Benita Peiffer, New Blood

Benita Peiffer is one exciting newcomer on Biathlon Canada World Cup Women’s Team.

Those familiar with cross-country skiing will know her for her results with Nordiq Canada. She represented the country 2 years ago at the FIS World Jr Championships and placed a solid top 30 in the Sprint.

Benita Peiffer (photo: Doug Stephen)
Benita Peiffer (photo: Doug Stephen)

by pierre shanks

She’s got speed, the basic crucial asset in biathlon, and it’s her speed that secured her spot on the World Cup Team. At the Trials in Canmore, she was second in “ski time” in the Sprint, 12 s behind Emma Lunder, and 3rd in the Short Individual, 1 min 18 s behind Emma with Nadia Moser in between.

Since she’s relatively new to the sport, her shooting understandably needs work, but that’s nothing to worry shooting coach Pavel Lantsov: “Benita is a talented and most importantly purposeful athlete.

“The main thing for us is to cope with the excitement that will necessarily be present at the first start of the season, to draw the right conclusions and move towards the set goal.

“In our work we will use scatt (a shooting trainer system) and focus on quality,” said Lantsov who’s been doing remarquable work with the Canadian World Cup athletes.

Benita is 5 days away from the first World Cup race of her career. She did a little Q&A with us.

Benita Peiffer (photo: Doug Stephen)
Benita Peiffer (photo: Doug Stephen)

Skiplus: You’ve had some decent results in cross-country ski. Which result in that sport are you most proud of and how did first being a xc skier help you in your transition to biathlon?

BP: I am most proud of qualifying for Cross-Country World Juniors in the 2019/20 season, placing 26th in the sprint race. I believe that my ski background in cross-country has allowed me to smoothly transition into biathlon. My experience in cross-country has provided me with a great amount of knowledge and racing exposure that has ultimately allowed me to perform well in biathlon.

Skiplus: How did you discover biathlon and when did you decide to focus exclusively on that sport?

BP: I first started biathlon when I was 16. I discovered biathlon through a biathlon coach in Whistler while I was looking for coaching support. I then slowly started doing biathlon, and then on and off for 5 years I was doing a few biathlon races here and there. I originally decided last season that I would purely focus on biathlon but that didn’t go completely to plan due to my knee injury and a year without races due to covid.

Skiplus: Do you feel you created an upset at the Trials (in Canmore)?

BP: I don’t feel like I necessarily created an upset, but I feel as though it might have come as a surprise the position that I have landed. In biathlon, results can change and can be very unpredictable, which Is all part of the sport and creates excitement for opportunity in any race.

Skiplus: How much help has team leader Emma Lunder and teammates been to you so far as you’re prepping for the first World Cups of your career?

BP: The women on the team have been very supportive and helpful the past two weeks while prepping for the races. As the youngest and newest athlete on the World Cup tour, I have a lot to learn, and they have not been shy to help me out and guide me in the right direction, thankfully. My headspace going into these races has been quite overwhelmed with trying to change and adjust my routine, but I have been reminded by the girls around me to stick to what I know and feel comfortable with.

Skiplus: In 5 days, in the warm up area behind the start gate, there will be Eckoff, Roiseland, Oeberg, Wierer and company. Does that make you a little nervous? Anxious?

BP: It would be an understatement to say I am a little nervous. I have yet to compete in a field this strong and competitive and I am extremely nervous to start my first race in 5 days. Instead of watching athletes that I have been looking up to on tv, I will be warming up alongside some of the best athletes in the world, which is both nerve-racking and extremely exciting.

And at only 21 years old, the best has yet to come for Benita Peiffer!

Benita Peiffer (photo: Doug Stephen)
Benita Peiffer (photo: Doug Stephen)

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