring their circulation and muscles into harmony with nature in the Nordic Park Saalfelden. Ideal for the family: the newly designed Nordic Park Saalfelden connects kilometres of trails with beautiful winter hiking trails offering a fun & snow park for the little ones and also delicacies from the Pinzgau region.


Saalbach Hinterglemm and Fieberbrunn also invite you to cross-country ski. At the end of the Hinterglemm valley, away from cars, stress and bustle, 10 km of tracked trails await the guests – starting from the tennis hall. At Reiterkogel, guests can make their rounds on the 2 km long trail – but only in skating style. From Fieberbrunn to Pillerseetal valley, there are also 100 km of trails for cross-country skiing fun.


Biathlon also plays an important role in the region. So much so that the World Championships took place in the neighbouring town of Hochfilzen in 2017. The Biathlon World Cup also takes place here every year in December. For my self-test, I was at the Nordic Academy in Hochfilzen and was trained there very well. Every Tuesday and Thursday, you get an introduction to the sport of biathlon with cross-country skiing lessons and shooting training.

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