As the calendar transition from March to April, Methow Valley Biathlete Eva Weymuller found herself in Vermont and Norway, competing at the Biathlon National Championships and the Liatoppen Festival.
You might think a girl from Washington would have a better chance of travelling to Vermont first, but as far as Eva could recall, it was her first trip to the Green Mountain State, but her second trip to Norway, having visited the Land of the Midnight Sun with the Methow Valley Nordic Team the previous spring.
To raise money for this year’s trip, Eva raised funds by baking artisan bread – a skill she’d learned from a neighbor – selling cards, and even giving bread baking lessons.
In Vermont, the races served as one of three qualifying series for next winter’s Youth Olympics. Eva raced older girls in the 17-18 category, finishing 1st, 5th and 10th in her 3 events. There she also caught up with former Methow Valley biathlete Kelsey Dickinson who has recently been nominated to the US Biathlon Senior Development Group after 3rd, 3rd, and 4th place finishes at nationals among other strong results this past season.
From Vermont, Eva flew to Oslo, Norway, enjoying the help of “some awesome, funny, cool airport police at JFK on our way out of the country.” In Norway, she joined a group of 9 other 14-16 year-old biathletes from across the US, including Methow Valley teammate Alex Tareski. As one of only two girls on the trip, she noted “that was an interesting experience to have eight brothers.”
In its 32nd year, the Liatoppen Festival is renowned for massive fields of junior biathletes. Competing in a one-year age category, Eva raced against 60-70 girls. With several hundred competitors each day, race logistics take on a new scale. For her weekend races, Eva noted she would zero (sight her rifle) in the morning, but not race until after 3 PM when the winds had picked up, causing her to spend lots of time in the “fish bowl” of skiers completing round after round on the short penalty lap for each missed shot.
The trip highlight was making new friends and future connections for training and racing. Eva noted, “It is always fun to meet people with completely different realities and lives but also have a common bond (through biathlon).”
Unfortunately, all good things come to an end, and for Eva, it came a couple of days early as a lack of wifi at the house in Norway meant she had to travel home due to an increasing backlog of homework.