Royal Gorge Ski-O

Feb. 7,1999 (GCO event)

by Neeme Loorits, participant

Thanks to the people who made it happen despite some serious snowfall!

I have to say that it was still very good skiing considering all the fresh snow and above zero (C) temperature. It was fairly windy at the pass itself where the start/finish were, but it was not at all descriptive of the rest of the course that was completely in the forest much lower than the pass. It had snowed for some 2 days in a row so the trails, although groomed before and during the competition, were fairly soft. I had decided already a week before that I would skate, no matter what the conditions or trails were, because of the foolish attept that I had made at Bear Valley, to use classical style. No matter what some people may say, my opinion is that the 'no-wax' skis have a serious gliding problem (they just don't). So equipped with some short skating skis (the only kind they have at RG) off I went and realized right away that I was going much faster than at BV. (Actually, started off a little too fast and had to take it easy to make it through 11 km.)

To my surprise, after some fast skiing to control 1 (downhill) I actually had to stop to read the map, and that (map reading that is) continued pretty much all the way to finish. That was very different from BV where you could just make a mental note where the next control was and not to look at the map before after the control. I guess the difference comes from the complexity of the trail network.

Instead of Green and Blue courses that were planned but were snowed in, we had a combination of Yellow+White. Yellow course dropped down to valley first and then snaked gradually back up to finish. Toward the end I met the trail machine (what's the official word?) and (surprise!) I could suddenly ski twice as fast (it seemed). White course was technically easier because we had already seen most of the white controls, but physically, boy, that second half going up a trail that was ungroomed since the early morning, that was tough. Was that really White?

Above freezing temperature and the snow that turned to water as it came in contact with clothes sure created bizarre conditions for skiing, but I have to say, it was better than say -15C and blizzard, which would be your average skiing weather in Estonia. (Ok, I may be exaggerating, but the point is, the weather was actually not bad.)

I encourage everyone to come try Ski-O in April at Royal Gorge. I think it's more fun than regular orienteering - 'cause you dont have to run! Ok, that's a joke. :)