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Tahoe 3-Day "A" Meet

Northstar Resort and Burton Creek State Park

Date: (Fri.) Jun. 20, 2008
Location: Truckee, CA
Event Director: - 510.526.9071
Course Setter: Steve Gregg
Type: A; Afternoon or evening sprint

Preliminary Course Setter's Notes

Day 1: Friday Sprint at Northstar Resort


As I was driving up to Lake Tahoe over Memorial Day weekend to finalize the Northstar sprint courses, it started snowing about 10 miles west of Donner Summit, and by the time I got to the top, there were about three inches of snow on the ground, and it was still coming down at a swift rate. Fortunately, though, the snow diminished rapidly on the back side of the pass. There was no snow on the ground at Truckee at all, nor was there any snow anywhere on the sprint course terrain at Northstar. So unless a really unusual late spring weather system comes through over the course of the next four weeks, the conditions on the ground will be very nice for the sprint event.

There will be two sprint courses offered at the event: A "White/Yellow" sprint course, and the regular sprint. The White/Yellow sprint will stay entirely on trails, ski runs, and building areas. It is perhaps a little harder than the White courses typically offered at our local events, but nonetheless my non-orienteer girlfriend says that "anyone can complete this course". The regular sprint course will venture into the woods, but none of the controls are harder than Orange-level difficulty.

The start area for both courses will be about 0.9 km uphill from the village area, with about an 80-m climb. Give yourself at least 15 minutes to get to the start. However, this remote start allows both courses to be primarily downhill back to the finish at the village. The White/Yellow course has only 35 m climb in 1.7 km (with 11 controls), and the regular sprint course has only 50 m climb in 2.2 km (with 13 controls).

Both courses should be fast and fun. The White/Yellow course stays on trails and open land the entire way. The regular sprint course does venture into some somewhat slashy woods at the beginning (I suggest you dress for the course like an orienteer, not a runner—in particular, I recommend spikes or studded shoes), but for the most part the fallen trees are low-lying, sporadic, and easily avoidable if you are looking ahead. Although the course is primarily downhill, it contours back and forth down the hill instead of dropping straight down the slope line. Both courses finish at the village area, with about 300 meters of running on asphalt right before the finish.

By far the greatest hazard on the courses will be mountain bikers. Northstar is an active mountain bike resort in the summer months, and both sprint courses will use and cross trails that are regularly used by the bicyclists. So be alert for riders, and prepare to yield the right-of-way when you are using or crossing trails.

If you were at Northstar for the Sierra 2000 event, but have not revisited the resort since, you will be astonished to see the new village area. What used to be a small, laid-back, somewhat old-fashioned area has been transformed into a huge new shopping and condominium complex. I have had to remap all of this in preparation for the event, with no base map to help me out. I am confident that I have mapped the general shapes of all the buildings and such correctly, but don’t expect to see the exquisite level of fine detail that you might be used to on our Stanford and Berkeley maps. You will not need that detail, as the courses are set so that they do not require it.