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The Sierra Ski-Orienteering Championships are awarded to the top placing male and female competitors on each of five courses presented at our ski-O events. Previously known as the California Ski-O Championships, this championship got a name change this year so that we could include events in Nevada in future years.

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To qualify for this competition, you must finish courses of the same type at two of the four Sierra ski-O event days (Burton Creek, Royal Gorge, and two days at Bear Valley). To win, you must have the best average placing on your course. We calculate your average placing from your top two placings. If your score ties with another person, we resolve the tie by comparing placings at common events in the following order:

  1. Bear Valley Day 2
  2. Royal Gorge
  3. Burton Creek
  4. Bear Valley Day 1

If that doesn't resolve the tie, we prioritize placings by the above ordering of events.

To encourage you to direct events or set courses, we now relax the qualifications for directors and course setters so you can use your worked event as your second qualifying event. It automatically takes on the placing value of the event at which you competed.

For 2005, we had the most competition for this series in its 5-year history, which means that more people went to multiple events than before. We certainly had some of the best courses I had ever seen, so that might have had something to do with that.

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Something that we've noticed from year to year is that the intermediate and advanced courses get the bulk of the competition. Only 15 percent of our entries went on the beginner courses (only 4 percent on white). 75 percent of the beginners and novices prefer to start with the yellow course. In the past, course setters have recommended discontinuing the white course, and now I've reached the same conclusion. In the future, we'll probably have only one beginner course and it'll be designed to the preferred yellow course standards, which use beginner trails but don't place controls at trail junctions (participants have to figure out which beginner trail to take to find a control).

For this year on the white course, Mindy Johnson was the only qualified participant, so she became the champion by skiing both days at Bear Valley.

On the yellow course, we had only two males and two females who qualified. For each gender, one skier was consistently in first place. For the females, Jackie Wong skied for her first time at Burton Creek, took first place, then took first place at all our other events and became the women's champion. Yukka Karras also placed first all three times that he raced on yellow and became the men's champion.

On the orange course, we had lots more competition. For the women, Marie-Josee Paraye went only to the two-day Bear Valley event but competed both days and placed well enough to become the women's champion. For the men, Francois Leonard and Blake Heckendorn each had two first place finishes but neither competed against one another. Being as Francois competed at the highest ranking event (Bear Valley day 2), his placing edged that of Blake.

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The green course was won by a couple of our best skiers who had time constraints that prevented them from competing on the longest courses. Julie Raymond, now a ski instructor at Bear Valley, easily took first place on both event days at Bear Valley. Tapio Karras, who normally prefers long hard courses, stepped down to green when his late arrival made doing the long course impossible. He too, easily commanded the green course with a couple of first place finishes and became champion.

The red/blue courses this year were true tests of endurance with plenty of competitors vying for their mastery. All three point-to-point red and blue courses were 19.8 to 21.8 KM long with between 225 to 410 meters of climb. Despite their difficulty, we had some incredible performances and no shortage of people who insisted on doing them. At Burton Creek, Finnish orienteer, Toni Louhisola finished the 21.5 KM 225 M course in an impressive 70:33, seven minutes ahead of his competition. At Royal Gorge, local racer, Bret Sarnquist, finished the 19.8 KM 410 M course in 61:15. At Bear Valley, however, Chuck Lyda, a past California Ski-O Champion, took first place on both days to became the male champion. For women, Brenda Giese and Clea Sarnquist each took a first place for the first two events, but in the end it was Brenda Giese who got her second first placing to become the women's champion. Many others also competed on these courses at multiple events to make this the hottest contested course at all our events.

Something that made these events special was that quite a few people attended all four event days to help work the event or to compete or both. These stalwart Sierra skiers are Chuck Lyda, Carol Schick-Lyda, Brenda Giese, Trinka Gillis, Matthias Kohler, Kent Ohlund, Grant Glouser, Janell Glouser, Dave Best, Dan Dwyer, and Jackie Wong. It was great seeing each of them there for every event.

