Bear Valley Ski O'

January 31, 1999

Update (on Jan. 27)

Our third annual Bear Valley ski-orienteering event will be held this coming Sunday, 31 January 1999, using a revised OCAD map. Bear has added some new trails, some trails have been altered, and others have been converted to snowshoe only use. You are welcome to do any course on snowshoes.

Yes, there is plenty of snow now. Much of it was falling last weekend as Chris Shirley and I were up mapping and vetting. No doubt it will stop snowing today, and then we will have beautiful weather for the weekend. The fee is $16, which includes an all-day trail pass. Register at the trailhead (not the Nordic Center) from 9:30 to 11:45. Starts are available from 10:00 to 12:00.


In general, navigation in ski-o is relatively easy (Yellow level) for experienced orienteers, so route choice and rapid map reading are important. Re-location can be difficult. For your safety and enjoyment, please choose a course appropriate to your ability. The Long Course will include black diamond trails.

       Best route  Approx.  Orienteering  Skiing
Course  ski length  climb    ability       ability

White      3 km     flat     Beginner      Beginner
Short      4 km     flat     Beginner      Beginner
Medium     9 km     60 m     Intermediate  Intermediate
Long      12 km    160 m     Intermediate  Advanced


We have a map developed specifically for ski-O. The scale is 1:10,000 for White and Short, and 1:12,000 for Medium and Long. Contours are 40 feet. Trails on snow are indicated by green lines. On this map:

For safety reasons, and because this is a groomed area, USE ONLY THE TRAILS marked on the map. Skiers should use only GREEN trails. Bushwhacking is not allowed and could be dangerous. Snowshoers can use snowshoe only trails in addition to ski trails. Please stay on trails and respect the groomed ski tracks. Everyone should carry a WHISTLE.

Maps will be printed with the courses. Control codes are marked on the map next to the control number. There is no need for control descriptions in ski-o.


As an added bonus this weekend, there will be dog-sledding near the Nordic Center. Other activities at Bear include downhill skiing, back-country skiing, a sled hill for kids, and snowshoeing. Rental skis and snowshoes are available. Note that I will be putting controls out on Saturday. For people who want to get together on Saturday, I suggest meeting at the Warming Hut at noon.


Bear Valley is located at the top of Highway 4 just before Mt. Reba. Turn left (North) at the Bear Valley Cross-Country sign. Park at the Nordic Center (on your left) or go a little further and turn right into the large parking lot. Register at the trailhead across the highway (although you can purchase trail passes at the Nordic Center).

Any other questions, give me a call or drop me a line.

- Mike Poulsen

(650) 327-8231

Original Announcement

Once again our winter ski-o season begins at Bear Valley, a major cross-country ski area away from the Tahoe crowds. There will be four courses to accommodate beginner, intermediate, and advanced skiers. In ski-o, the controls are on trails, so the navigation is not technical. All levels of orienteers are welcome. The challenge comes primarily from route choice and rapid map reading. For people new to cross-country skiing, you can take professional lessons on Saturday, or learn from your orienteering friends. Cross-country skiing is an easy sport in which to get started, and rental equipment will be available.

There are places to stay in Bear Valley or other towns if you want to spend the weekend. Bear Valley will also be hosting a dog-sled event the same weekend, which was a popular activity for the kids last year. Other activities include downhill skiing, back-country skiing, snow-shoeing, ice skating, and sledding. Bear Valley is located at the top of Highway 4 just before Mt. Reba. Parking for cross-country is on the north side of thehighway. A trail pass will be required.

For more information, contact me at 650 327-8231, or  and check out the Bear Valley Website.

- Mike Poulsen

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