Vernon’s Emma Lunder, 29, the veteran of Canada’s senior women’s biathlon team, competes at a World Cup race in December 2020 in Hochfilzen, Austria. (Nordic Focus photo)

Vernon’s Emma Lunder, 29, the veteran of Canada’s senior women’s biathlon team, competes at a World Cup race in December 2020 in Hochfilzen, Austria. (Nordic Focus photo)

Vernon biathlon veteran relishes role with national team

Emma Lunder, 29, has three top-10 World Cup 2020-21 results for Canadian women’s squad

The 40 centimetres of snowfall in the Austrian village of Obertilliach Monday, Dec. 28, gave Vernon’s Emma Lunder and her Canadian senior biathlon teammates a chance to play in the snow, instead of train and compete on it.

Obertilliach, located between the Lienz Dolomites and the Carnic Alps, is considered to be one of the most beautiful villages in the district of Lienz, in the Austrian state of Tyrol. Obertilliach was declared to be protected as a historic monument in 1978.

The village is Lunder and the Canadian biathlon team’s home away from home during the BMW IWU World Cup season.

“We went out sledding today and it was just a lot of fun,” said Lunder, 29, in her seventh season on the senior national squad, on a Facebook call.

Instead of a sled or toboggan, Lunder can usually be found on snow with two skis on her feet, two poles helping push her along snowy tracks, and with a rifle over her shoulder.

Biathlon is a word of Greek origin meaning “two tests,” which is exactly what the sport is – a combination test of cross-country skiing and shooting. The sport today is founded on a tradition of hunting, stemming back more than 4,000 years.

Lunder took to the snow in her native Timmins, Ont., hometown of Canadian country music goddess Shania Twain. She and her family would cross-country ski, and that continued when the family moved to Vernon when she was 12.

After spending a year in the Jackrabbits program at the Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre, Lunder followed older brother Angus’ footsteps and joined Sea Cadets, and, eventually, the cadet biathlon program.

A 2009 graduate of Vernon Secondary School, Lunder has continued to progress in the sport. She made the junior national biathlon team in 2011 and she keeps improving, leading the way as the oldest member of the women’s team.

Prior to the 2020-21 BMW IWU World Cup season, Lunder’s top-three career finishes were ninth in the sprint race in Oslo; 10th in the women’s relay at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in Korea; and 17th in a sprint event in the Czech Republic in 2018.

Through four weeks of World Cup racing in the 20-21 season, Lunder has three top-10 results, including a ninth-place finish in the pursuit in Koniolahti, Finland, and has finished 15th or better five times this season.

She was 10th in the pursuit in Hochfilzen, Austria, qualifying for her favourite biathlon event by placing 11th in the sprint. That finish meant Lunder started 11th overall in the pursuit, trying to catch the 10 skiers ahead of her. She missed one target (out of five) in the four shooting rounds, resulting in a penalty loop ski of 150 metres.

“I enjoy chasing down people,” said Lunder. “There’s usually 60 people in the pursuit race so there’s lots of women to ski with and to try and pass.”

At the shooting stations, competitors can either fire at the targets standing up or in the prone position laying on their stomachs. Lunder prefers standing, and also enjoys the shift in focus from skiing to shooting.

“There’s lots of stress in a race, you don’t want to miss a target and you don’t want to ski the penalty lap, so I enjoy getting there and having to concentrate on the shooting,” said Lunder, who has three more World Cup events scheduled in 2021 before the sport’s world championships Feb. 11-21 in Pokljuka, Slovenia.

The dates for the 2021 worlds will be about the same ones for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing which could be Lunder’s swan song in the sport.

She competed in 2018 in Korea, getting a taste of Olympic life, taking part in the opening and closing ceremonies, feeling starstruck by seeing a Canadian gold medalist ahead of her in the athletes’ village food lane, and helping the Canadian women’s relay team to a 10th-place finish.

Her post-Olympics World Cup results show an ever-improving Lunder, so Beijing may not be the last the world hears of Emma Lunder in the sport.

“In Korea, it was overwhelming and I was soaking everything up,” she said. “It was such a good experience. I’m seeing improvement every year so in 2022 I hope to be more of a contender and if the results keep improving, who knows?”

Lunder is the leader of the Canadian squad, taking the torch passed to her by her role models when she first joined the squad, Canmore, Alta.’s Rosanna Crawford and Brendan Green of Hay River, NWT.

“I do bring experience and leadership to the team,” said Lunder. “Rosanna and Brendan showed me the ropes and I try to emulate them.”

As for COVID, Lunder said during the World Cup season, athletes are tested every four days, and the Canadian team is wearing masks everywhere. The squad enjoyed a socially distanced Secret Santa gift exchange to celebrate Christmas.

Away from biathlon, Lunder is a fan of the TV show Grey’s Anatomy, likes reading and playing cards, and lists dogsitting and baking bread as her hobbies.

READ MORE: Lunder named to Olympic biathlon squad

READ MORE: Lunder goes hard for silver



roger@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Local Sports

Just Posted

(Pixabay.com photo)
No COVID-19 baby boom in Summerland

Pandemic has not resulted in surge in births in 2020 and 2021

(Black Press file photo)
EDITORIAL: Curtailing attempts at scams

The true total of losses from all scams and frauds could be much higher than the figures on file

People at the beach in front of Discovery Bay Resort on Tuesday, July 14. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Heat wave forecast for Okanagan-Shuswap

Temperatures are forecast to hit record breaking highs this week

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

The Pierre family, an Indigenous family, once lived in what is now downtown Summerland. Today, Pierre Drive is named in honour of the family. (Photo courtesy of the Summerland Museum)
Pierre family played role in Summerland’s history

Downtown Summerland was once Penticton Indian Reserve #3

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Photograph By MICHAEL POTESTIO.KTW
Former Kamloops security gaurd wants job back after kicking incident caught on video

Rick Eldridge quit when a video surfaced of him kicking a man outside a facility for homeless

People participated in a walk to honour the 215 children found at a former Kamloops residential school, as well as residential school survivors. (Twila Amato/Black Press Media)
Kelowna marks National Indigenous Peoples’ Day with walk to remember Kamloops 215

“Let’s speak the truth and deal with the truth, and heal.”

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

A home on Cameo Drive sustained major damage due to an early morning fire Monday, June 21. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
UPDATE: Fire sparked during Vernon home renovation

Heavy black smoke from Cameo Drive home, no one inside

Most Read