Seeley Swan Pathfinder -


By Steve and Cheri Thompson
Seeley Lake, Mont. 

More history on the Seeley Lake Biathlon


February 14, 2019

SEELEY LAKE - I thought that I would expand just a bit on your article from last week as to the history of the Seeley Lake Biathlon. Having a biathlon was the brain child of Lynn Carey. He spoke of the fun of participating in such a race out of Missoula years before with instruction from his mentor Werner Probst, a transplant from Germany and a former biathlete. He got Steve and I excited as to the possibilities and how a biathlon would complement the culture of Seeley Lake.

As your article indicated, the first race in 2008 was sponsored by the Chamber, for insurance purposes, but the initial work was with the Nordic Ski Club and Driftriders for the grooming and trail layout and the shooting was at the Wilderness Sportsman’s Club range. Due to logging that year, the road was plowed so we had access to the range and then made the ski trail across the road. The National Guard arrived with the targets and ran the range with help from the Sportsman’s Club.

The following year brought changes with the organization of the Nordic Ski Club being responsible for the skiing portion, the Wilderness Sportsman’s Club being responsible for the shooting portion and the Thompsons being responsible for the administration and the equipment. Again the National Guard came and helped the Sportsman’s Club organize the range. We gained a permit from the USFS and moved the race to the Seeley Creek Nordic Ski Trails.

Through the following years the organization stayed the same but with the West Yellowstone Biathlon group selling us seven of their targets. No longer did we have to go to Helena and borrow the Guard’s targets. Improvements were made to the range and the penalty area, to promote safety and better flow.

A change in leadership within the Sportsman’s Club made staffing the range a challenge, then a light snow year and a hiatus of a couple of years. Steve and I are so pleased that an enthusiastic, younger, more able group has seen the fun and excitement of this race and within the Nordic Ski Club and in conjunction with the Sportsman’s Club, is again hosting an annual biathlon. Hopefully the future will hold a summer race as well of running or biking.

According to the US Biathlon Coach, we are the only citizens’ race in the country that isn’t sponsored just by a ski or biathlon club and that welcomes anyone without prior qualification. We are excited to have been part of the beginning and exited to have passed on the torch.


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