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2010 Sierra Ski-Orienteering Championships

Seven Days, Six Venues in the Sierras

Date: Jan. 30 - Feb. 7, 2010
Location: Lake Tahoe Area
Event Director: - 650.793.8764
Course Setters: Julie Raymond, Denise Kowal, David Giese, Greg Walker
Type: Ski-O; 7 Ski-O events in 9 days in the Lake Tahoe area

Table of contents
Please note that fees and time limits apply, unless otherwise mentioned below. Events are typically not canceled due to bad weather.

Registration for this event is closed. Pre-registration has ended, but you can still register at each event.

Click here for information about discounts that are still available.


January 12, 2010: Added information on scoring, added section on competitive classes and awards, added information about cancellations, and added starts information for those driving on a stormy competition day (i.e., start driving early).
January 14, 2010: Added a list of pre-registered people.
January 28, 2010: Course stats for all the events have been posted. Separate pages for each day have been created.



The location names are links to pages for the individual events.

  Date    Day         Location                Director          Course Setters
  Jan 30  Saturday    Bear Valley             Tony Pinkham      Julie Raymond, Neil Hunt
  Jan 31  Sunday      Bear Valley             Tony Pinkham      Tony Pinkham
  Feb 2   Tuesday     Tahoe Donner XC         Tony Pinkham      Bob Baylor, Denise Kowal
  Feb 3   Wednesday   Northstar XC            Tony Pinkham      Matthias Kohler
  Feb 4   Thursday    Royal Gorge XC          Tony Pinkham      Brenda & David Giese
  Feb 6   Saturday    Auburn Ski Club (ASC)   Tony Pinkham      Max Suter
  Feb 7   Sunday      Tahoe Cross Country     Tony Pinkham      Ken Walker, Sr., Greg Walker

Sierra Avalanche Ski-O Championships

Like an avalanche, the Sierra Ski-O Championships happen all at once. We have 7 ski-orienteering events at 6 venues in 9 days. Each day, you accumulate points based on your performance compared to the winner of your competitive class. At the end of the championships, the three people of each class with the most points are given first, second, and third place medals. Everybody who attends all 7 events gets a special "I DID IT ALL" award, which they can proudly display on their refrigerators or other metal surfaces.

Note: This is described as a "championship" event, but you do not need to be competitive to enter. "Recreational" entries are very welcome.

To qualify for these championships, all that you need to do is complete one course for your competitive gender/age class. To better your chances of winning, it helps to get the best times and to attend as many events as possible. If you cannot attend all of the events, we do award credits that keep you in the competition at a level representative of your competitive performance. Volunteers who have to skip a competition because of their volunteer activity get a credit equal to their top competitive score (or second highest score for their second volunteer credit). Anyone who is absent gets an absence credit that is 90 percent of their average competitive/volunteer scores (yes, there is an advantage in competing every day). You cannot claim more credits than the days that you compete in any competitive class (if you compete three [or more] days, you get a maximum of three credits). You get to compete in one competitive class per event. Volunteer credits are applied before absence credits.

As an example, if you compete in three events in the M–21+ class, and one event in the M40+ class, and volunteer for one event, you get one volunteer credit equal to your top score for the class you apply that credit to, and two absence credits that you can use in either class so long as there are never more credits applied than competitive events for a class. When a volunteer or absence credit is applied to a class, its value is determined from the competitive scores for that class. Although it sometimes works to your advantage to compete in more than one class, we don't recommend doing that in most cases, because it can dilute your competitive advantage in other classes.

The championship scoring for each event is handled as follows:

Your event score is the winner's time divided by your time, multiplied by 100. If you win for your class, you get 100 points. If you take twice as long as the winner, you get 50 points.
Your event score is your control points divided by the winner's points, multiplied by 100. Typically, you get 5 points per control found, but you can lose points for being overtime. If two or more people find the same number of controls, the points given for the last control are prorated by a competitor's time compared to the winner.

If two or more people are tied for 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place, we break the tie by comparing these competitors as follows:

  1. Comparing their performance at their last common course at this championships.
  2. Comparing their last scores.

If two are tied, the winner gets a trivial score (typically 0.1 point) added to their overall score. If three are tied, the winner gets a double trivial point value (typically 0.2) added to his or her score, and the second-place person gets a trivial point value (typically 0.1) added to his or her score.

Anybody who cannot complete a course for reasons of DNF, slight OT, MSP, SW, or other non-disruptive reason will get a minimum score (typically 25 points) for that event, because being at our event is better than not being there. Anybody who is disqualified for cheating, being disruptive to the event or resort, or is purposely way overtime when they knew to finish by 2:30, can receive 0 points at the discretion of the event director (this option has never been used so far).

The course details for each event day are listed below.


Pre-registration is closed, but you can still register at the events.

