NEW GLOUCESTER — The Veterans Adaptive Sports and Training program at Pineland Farms is hosting a four-day biathlon training camp and relay competition for veterans with disabilities this weekend. 

This is the fourth year that Pineland Farms VAST is holding the biathlon, which is a winter sport that combines cross-country skiing and rifle shooting. It began Thursday and will run through Sunday.

Six veterans from Maine and seven from outside the state, all with varying levels of biathlon ability, are participating.

“We try to support our Maine veterans that like to get out in the winter, and also try to bring in veterans from around the country,” said program director and founder Kristina Sabasteanski. 

Sabasteanski emphasized the importance of the camaraderie that the event fosters. She said that VAST recruits Maine veterans to participate in their programs, and reaches out to veterans in other states when there are program openings. She also stressed that bringing in veterans from around the country can create important connections within the veteran community. 

“It’s important to share resources, especially with issues facing veterans,” she said. 

A lack of snow forced last year’s biathlon to be converted into a cycling and shooting event because the cross-country skiing portion couldn’t take place. Barring unforeseen circumstances, Sabasteanski said she expects this year’s event to be on snow. 

The event is taking place on the Pineland Farms trail system and at Pineland’s biathlon range. The veterans are are staying in the Pineland Farm guest houses. 

The VAST program at Pineland Farms aims to promote the long-term health and wellness of veterans with disabilities through recreation. The program is supported in part by a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Sabasteanski encourages any Maine veterans to reach out to VAST if they are interested in participating in the program’s camps. 

Matt Junker can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @MattJunker

Participants at last year’s Pineland Farms VAST biathlon for veterans with disabilities had to cycle instead of ski due to a lack of snow.


Comments are not available on this story.