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the impressive collection falls short of equipping today’s crowd. So Parken pulls out reinforcements in the form of handmade snowshoes woven by his Venturing crew several years back. With gear in hand, the group heads outside to try its skills at cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. In a flash, Parken begins gliding


around the teens as they clumsily affix their Nordic-style boot bindings to the narrow-bodied skis. Demonstrating proper ski posture, the nimble instructor explains, “We’re going to use a classic ‘kick-and-glide’ form of skiing.” He bends at his ankles, leaning slightly forward, and quickly kicks off one foot while he glides with the other. His arms swing efficiently in rhythm with his legs as they move in short, fast steps. “Now, when it’s time to go uphill, you’re going to want to broaden your stance. Point your skis in a V and step forward by pushing off the ball of your foot one at a time. It


BIATHLON ON


takes a lot of leg strength, so keep your rhythm and lean forward.” Like wobbly ducklings, the new


YOUR BIG SCREEN Organize your own unit’s biathlon event, inspired by the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympics. Consider watching the live biathlon events at this year’s games, held Feb. 7–23 in Sochi, Russia. And if your unit doesn’t have access to snowy terrain, just follow the New Yorkers’ lead: Adjust your event to include biathlon-inspired trail running or hiking instead of Nordic skiing. Learn more about the Olympic Games’ biathlon competition schedule and the history of biathlon at nbcolympics.com.


28 S COUTING ¿ JANUARY•FEBRUARY 2014


Nordic skiers follow behind Parken in erratic circles. Venturers kick and glide past one another. Then the group breaks apart to climb up a short hill, leaving rows of herringbone wakes behind. It takes only a couple of laps on skis for the teens to show signs of exhaustion. Parken warns that they need to save their energy for the com- petition that’s just hours away.


AT 1 P.M., 20 VENTURERS slush their way from Camp Gorton’s dining hall to the biathlon’s starting line. Last


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