New locations—in addition to great food and amazing scenery—help reinvigorate training during the heat of summer, so after months of planning, the U.S. Women’s Biathlon Team spent a few weeks training in France and Italy to strengthen legs and refresh minds. I arrived in Lyon, France brimming with national pride as the the FIFA World Cup Finals were mere hours from kicking off and I picked up our new team car, provided by Auto Eder and wrapped by Maloja, to retrieve the team. As we sped away, we were welcomed with honks, we were welcomed with honks, waves and pictures from fans thinking we were part of the soccer team—nice, albeit confused support as we made our way to our first training destination.
For the first half of the camp, the team of six athletes trained at a Zecamp, a sport hotel owned and operated by former biathlete, Olympic and World Champion, Marie Dorin Habert. We revisited fundamentals, conducted hard and high quality intensity days and spent a good amount of time reviewing technique. The team’s shooting coach, Matt Emmons, also joined us for long hours working one-on-one with each athlete. All this hard work racked up the largest number of training hours so far this year compounded with extra shooting workouts and dry fire sessions at night.
After a hard time trial, we packed the car and van and said our goodbyes to Matt and Marie. Matt left for Germany with all the rifles to have them tested and sent to the factory for tune-ups, while the rest of the team drove across Italy to the town of Antholz, the host location of this year’s World Championships, the awarded 2026 Olympic venue and the home of Armin Auchentaller, the women’s biathlon head coach. This half of the training camp was dubbed ‘hiking camp’ for good reason. The mountains were mind-numbingly stunning and inspired one athlete to note, “I’m glad I didn’t grow up here because I feel like I can really appreciate it. Do you think these Italians notice or care anymore, or is this view just normal for them now?”
The camp wrapped up with another tough, hot time trial and another breathtaking hike. The trip felt long and the training load was intense, but worth it. It takes hard work in the summer to be fast and successful in winter and the U.S. Biathlon Team women work hard and put in their time, no matter what country they may be in.