Though it looks and feels like summer, the biathlon season at Mt Van Hoevenberg in Lake Placid officially starts today.

That’s because International Biathlon Union (IBU) officials arrive to conduct an inspection of the athlete and spectator facilities in advance of major winter biathlon events in 2023. It is a required part of the process to receive an IBU A license, necessary for world cup events, an achievement widely anticipated since the modernization of the venue. Race director for the IBU World Cup Borat Nunar and the race director for the IBU Cup Kristjan Oja will join US Biathlon Association president Max Cobb in meeting with Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) staff to review and discuss all the key elements necessary for successful international biathlon competitions. The inspection comes on the heels of a similar recent visit by FIS inspector John Aalberg.

Honorees and US Biathlon officials pose at the medal ceremony of the US Biathlon National Championships in March 2022 at Mt Van Hoevenberg
Medalists, honorees, and officials at the US Biathlon National Championships in March, 2022

Referred to as a homologation inspection, the inspectors will demonstrate Mt Van Hoevenberg’s competition courses, stadium, snowmaking systems, and numerous amenities from bathrooms to scoreboards meet or exceed required technical specifications.

“We are delighted to be welcoming the IBU Inspection team to Mt Van Hoevenberg,” says Venue Manager Rebecca Dayton. “Our facilities have been through a massive revitalization in the last couple of years. There’s so much here that feels like the same friendly and welcoming place Mt Van Hoevenberg’s been since the 1980 Olympics, but from a competitive standpoint, we’ve experienced a complete renewal that elevates us to one of the finest Nordic skiing and biathlon venues in the world. We’re honored to host the IBU and very proud to show them everything we’ve done.”

IBU officials review numerous details in the following general areas of interest:

  • Spectator capacity and hospitality areas
  • Area lodging/tourism capacity
  • Biathlon competition hosting experience
  • Training and competition functionality and maintenance
  • Climate factors
  • Snowmaking systems and snow grooming equipment
  • Sport technical factors (start, finish, shooting range, and ski terrain)
  • Artificial lighting in the event of night/evening competition and TV transmission
  • Team service facilities (waxing areas, warm-up, meeting rooms)
  • Competition management and officiating areas
  • Scoreboards, video, and timing systems
  • Secured rifle storage
  • Power supply, internet, and toilets
  • Media accommodations (commentator booths, camera positions/platforms, media center, etc.)
  • Medical care and anti-doping testing facilities
  • Logistics management facilities
  • Transportation and parking
Mountain Pass Lodge at Mt Van Hoevenberg with skiers in the foreground
The new Mountain Pass Lodge at Mt Van Hoevenberg.

Just this past March, ORDA hosted the US Biathlon Association’s National Championships at Mt Van Hoevenberg, an event that saw the largest field of competitors ever for the sport of biathlon on US soil. With the modernization of the Nordic facilities complete, athletes and organizers alike praised the venue and its capacity to hold national and international events.

Two of the most visible changes are an all-new, well-appointed Mountain Pass Lodge and a new biathlon stadium featuring a 30-lane range. Other examples are a high-efficiency snowmaking system with a new reservoir, an additional 5km of competition trails certified to international standards, and a new competition layout for easy spectator viewing. Together, they push Mt Van Hoevenberg to the top of the list of potential sites for national and international competitions.