Bright Past

My off month of April has come to a close and now it’s back to work. As I write this, I am sitting in O’Hare International Airport waiting to catch a flight to New York for the first camp of the season in Lake Placid.

The month of April seemed to fly by, mostly because I was always on the go. I noticed how my life is the opposite of most people. A typical week during the training season is filled with activities a lot of people would love to do on their vacation; hiking, biking, paddling, and shooting guns. When I have time off from training, I typically fill it with normal daily activities of most people; working to make a few bucks, volunteering at events, and working on projects. So when it came to having a whole month off of scheduled training, I filled it full of substitute teaching, working with local biathlon clubs and other random projects. Even though I had a full month, I still didn’t have quite enough time to do everything I wanted. If only there was a way to make time. Unfortunately that’ll have to wait, because I don’t have time.

For pretty much the entire month of April I was back home in Wisconsin, splitting time between both Kimberly and Hayward. While back home in Kimberly, I was able to speak in the 7th grade classrooms at J.R. Gerritts. This was the same middle school I attended as a kid and was an honor to be able to come back and speak as an adult. I spoke about the path God has placed me on as a biathlete, but also about the impacts climate change. I spoke about how I have noticed the effects as a winter athlete, but more importantly about how it affects the lives of everyone. It was an honor to be able to speak about fulfilling your calling, whatever that may be, but also about caring for creation. I believe these are two of the most important things in life; knowing and living out the purpose of your existence but also loving and caring for those around you.

During my time in Wisconsin I was able to participate in clinics with two clubs based in the Badger State. The first was a clinic in Hayward with the newly started Birkie Biathlon. It is really exciting to see Biathlon gaining traction in Birkie country. Right now it is in its infant stages, but it is great to see a group of fired up kids excited about the sport. The second club I got to hang out with was Blackhawk Biathlon Club in Madison. It’s a grassroots biathlon club that got its start in the early 2000’s and has been going strong since. Despite cold windy weather, there was still a great turn out and we had a great time working on shooting position and how to approach the range mentally. It truly was pleasure to get to know the members of Blackhawk a little more. From the kids to the adults, everyone was super welcoming and they made me feel right at home and part of the Blackhawk family.

So just like that, off time is over and it’s back to work. I am in Lake Placid for the next six days for a shooting camp before flying to Bend, Oregon for an on snow camp. I am pretty excited to head out to Bend and get back on snow before hitting the pavement on roller skis for the rest of the summer. I also am pretty excited to try out on my new mountain bike in Bend thanks to Continental Ski and Bike in Duluth. They hooked me up with a spicy pink Santa Cruz Bronson for the summer, a ride I am sure to enjoy.

So to close out this post I am going to say farewell to a brand that helped me reach a new level. Last year I made the decision to work with YOKO skis, a Finnish brand that makes the brightest skis in the world. This decision allowed me to work closely with Finn Sisu, the importer of YOKO products in the US. Working with Finn Sisu was awesome, always getting me what I needed when I needed it. Whether it was shipping me out some wax or gloves that I needed, or getting me the grinds I needed mid-season. As I move into this next season, I am excited to announce that I will be going back to Rossignol for the ’17-’18 season. As great as it will be to get back on Rossi boards, it is a bitter sweet end to being the ‘YOKO Guy’. So as I leave YOKOpoko in search of another best day, I just hope my future is as bright as the past two years have been with YOKO.

Working with future Olympic Biathletes in Hayward during the Birkie Biathlon Clinic

Speaking to the kids of Blackhawk Biathlon about my journey as a biathlete

On the range during the Blackhawk Clinic

Back when I first started working with YOKO. Orange you glad you're on YOKO?

Yoko and Finn Sisu always ensure I'd be noticed on the ski trail with bright orange skis and a pink race suit

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© 2017 by Paul Schommer