If you preregister for this event, you qualify for discounts. Deadlines for these registrations are December 19 and January 16. You can also register after January 16 by registering at the events without any discounts. To preregister, fill out the registration form (PDF; 48KB) and mail it, with a check for the amount of money owed, to Alan Houser at the address shown on the form.

Each person needs to fill out a separate registration form. If you are competing as a team of two or more people, each person on your team must fill out and sign a separate registration form — each person pays the required amount for the trail passes, but for the orienteering fee the oldest person on the team pays the full orienteering fee (each other person on the team pays $2).

A list of the people who have pre-registered is below.


You can cancel without penalty before the first event day (January 30, 2010). That is, if you cancel early, all of your money spent on trail passes, orienteering fees, and rentals will be reimbursed. If you cancel on the day of the event, we can typically refund all of your money, but might not be able to get money back for your trail pass. In that case, you get your orienteering fees and rental fees refunded. Typically, we can get your trail pass fee refunded from the resort, but we never promise this.

If you fail to show up without any notice, do not expect a refund (we need you to notify us to make the refund happen). If an event is canceled for any reason, all fees for that event are refunded to competitors (assuming that the resort refunds our trail passes — we never seem to have a problem with that). Last year, we forgot to refund fees to three or four people, so we will adjust their fees this year to distribute the refund.

Unless you hear from us that we have canceled an event, figure that the event will occur (sometimes we extend starts when driving conditions are bad)—if the resort is open and trails are groomed, we typically run our events even in snow storms. If you leave us your cell phone or contact phone number, we can notify you of an event closure (assuming that we have cell phone coverage).

Competitive Classes and Awards

We award medals to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place single finishers (teams do not qualify, but shadowed youngsters do qualify) in each fully competitive class. The fully competitive classes are as follows:

(Ages are based on 2010 minus your birth year — that is, without regard to your birth month and day. A minus sign indicates the age shown and younger. A plus sign indicates the age shown and older.)

The other classes (F-White, F-Orange, F-Green, F-Red, F-Blue, M-White, M-Orange, M-Green, M-Red, and M-Blue) are reserved for teams and those racing on courses that are easier than the one assigned to their gender/age group. Mixed-gender teams are assigned to the male class for the course they race on. These classes do not receive medals, but they do get bragging rights for life. If you race on the course assigned to your gender/age group, you are automatically in the fully competitive class (see above) for that course.

Our biggest award (by size) goes to everyone who competes or volunteers at all of our championship events for the year. That means attending all seven of our competitions (or fewer if one or more events is canceled). This is the "I DID IT ALL" refrigerator magnet. In past years, this was a 4" x 6" award, definitely our biggest award.


All of our events are planned to include E-punching. This enables us to more fully utilize a smaller area at our ski-O venues. You must have an E-card (E-punch stick) to compete on our courses. If you do not have an E-card, you may rent one for the event for $3 (or arrange to rent one for the championship series of events). When you finish using your rented E-card, turn it in when you download for your last event.

Be sure to tie your E-card to your wrist or body. All of our rental E-cards have lanyards for you to tie them to your wrist or around your neck. This minimizes the chance that the E-card falls off your finger. When you are wearing ski gloves, you cannot feel an E-card slipping off your finger—the lanyard keeps the E-card attached to you. When people don't use lanyards at ski-O events, they typically lose their E-cards.

If you're not familiar with the use of E-punching, see our User's Guide to Electronic Punching.

If you punch in at an electronic control box that doesn't beep or flash its red LED, use the attached hole punch to punch your map to verify that you visited that control.


All starts are scheduled on a first-come-first-serve basis between 10 AM and 12:30 PM. There are no pre-assigned start times. If you are caught in traffic and will be cutting it close to 12:30, call the event director (Tony Pinkham at 650-793-8764). Late starts can be accommodated so long as you finish by 2:30 PM (we have to start cleaning up at that time so that we can finish by the time the resort closes). It is easier to accommodate late starts for shorter courses than for longer courses.

Play it safe and plan to arrive at the resort between 9 and 10 AM. Typically, the best starting conditions are early in the morning. Also, an early arrival means not cutting it close when you encounter traffic or weather problems that slow down your commute. If the conditions are not to your liking early on, you can always wait until 12:30 at the latest for better conditions. If you are driving up on a competition day when it is snowing, expect that there will be major traffic delays and leave very early!

When you arrive at the starting area, give your name to the starter to receive a start time, then wait for the starter to call you up (or watch the clock at the starting area). You will be called up a couple minutes early so that you can insert your map into your map holder. You can look at your map at that time, but you cannot communicate any map or course information to others outside the starting box. When your time arrives, punch the START control and begin your course. Do not delay your start (the official at the start has the right to disqualify you for the event), as this provides you a competitive advantage over others and gets in the way of other competitors waiting to start (delays caused by obnoxious map holders and stormy weather are easily excepted).


Bring your own water. Typically, there is water at the Start/Finish area, but we do not put water on the course because it freezes and cannot be used or transported once that happens. Many people wear Camelback packs for quick easy access to water while skiing.


