Royal Gorge Ski-O, Sunday 2-Feb-03

by Tony Pinkham, meet director

We had a record ski-O crowd at Royal Gorge and perfect skiing conditions that lasted all day, which made for a very nice event despite problems with a misplaced trail and a mixup at E-punch.

Setup and Ski Conditions

Matthias Kohler designed the courses and we vetted them in January. We were a little concerned with the melting on the lower trails so we made a few adjustments to avoid an area that almost promised to be slushy for three of the courses. Fortunately, it snowed a few inches the day before the event while we were setting things up. It slowed down our setup, but we needed the snow, and we couldn't have been happier. We knew that the forecast called for clear weather the next day, which meant that we'd have perfect conditions for at least the morning of the event.

It turned out that we had perfect conditions throughout the day of the event. The trails were all freshly groomed early in the morning and the temperatures stayed low enough to prevent any melting throughout the very sunny day, which meant that we had perfect racing conditions throughout the event. We couldn't have asked for anything better.


The white course stayed on the easier beginner trails and offered beginning orienteers an opportunity to acquaint themselves to our maps while still having enough time to try the yellow course. The yellow course toured much of the inner area used by our courses and it used the more challenging beginner trails with some route selection for each control. The orange course followed a figure-8 pattern that took orienteers on the more challenging intermediate trails with plenty of distance and route selection. The green course covered longer distances and used some challenging hills and expert trails. The blue course used much of the green course and meandered throughout the area to find every navigational and ski challenge we could throw at our top ski orienteers. The blue course, unfortunately, had to be redesigned just before the event, which made for two climbs up "The Plunge"--our apologies--we really wanted one of those passes to go down the plunge.

Bushwacked Trails

Something that we learned at Burton Creek was to use red pin flags at the intersections of bushwacked and groomed trails. This alerts skiers that they've reached a mapped bushwacked trail (not always easy to discern when there are other bushwacked trails in the area).

One bushwacked trail was misplaced, and that caused problems on the green and blue courses between controls 85 and 70. On the map, control 70, which was in the correct location, was supposed to be on the bushwacked trail where it intersected the Wells Fargo trail, but the bushwacked trail was misplaced about 120 meters to the west, which made it impossible for participants to know where to go for the control if they took the bushwacked trail. It also made it unfairly difficult to determine the best route from control 70 to 88. Because the misplaced trail prevented proper use of the map, we decided to eliminate the two legs that were effected by it for the green and blue courses. This changed a couple of the placings for those courses. The yellow course also used this control but not in relation to the bushwacked trail so the control remained on the yellow course.

GO Control

We were concerned about the unusual number of people who did not punch in at the Go control. I checked that control unit and found it to be functioning without error. Most of those who I questioned forgot about the Go control as soon as they saw the finish at the other side of the large open area. A couple maintained that they had punched in but I couldn't get any verification of that, including at the control unit. Unfortunately, the two fastest people on the green course were disqualified for not being recorded at that control. Unless I have some unbiased verification that someone visited a control or that the control was not functioning properly, I have to see these cases as mispunches.


All courses used electronic punching, which normally makes running the event really easy for the organizers. Typically, you just need someone to register people, someone else to manage E-punch, and someone else to make sure all the starters get the right maps and stagger their starting times.

For this event, however, I had somehow mixed the clear and finish E-punch boxes, which caused the first 13 finishers to take a suspiciously long time punching in at the end of their courses. Fortunately, we figured out the problem relatively early and switched the punches used for the finish line. After the event, I rebuilt the records for the 13 finishers from the field punches. Unfortunately, this mixup prevented us from posting results at the event--my apologies to all the participants. Interestingly, I had joked about this possibility with others without thinking that it would ever happen at one of our events.

E-punch came to our rescue for the green and blue courses though. The misplaced trail would have meant throwing out the courses had we used manual punches. With E-punch, we merely through out the unfair legs and kept the rest of the legs, which had no problems.

Other problems

There was also a minor error in printing the blue course. Brenda Giese pointed out that the circle for control 12 nearly obscured a bushwacked trail that went to the control area. The original map that Matthias and I worked on in Condes didn't show that problem but the final printed map inadvertedly had that conflict. I need to be a little more careful and break the control circle if it looks like scaling will cause this problem again.


Events like this happen because of some tremendous efforts by some extremely resourceful people.


Split times for this event and standings for the 2003 California Ski_O Championships are also available.

  Pl  Name                     Time

White Course, Female    (3.70 km, 50 m, 8 controls)

      Vysniauskaile group       MSP   (#8)

White Course, Male      (3.70 km, 50 m, 8 controls)

   1  Karl Heins              1:11:50

      Antauas Rajeuas           MSP   (#8)
      Kopisch family (3)        MSP   (#8)

Yellow Course, Female   (5.80 km, 110 m, 10 controls)

   1  Trinka Gillis           1:03:13

      J & A Glouser            MSP    (#10)

Yellow Course, Male     (5.80 km, 110 m, 10 controls)

   1  Dreaper & Tatus         1:07:55
   2  George Dreaper          1:35:05
   3  Marthinsen & Barra      1:36:30
   4  Lincoln Cushing         1:40:59
   5  Houser & Gordon         1:41:09
   6  Sunny Tam               1:55:44

      Ashworth group (3)        MSP   (#10)

  Second Course

      Doug Bass                 56:08 (unofficial, no punch used)

Orange Course, Female   (10.50 km, 148 m, 10 controls)

   1  Vivian Lee              2:46:12
   2  Nancy Lindeman          3:25:55

Orange Course, Male     (10.50 km, 148 m, 10 controls)

   1  Blake Heckendorn        1:12:30
   2  Dan Greene              1:29:05
   3  Doug Bass               1:38:45
   4  Hiroshi Izuata          1:48:09
   5  Mel & Grant Glouser     2:09:10
   6  Bricker & Rubinfield    2:09:16
   7  Jeff Lanam              2:21:05
   8  Matt Holman             2:51:14

Green Course, Female    (11.40 km, 295 m, 10 controls)

   1  Dayle Lavine            1:46:20*

Green Course, Male      (11.40 km, 295 m, 10 controls)

   1  Adolf Jochnick          1:27:21* (punch lost after #8)
   2  Bjorn Widerstrom        1:34:31*
   3  Bob Cooley              1:51:15*
   4  Finn Arildsen           1:58:03*
   5  Rick Lavine             2:03:03*

      Tom Jahn                1:29:30 (unofficial, no punch used)

      Bob Baylor                MSP   (#10)
      Sean Coady                MSP   (#10)
      Jay Hann                  DNF

Blue Course, Female     (18.35 km, 406 m, 13 controls)

   1  Yelena Krasnov          1:42:53*
   2  Brenda Giese            2:08:29*

Blue Course, Male       (18.35 km, 406 m, 13 controls)

   1  Ben Wahlstrand          1:22:47*
   2  Alex Krasnov            1:25:47*
   3  Dan Stoll-Hadayia       1:28:06*
   4  Kent Ohlund             1:32:11*
   5  Vadim Masalkov          1:41:02*
   6  Juha Heinonen           1:44:16*
   7  Vladimir Gusiatnikov    1:46:19*
   8  Thorsten Graeve         1:50:42*
   9  Andrejus Masalkovas     2:11:18*

* These times adjusted for the removal of the legs going 
  to and from control 70.