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We learned a few things with the championships this year, and we'll be making a few changes so the competition can get even better. As I mentioned, we'll discontinue the white course which is plainly too easy for our competition. With help from a few of the competitors, we'll also change the way we score this event so that competitors can qualify easier yet be even more encouraged to attend multiple events. We're also thinking of increasing the number of awards handed out and tying the number to the number of qualifiers in each class. Another thought is to add an award given to anyone who competes in all of the ski-O events. If you'd like to weigh in with your thoughts on this, contact me and I'll be only too happy to include you on the discussions.

Next year looks to be even more exciting as we expand our ski venues by introducing one or two maps. Hopefully, that'll mean more two-day events split between two neighboring venues. Stay tuned for more information.


The Sierra Ski Orienteering Championships ( Standings are as follows:

Course  Gender  Pl Name                BC  RG  BV1 BV2 Score
White   Female  1. Mindy Johnson                1   1   1.0 CHAMPION
                -  Elizabeth Henley         1            -

Yellow  Female  1. Jackie Wong          1   1       1   1.0 CHAMPION
                2. Helene Gordon        2   2           2.0
                -  Barbara Straka       3                -

        Male    1. Jukka Karras         1       1   1   1.0 CHAMPION
                2. Alan Houser          3   2           2.5
                -  Joe Maffei               1            -
                -  Scott Hann                       2    -
                -  Matt Strother        2                -

Orange  Female  1. Marie-Josee Parayre          1   2   1.5 CHAMPION
                2. Nancy Lindeman       1       7   4   2.5
                3. Marina Keating           4       3   3.5
                -  Julie Raymond                    1    -
                -  Chelsea Gorkiewicz       1            -
                -  Claire Warner            2            -
                -  Lisa Renke               3            -
                -  Tania Haag                   2        -
                -  Debra DiBase                 3        -
                -  Beth Dixon                   4        -
                -  Christine Jensvold           5        -
                -  Jackie Wong                  6        -

        Male    1. Francois Leonard             1   1   1.0 CHAMPION
                2. Blake Heckendorn     1   1           1.0
                3. Dan Dwyer            2   2   2       2.0
                4. Bill Wright                  3   2   2.5
                5. Grant Glouser        3       4   3   3.0
                6. Jay Hann             6           5   5.5
                -  Brian Peterson           3            -
                -  Dave Best                        4    -
                -  Frank Sarnquist          4            -
                -  Christopher Hann     4                -
                -  Stefan Reinke            5            -
                -  Bill Straka          5                -
                -  Carlo Alesandrini        6            -
                -  Joe Maffei           7                -

Green   Female  1. Julie Raymond                1   1   1.0 CHAMPION
                2. Carol Schick-Lyda    1   1   3   2   1.0
                3. Yelena Krasnov           2   2   3   2.0
                -  Trinka Gillis        2                -
                -  Marina Keating               4        -

        Male    1. Tapio Karras         1       1   1   1.0 CHAMPION
                2. Bjorn Widerstrom     2   2       3   2.0
                3. Joe Maffei                   2   4   3.0
                4. Peter Olsen          5   3           4.0
                -  Mike Poulsen             1            -
                -  Werner Haag                      2    -
                -  Scott Drum           3                -
                -  Dave Best                    3        -
                -  Dan Greene               4            -
                -  Bob Cooley           4                -
                -  Peter Graube             5            -

Blue    Female  1. Brenda Giese         1   2       1   1.0 CHAMPION
                2. Trinka Gillis            3   CS  2   2.0
                -  Clea Sarnquist           1            -

        Male    1. Chuck Lyda           2   2   1   1   1.0 CHAMPION
                2. Matthias Kohler      6   CS  2   2   2.0
                3. Dan Stoll-Hadayia    3   3           3.0
                4. Matthias Vangbo              3   4   3.5
                5. Bret Sarnquist       8   1           4.5
                6. Mikkel Conradi       5   4           4.5
                7. Kent Ohlund          7   7   4   5   4.5
                8. Jim Waite                    5   CS  5.0
                9. Greg Walker          4   6           5.0
               10. Thorsten Graeve      CS      6   6   6.0
               11. Bob Baylor           9   8           8.5
               12. Nagyi Attila        10           7   8.5
                -  Tony Louhisola       1                -
                -  Neil Hunt                        3    -
                -  Jan Tore Nygard          5            -