Food is typically available for purchase near the Start/Finish or registration/E-punch areas. At Bear Valley, you can ski a half mile to the trail cafe. Tahoe Donner, Royal Gorge, Northstar, Tahoe XC, and ASC have lodge cafes with limited food choices. If you want to save money, grocery shop for your food and leave it by registration while you ski. We are happy to let you store your things by registration or E-punch, but we take no responsibility for lost items.


We love to have volunteers help us. We need help with publicity, course setting, sign posting, beginner clinics, registration, starts and finishes, E-punch, and control pickup. If you can help on one or more of your competitive days, please let know before the events begin (we also accept drop-in help on each event day). If you arrange ahead of time to work an entire day, you will get a volunteer credit equal to your top competitive score for the championships (or second highest score for a second volunteer day). The first 10 volunteers who speak up get to stay in the volunteers cabins at Bear Valley (typically about $35 a night) and Soda Springs (typically about $15–20 a night) for Lake Tahoe.

Note: There is an increase in the cost of the Bear Valley hostel from $25 a night to $35 or so per night.


Many thanks to all who have signed on for the Ski-O volunteer cabins. If you are looking for accommodations at either Bear Valley or Tahoe, consider the following communities:

Bear Valley


(Preliminary) Course Stats

Click on the heading for each day to see more information about that day's event.

Day 1 – Bear Valley

   Course    Airline Dist.    Optimal Dist.    Climb
   White        2.3 km           4.1 km         15 m
   Orange       4.3 km           5.7 km         30 m
   Green        5.4 km           7.7 km         60 m
   Red          6.8 km          10.1 km        140 m
   Blue        10.1 km          14.0 km        185 m

Day 2 – Bear Valley

   Course    Airline Dist.    Optimal Dist.    Climb
   White        2.7 km           3.9 km         20 m
   Orange       4.4 km           6.5 km         50 m
   Green        5.5 km           8.4 km        110 m
   Red          7.1 km          11.4 km        185 m
   Blue         8.4 km          13.0 km        230 m

Day 3 – Tahoe Donner

   Course    Airline Dist.    Optimal Dist.    Climb
   White        3.0 km           4.3 km         60 m
   Orange       5.3 km           6.6 km        170 m
   Green        5.6 km           8.4 km        270 m
   Red          6.7 km          10.9 km        330 m
   Blue         8.0 km          13.2 km        380 m

Day 4 – Northstar

   Course    Airline Dist.    Optimal Dist.    Climb
   White        3.4 km           3.4 km         65 m
   Orange       5.3 km           5.7 km        110 m
   Green        4.6 km           7.0 km        140 m
   Red          7.1 km           9.7 km        180 m
   Blue         7.6 km          12.0 km        250 m

Day 5 – Royal Gorge

  Course    Airline Dist.    Optimal Dist.    Climb
   White        3.2 km           3.5 km         50 m
   Orange       5.8 km           9.0 km        135 m
   Green        7.7 km          12.0 km        220 m
   Red          8.6 km          14.0 km        235 m
   Blue        11.9 km          17.0 km        370 m

Day 6 – Auburn Ski Club

   Course    Airline Dist.    Optimal Dist.    Climb
   White        1.8 km           1.9 km         50 m
   Orange       3.8 km           4.4 km        120 m
   Green        4.9 km           5.5 km        160 m
   Red          5.7 km           6.5 km        210 m
   Blue         7.7 km           9.0 km        280 m

Day 7 – Tahoe Cross Country

   Course    Airline Dist.    Optimal Dist.    Climb    Controls
   White        3.0 km           3.2 km         40 m        7
   Orange       4.4 km           5.5 km         65 m        8
   Green        5.5 km           7.0 km         70 m        9
   Red          6.9 km          10.0 km        170 m       12
   Blue         9.1 km          13.3 km        200 m       16


The following people have pre-registered (and we know of at least 7 others who are coming):

Max Suter, TSN
Rosemary Johnson, BAOC
Bob Cooley, BAOC
Patty Clemo, BAOC
Bob Baylor, BAOC
Helene Gordon, BAOC
Alan Houser, BAOC
Oyvind Naess, Cascade
Chris Suter, Tucson OC
Donatas Ereminas, Truckee
Greg Walker, CSU
Raffael Huber, OLG Sauliamt
Sharon Crawford, RMOC
Ken Walker Sr, CSU
Peter Olsten, BAOC
Anndy Wiselogle, CROC
Sherry Timmerman, HOC
Paul Carson, HOC
Douglas Berling, RMOC
Nancy Lindeman, BAOC
Jane Ferguson, BAOC
Toby Ferguson, BAOC
Sally Nettleton
Nyles Nettleton
Katrina Etherington, BAOC
Shaun Etherington, BAOC
Mary Linkin
Peter Linkin
Alex Finch, BAOC
Barbara Finch, BAOC