Bear Valley Ski-O, Sunday 2-Mar-03

Alex Krasnov


The Green and Blue courses had to be redesigned because of closure of a number of trails. See below for new courses statistics. This information is still preliminary as more trails may be closed as we approach Sunday. All courses now utilize rather small skiing area - please observe directional signs on the map and in the field. Closed trails are marked with red crosses on the maps.

The Bear Valley ski-orienteering event will be the last 2003 ski-O event and the deciding event for the 2003 California Ski-O Championships. This event will have white, yellow, orange, green, and blue courses (all using E-punch systems) planned on the network of groomed and bushwacked trails at Bear Valley Cross Country. Beginner clinics will be available on demand for beginners.

Courses (subject to change)

Course Length (optimal) Length (direct) Climb Controls Description
White 2.7km 2.2km 35m 8 Easy trails and navigation that is ideal for beginners after taking a beginner's clinic.
Yellow 4.5km 3.9km 65m 10 Relatively easy trails with some moderate climbs. Some interesting route choices.
Orange 8.7km 5.5km 215m 11 Intermediate trails used with lots of interesting route choices.
Green 13.2km 6.6km 300m 12 Intermediate and some expert trails with lots of route choices. There are hills. Lots of interesting routes.
Blue 16.6km 9.0km 345m 14 Designed to differentiate expert ski orienteers from all others. Expect anything.


The Bear Valley maps were originally field checked and drawn by Mike Poulsen. He plotted the trails on a USGS base map and included other features that he found. Last year, Neal Barlow contributed GPS readings for the trails and the map was improved with that information. When you use the map, check the scale used--we often use non standard scales for the longer courses so the maps can fit onto the ski-O map holders used by some competitors. Contour interval is 40 ft.


You must stay on the groomed or marked bushwacked trails. Stay off the trails marked as private roads. Use bushwacked trails at your own risk. Snow conditions can change how these trails perform with skis--ice can make them very slippery and fast (perhaps too fast) and slush or powder can slow down progress. Fresh deep powder snow should be avoided, especially if you are using the more fragile skating skis.

Some of the trails at Bear Valley require that people go in one direction. Those directions are marked on the map and you must go in that direction. The one-way arrows (shown in green) are shown by each trail at its intersections so you can definitely know you are going on such a trail. There is no advantage to going the wrong way on these trails and going the wrong way can mean being disqualified. Some of the trails that are normally one-way have been converted to two-way trails where there is no danger posed by two-way traffic. If your map does not show a one-way arrow, the trail is a two-way trail.

Forbidden areas, including the lake and the maintenance buildings are marked on the map with black hatching.

Steep Hills

The advanced (green and blue) courses include skiing conditions that test expert skiers. These conditions include steep uphills and steep downhills. If you want to do those courses but feel uneasy about these slopes, remember that you can remove your skis and walk/climb those hills (this is allowed in the ski-O rules so long as you are carrying your skis). If you remove your skis, please stay out of any groomed tracks and go to the side of the trail. Also, be very careful because there might be some fast skiers on those slopes.

Electronic Punching

All courses will use electronic punching (E-punching). This provides each participant with split times to each control, and it provides the organizers very quick information about who is still out on the courses. It also makes event management much easier, which usually means requiring fewer volunteers. It does mean that each participant needs to use a finger stick to record their arrival at each control. The control units will also record your arrival, and we can download that data in case you lose your finger stick. Results for the California Ski-O Champs requires E-punch data. If you loose your E-punch stick, we recommend looking for it because replacing them can be expensive.

If an electronic punch unit stops functioning, use the hole punch attached to the control and punch your map so we can verify that you made it to the control.

Water and Food

There will be no water on the course except at the start and finish area. We strongly recommend that you bring water, perhaps in a camelback or water bottle, while you do your course, especially if it is a long course. You might find water at the cafe on the course, but you will lose time getting at their water. You can find food and drinks for sale in the cafe.


We will have e-punch sticks to rent for $2--you must use a finger stick to complete a course. We recommend using a string around the neck or wrist to hold the punch unless you have a very secure way of attaching the punch by some other means (many people cannot feel the punch on their gloved fingers). Replacing a lost E-stick can cost $28-$30. If you like, ask for such a string.

We will have map holders and string to tie them to your bodies if necessary. We recommend ski-O map holders for the more competitive people because some key placings were lost at Burton Creek when people had to untangle or retie maps that were on strings. If nothing else, you can tie the map to your waist and stuff it partly in your jacket or pants.

You can use touring or skating cross country skis (even snow shoes). Bear Valley has ski rentals and you can rent cross country skis in the Bay Area at places like REI, Marmot Mountain, Western Mountaineering, and perhaps Sunshine Sports (Livermore and Walnut Creek).


The schedule will be the standard ski-orienteering schedule. Registration (includes trail passes) begins at 9 AM, beginner clinics begin at 9:30 AM, and starts are between 10 AM and 12:30 PM. You must finish by 2:30 PM to enable our crew to pick up all the controls before the resort closes. Volunteers to help pick up the controls are very welcome.

Awards for the California Ski-O Champs will probably be given at the cafe around 1-2 PM.


This is the combined fee for trail pass and ski-o - this price is valid only when purchased through BAOC registration at the trail head.

Super Senior       $8
Senior (60-69)       $18
Adult (18-59)       $23
Junior (13-17)       $13
Child (9-12)       $10
Young Child (0-8)       $free

Ski rentals (handled by Bear Valley Cross Country)

Compass $1
E-punch finger stick $2

Map holders, string for E-punches, Beginner clinics Free!


Event registration and ski rentals are handed in two different places by two different groups. Ski rentals are handled by Bear Valley Cross Country in the cross country office across the highway from the trail area. Event registration and trail passes are sold at the trail head by BAOC.


To see a weather forecast for the Bear Valley area (Arnold, CA), see The WeatherChannel Web site.

Cancellation of this event is extremely unlikely, even in a snow storm, unless the resort closes or closes significant trail sections because of bad weather or excessive melting of snow. If in doubt, call Bear Valley at 1-209-753-2834.

2003 California Ski-Orienteering Championships

Don't forget, this is the third and last event in the three-event 2003 California Ski-Orienteering Championship. If you go to this event, it will probably be one of the two events used to determine your final placing. If you've forgotten how the championship works, we add up points for your top two ski-orienteering placings on the same color course (we measure only the first course you do in any event) and divide by two. The male and female with the lowest score for each course win the championships. Ties are broken by comparing times at the same events and weighing the events in the reverse order of their occurrence (Bear Valley counts first, Royal Gorge counts second).


>From Highway 99 or Interstate 5 near Stockton, go 50 miles east on Highway 4. When you go south through Angels Camp, look for the highway to turn east (left) just south of downtown. Go east on Highway 4 through Arnold to Bear Valley. Follow the orienteering signs to registration and starts.


The Nordic hostel at Bear Valley is currently filled but the Base Camp Lodge (a hostel next to the Nordic hostel) might be open (its bunk rooms might open up two weeks before the event). For information on this lodge, call 209-753-6556. Other places to consider are the Bear Valley Lodge, and lodges and rental homes in and around Arnold.