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Bear Valley Ski-O

Date: (Sun.) Feb. 26, 2006
Location: near Arnold, CA
Event Director: - 650.793.8764
Course Setter: Thorsten Graeve
Type: Ski-O

The Bear Valley ski-O event is the fourth and final Sierra Ski-O Championship event for 2006. Currently, the courses look long but with minimal climb. The advanced courses will be in "Motala" format, which means that there is a map exchange in the starting area for the advanced courses.

Unlike most orienteering events, this format enables spectators to see the orienteers at different stages of their courses when they exchange maps. For the competitors, it means that we don't use the distant areas that have the greater climbs, which means they get to go faster.

The course statistics and maps used for each course are as follows:

 Course   Flyline  Optimal  Climb  Maps used
 ------   -------  -------  -----  ---------
 White      4.7k     5.8k    75m   White only
 Orange     5.4k     8.1k   110m   Orange only
 Green      8.3k    11.7k   160m   Orange and Green 
 Red        9.8k    15.5k   200m   Orange and Red 
 Blue      12.7k    19.1k   250m   Orange, Green, and Red 

Bear Valley Rules

The special rules for Bear Valley Cross Country include the following:

  1. At this event, you must stay on the mapped trails at all times, except to reach a control that might be a few feet off the trail. Your map shows all groomed trails with a thick green line, and all secondary trails (trails we make with snowshoes or skis) with dashed green lines. On the course, the secondary trails are identified with red pin flags where they intersect with other mapped trails. If a trail is marked on your map with purple or red Xs, it has been closed to competition and you must stay off of it (for safety).
  2. Bear Valley has some one-way trails that you must use in the direction indicated on your map. Where there is a one-way trail, you will see an arrow next to the trail at each junction. You can only go in the direction of that arrow on that segment of the trail. In a few places, we have gotten the right to use one-way trails in both directions, so you will not see arrows on those trails at the junctions (but you might see one-way signs that you can disregard) for this competition only. Skiing the wrong way on a one-way trail disqualifies you from the competition.
  3. The map exchange area is a heavily used staging area where skiers put on their skis and start skiing or exchange maps. The assembly area will be fenced or roped off so you won't have to tangle with most of those skiers. Still, be aware that there will be many skiers in the area, and use care in passing them.
  4. As always, we share the ski trails with other skiers. If you encounter skiers who are blocking your way on the trail, call out to them to let you pass (preferrably on the left). Also, if you ski down a hill, make sure it is safe to go down before doing that.

Sierra Ski-O Championships Scoring

If you compete alone (that is, not part of a group or team), this is the last event in which your finish time earns points towards the 2006 Sierra Ski-Orienteering Championships. You can see your current standing for this at Registration. We will calculate your points for the Bear Valley event when the last person finishes for your course. After adding everyone's points for the four ski-O events this year, we'll award medals (that's right, we're using full-sized A-meet medals customized for the Sierra Ski-O Champs) for the first, second, and third place finishers (probably around 2:30 or 3:00 PM). For more information, see the 2006 Sierra Ski-Orienteering Championships Web page or the article in the BAOC Bulletin.

Remember, anyone who shows up to all of our ski-O events as a competitor or volunteer receives our biggest award for having done it all (a 4x6 magnet photo of a squirrelly control site with a proclamation that you "did it all"). This year, a record number of 18 people are eligible for this award. Each of the following people who attend this event will get this award (let me know if I left your name off the list):

 Julie Raymond
 Brenda Giese
 Greg Walker
 Mikkel Conradi
 Matthias Kohler
 Neil Hunt
 Bret Sarnquist
 Clea Sarnquist
 Trinka Gillis
 Kent Ohlund
 Bob Baylor
 Blake Heckendorn
 Bob Cooley
 Nancy Lindeman
 Bjorn Widerstrom
 Jackie Wong
 Lauren Knight
 Dan Dwyer   

Registration, Rentals, and Skating Lessons

To register for this event and to get a discounted trail pass, go to the trail head. If you already have a trail pass (season or multi-day or full-priced day pass) you can register without getting an additional trail pass. We do not exchange full-priced trail passes for discounted trail passes. There is no preregistration for this event.

Registration fees are as follows:

 Super seniors (70+ years)  $10
 Seniors (60-69 years)      $22
 Adults (18-59 years)       $29
 Juniors (13-17 years)      $17
 Children (9-12 years)      $13
 Young children (0-8 years) Free

E-punch finger stick rentals $2

To rent skis or snowshoes, go to the Bear Valley Cross Country store, which is across the highway from the trailhead.

BAOC members are invited to join in on a Saturday skating lesson at Bear Valley XC taught by Julie Raymond, one of our Amazon class ski orienteers who regularly teaches skate skiing at Bear Valley XC. This is an excellent opportunity to learn how to skate for your orienteering events. The best time for such a class is 10:30 when conditions are still cool and the snow is still firm. To sign up, go to the rentals desk in the Bear Valley XC store. I don't know the cost.

Severe Weather Considerations

Remember to bring chains or a vehicle with all-wheel/4-wheel drive or snow tires. Winter driving conditions, even when it is not snowing, can mean driving on icy roads.

In the event of a severe storm or low snow conditions, it might be necessary to omit some controls on some courses because of dangerous conditions or a lack of snow on the certain trails. Because this can result in disruptions to planned courses, this can mean that a point-to-point event can have shortened courses (this has happened once only) or the event format changes to Score-O format (never done before) just hours before the event. We will try to alert everybody of these changes if it is necessary to make them.

Ski-O events are automatically cancelled when the resort closes for severe weather or lack of snow (this has never happened though we have had at least one close call). We will try to alert everyone of such a cancellations, but if you suspect this might happen, contact the director (Tony Pinkham at 650-969-5320) for further information, or call the ski resort (209-753-2834) to see if it is open. If you leave a message for Tony, include your phone number. If he is setting up the event in the mountains, he will check for messages and return calls in the evening if possible.


At this time the Bear Valley Lodge, the Base Camp Lodge, and the Nordic Hostel are filled. Most of the rental cabins in the Bear Valley area are also booked. The nearest accommodations are in Dorrington and Arnold, which are just 25-30 minutes from Bear Valley. There are two spots open in the meet directors cabin (call 650-969-5320 for information before Noon on Friday).

Driving Directions

Bear Valley is 120 miles from Livermore and Sacramento. To get to Bear Valley Cross Country:

  1. Take Highway 5 or Highway 99 to Highway 4.
  2. Drive east about 70 miles on Highway 4 through Angel's Camp and Arnold, to Bear Valley Cross Country Ski Resort.
  3. Turn left and park in one of the parking lots by the cross-country store.