Snow conditions: depth 12'; snowing 1"-2" per hour; conditions slightly wet, new snow; temperature 0-1 C, 32-34 F; wax "violet"
Due to the prevailing snowfall and the chain requirements on both directions of I-80, it was a small but hardy group of skiers and orienteerers gathering at the Summit Lodge of Royal Gorge. Many GCO and BAOC members wouldn't attempt the arduous ways to get up to Royal Gorge in time. Below are the complete results.
We had set a WHITE course with a climb of 90 m and about 7 km (of ideal choice path; no bushwhacking except in designated areas). We had also set a 20-control SCORE-O. The control point value, depending on difficulty or time consumption to reach, varied from 1 to 6 points, with a total of 70 points max collectible. Two time limits were offered: 105 min. or 70 min., with 2 penalty points per minute exceeding chosen time limit. Ideal path for visiting all 20 controls would be about 20km, with a climb of 340m. We were using a new topographical 1:15,000 map.
Typically the orienteering element is not difficult in a Ski Score-O format, but because of the great many route choices in the Royal Gorge, very extensive trail network quick decision challenges prevail - and you better be right. "Short cuts" are generally quite steep. We had estimated that the very best skier(s) and orienteerer(s) would have been able to visit all 20 controls within 105 min., if skiing the "ideal" route.
As it turned out, however, this was not the case on Feb. 1. The conditions were not ideal, and the continued snowfall became a great "equalizer" between the normally faster skaters and the traditional striders. This became quite noticeable in the results list. Royal Gorge's maintenance crew and machinery were working valiantly to keep trails reasonably passable, but it was tough to reach all the trails timely. Tracks filled up pretty quick, and this made route choice and time/speed estimation extra difficult for all participants in the SCORE-O disciplines. For the WHITE Course, it didn't make that much difference.
In the 105 minute SCORE-O race, Jan Tore Nygaard, an emigrant Norwegian, skied a carefully planned race and collected 58 points in 102 min 52 sec. No doubt a great result under the prevailing conditions. Dave Burton collected 45 points in conservative 99 min. (He cursed himself a bit for not trying for some additional controls; doubt, however, that he would have reached 58 points within the time limit!) Michael Poulsen, the meet director at Bear Valley's SKI-O race the week before, finally got to race too. He captured BRONZE at 39 points in 96 min 55 sec. (Mike wondered quietly why he didn't go for two more controls).
On the 105 min course, last year's winner, Lans Taylor, normally a terrific skater, had to stride in many places and got caught in a time squeeze, collected some penalty points for overtime, and dropped down to 5th place. Drew Kelling was the only finisher on the 70 min course.
Angelica Riley captured ladies 1st place with 34 points, including 12 penalty points for overtime. Well done! Anna Sterner, a Swedish student at U Nev, dominated the WHITE Course at 28.21 - a very good time. Tav Strait, completely new to "O", was best among the men at 39.31.
Next year, now that we have a quality topographic map, we will set traditional Ski-O courses. We are even talking about arranging a possibly two-day California Championship meet - in fact, why not a Western US Championship! And we are talking about a "third" Ski-O meet in late March or April next year, allowing "bushwhacking" on hard packed snow, which could make for some very interesting orienteering. That may give us an opportunity to crown the overall best Ski-Oer between BAOC and GCO.
A great thank you to Royal Gorge for all their assistance and generosity. Their awards, including "gourmet dinner for two" at the nearby Rainbow Lodge, to so many winners and finishers were most appreciated. And thanks to Tony, Mike, Drew, and others for all the help!
LONG SCORE-O [105-minute time limit]Name Points Time Gross Net Men 1. Jan Tore Nygaard 58 58 102 min 52 sec 2. Dave Burton 45 45 99 min 3. Mike Poulsen 39 39 96 min 55 sec 4. Wyatt Riley 46 34 111 min 5. Lans Taylor 53 33 114 min 24 sec 6. Adolf Jochnick 34 30 106 min 13 sec 7. Charlie Fox 41 17 117 min 8. Tony Pinkham 34 12 116 min Women 1. Angelica Riley 46 34 111 min 2. Lynne Mac Kenzie 30 30 101 min 5 sec 3. Chelsea Taylor 25 1 117 min SHORT SCORE-O [70-minute time limit] Men 1. Drew Kelling 13 13 70 min Women 1. Clea Sanquist 13 13 62 min 34 sec WHITE COURSE Men 1. Tav Streit 39 min 31 sec 2. Frank Andel & Dave McCamant 71 min 07 sec Falk Cummin DNF Crima Pogge DNF Simon DNF Women 1. Anna Sterner 28 min 21 sec 2. Clea & Janis Sanquist 52 min 51 sec 3. Julie Turickell 101 min 07 sec 4. Monica Gyulai 101 min 54 sec Bridget & Belinda DNF Virginia Bowen DNF