Ski-Orienteering competition comes to North Shore | SierraSun.com

Ski-Orienteering competition comes to North Shore

Staff reports
Emma Garrard/Sierra Sun file photoAlan Houser reads a map before heading out on the course Sunday.
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A handful of local Nordic skiers raced in the U.S. Short Course Ski-Orienteering Championships ” part of the 2007 Sierra Ski-O Week and U.S. Ski-O Championships ” at Tahoe Cross Country Ski Area on Sunday.

Full results are available at http://baoc.org/wiki/Schedule/2007/SkiO/Results.

Ski orienteering is a sport in which Nordic skiers use a map to find control (flag) locations on a network of cross country trails. For each flag, there is a choice of routes skiers need to make.

As the courses become more advanced, the racers’ route selections become more complex, their distances longer and their climbs greater. Everyone starts individually so that they have to navigate on their own while racing the clock for the best time.

The easiest course is white (for beginners learning to read maps). The intermediate course (orange) offers simple route selection on intermediate ski trails. Green, red and blue offer complex route selection with successively increased distances and climbs.

Racers are placed in classes based on age and gender. Males ages 21-34 do the longest and toughest course (blue). Females 21-34, males 35-54 and males 17-20 do the second-longest advanced course (red). Females 35-54, females 17-20, males 55 and older and males up to 16 years of age do the third-longest advanced course (green), and females 55 and older and females up to 16 do the intermediate course (orange).

Anyone who is not up to racing in their fully competitive gender/age class can race in an “open” class on an easier course.

For orienteering, all routes are measured on mapped trails ” some groomed and some made by skis. Skiers are typically welcome to go off trail if they see a better solution, but that isn’t always the fastest way to do their courses.