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Public Post is a community reporting initiative using digital tools to report on cities and towns across Vermont.Public Post is the only resource that lets you browse and search documents across dozens of Vermont municipal websites in one place.Follow reporter Amy Kolb Noyes and #PublicPost on Twitter and read news from the Post below.

Shooting The (Sub-Zero) Breeze

Amy Kolb Noyes
Six-year-old Natalia Michnik, of Connecticut, gives a practice laser biathlon rifle a try at the Stowe Tour de Snow.

The 40th annual Stowe Winter Carnival wraps up this weekend with a town-wide ice sculpture contest, among other events. Despite cold temperatures and a lack of snow, locals and visitors alike have been getting out and celebrating winter.

The very first Stowe Winter Carnival was held in 1921, and featured ski jumping and tobogganing on a hill behind the public school. By 1935 the event evolved to feature competitive Nordic and downhill ski races. But then the war years came, and the Carnival went on hiatus.

It wasn't until 1974 that the Stowe Winter Carnival was revived. For the past four years, the event has coincided with the Stowe Tour de Snow.

Like the first carnival, the Tour de Snow aims to get people outside and trying new things. This year’s offerings included broomball, fat bikes and biathlon-style target shooting using a laser rifle. The shooting set-up was provided by the New England Nordic Ski Association’s adaptive program. Program Coordinator Patrik Viljanen was on hand to provide instruction.

"First off, you want to cock it with your thumb, and then basically, you’re just lining it up your concentric circles," Viljanen told one young marksman. "So the front sight post, you want to get that lined up on the target and then center everything in the rear sight." 

And his shot hit the mark.

While there wasn’t enough snow for a full biathlon demonstration this year, organizers promise to try again next year. In the meantime, the forecast is favorable for ice sculpting.

Amy is an award winning journalist who has worked in print and radio in Vermont since 1991. Her first job in professional radio was at WVMX in Stowe, where she worked as News Director and co-host of The Morning Show. She was a VPR contributor from 2006 to 2020.
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