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Bear Valley Ski-O

Date: (Sun.) Feb. 26, 2006
Location: near Arnold, CA
Event Director: - 650.793.8764
Course Setter: Thorsten Graeve
Type: Ski-O

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Event Write-Up

By Tony Pinkham

The Bear Valley ski-O event was the final event of the 2006 Sierra Ski-O Championships. Nearly all competitive classes in the championships were up for grabs, so the final placings were totally dependent on who showed up and how they performed.

Thorsten Graeve switched from his usual ski-O course setting at Burton Creek to set ski-O courses at Bear Valley this year. He designed the courses in Motala format, which meant that the advanced courses used more than one map. After each advanced-course competitor finished using one map, he or she would return to the start/finish area to get the next map or to finish. The white and orange courses used one map each. The green course used the orange map plus a green map. The red course used the orange map plus a red map. The blue course used the orange, green, and red maps.

The white course was designed for beginners. This 5.8 km course meandered the beginner and easier intermediate trails, and although it didn't offer route selections, it did require that the participants determine which trail to take at each intersection. Unlike previous years when we placed beginner controls at the junctions, this year the controls were on trails out of sight from the junctions. Melinda Johnson and Lauren Knight were the only participants on the course, with Melinda winning by 2 minutes with a time of 74:47. Lauren, however, maintained her first place ranking in the championships.

The orange course offered simple route choices on 8.1 km of intermediate trails, sometimes with long legs. Towards the end of the course, many of the participants passed through the start/finish area before punching in at their last two controls. Nancy Lindeman was the only finisher for the F55+ class and she ended up first for the class in the championships. Elliot Delaye finished first for the M-orange class with a time that was at least 23 minutes ahead of all others doing just that course (not counting those who did other courses as well).

The green course combined the 8.1-km orange course with a 3.6-km advanced course. The advanced portion included a ski up the Indian Rock trail then a fast ski down switch backs on one end of the Equipe trail, both considered to be easier advanced trails. Jeff Breidenback did this course for his first orienteering event and placed first with a time of 1:46:30. Patty Jo Struve, using snow shoes, placed second overall and first for her F40+ class. Bob Cooley placed third overall and first for his M55+ class.

The red course combined the 8.1-km orange course with a 7.4-km advanced course. The advanced portion included a ski up and down the rolling Headwaters trail and a fast trip down the steep and winding Walden Cutoff trail, which had at least one rock to avoid. Blake Heckendorn finished with the fastest time 1:13:08 and placed first in the championships for M-red. Kent Ohlund finished second with a time of 1:19:25 and placed first in the M40+ class. Stephen Miller, Grant Sisler, and Jay Hann placed third, fourth, and fifth, respectively. Trinka Gillis placed 6th overall and first for the F-21+ class.

The blue course combined the 8.1-km orange course with the 3.6-km green addition and the 7.4-km addition for a total of 19.1 km. Four men in the M-21+ class and two women in the new Amazon class braved this course with a storm advancing on the area. Bret Sarnquist finished first in an impressive 1:16:17 to protect his first place ranking in the championships. Neil Hunt, racing on his home snow, placed second. Julie Raymond, also racing on her home snow, placed third overall and maintained her first place ranking in the championships for the Amazon class.

With a storm approaching fast towards the end of the event, we cancelled the awards ceremony to let everyone escape early. While Bob Baylor and Brenda Giese worked out the final championship standings, the winds picked up and the snow began to fall. At one point, a gust of wind blew so hard that it picked up the E-punch tent and crashed it in the nearby snow. Fortunately, we were able to wrap things up quickly and got everyone out of there before the worst of the storm hit the area.

Many thanks go to Thorsten Graeve for finding time in a very busy schedule to set courses for this event. He also ran the start finish area and picked up controls afterwards. Bob Baylor, who was recovering from injuries acquired at the Royal Gorge ski-O event, was unable to race but provided tremendous help all day long at registration, E-punch download, and control pickup. Bob Cooley fixed up our maps with legends and printed all our maps. Blake and Jennifer Heckendorn, and Matthias Kohler braved the oncoming storm to help pick up the controls. Trinka Gillis managed the E-punch operations and ironed out various E-punch problems encountered throughout the event. Brenda Giese managed the Sierra Ski-O Championships results before, during, and after the event (if there hadn't been a storm, her work would have made the awards ceremony possible). Jay Hann provided his digital camera on a tripod for photographing participants coming in to the map exchange and finish areas (many of these photos are being sent to Orienteering North America, the BAOC Bulletin, and our Web page). Alan Houser searched the Bear Valley village for much needed string for making map holders just before the event started.

Next year, the two-day Bear Valley ski-O event will kick off the 2007 Sierra Ski-O Week, which will include 7 ski-O events in 9 days, with the last two events probably being the US Ski-O Championships. Discounts will be available through preregistration (check the BAOC Web page and Orienteering North America in the Spring for more information).


Bear Valley Ski-O

Bear Valley Cross Country, near Arnold, CA
Sunday, February 26, 2006

  Pl  Name                         Class     Time

White Course    (5.8 km, 75 m, 8 controls)

   1  Melinda Johnson             F-White   1:14:47
   2  Lauren Knight               F-White   1:16:45

Orange Course   (8.1 km, 110 m, 7 controls)

   1  Elliott Delaye              M-Orange    58:17
   2  Bill Wright                 M-Orange  1:21:06
   3  Chris Hann                  M-Orange  1:24:02
   4  Shawna Mitchell             F-Orange  1:33:23
   5  Jennifer Heckendorn         F-Orange  1:40:32
   6  Patty Clemo                 F-Orange  1:41:26
   7  Dan Greene                  M-Orange  1:47:24
   8  Helene Gordon, Alan Houser  M-Orange  2:33:07
   9  Nancy Lindeman              F55+      2:46:29

Green Course    (11.7 km, 160 m, 10 controls)

   1  Jeff Breidenbach            M-Green   1:46:30
   2  Patty Jo Struve             F40+      1:58:37
   3  Bob Cooley                  M55+      2:13:49

Red Course      (15.5 km, 200 m, 12 controls)

   1  Blake Heckendorn            M-Red     1:13:08
   2  Kent Ohlund                 M40+      1:19:25
   3  Stephen Miller              M40+      1:24:20
   4  Grant Sisler                M-Red     1:44:53
   5  Jay Hann                    M40+      2:14:45
   6  Trinka Gillis               F-21+     2:16:59
   7  Bjorn Widerstrom            M-Red     2:19:38
   8  Mark Manning                M-Red     2:26:14

Blue Course     (19.1 km, 250 m, 15 controls)

   1  Bret Sarnquist              M-21+     1:16:17
   2  Neil Hunt                   M-21+     1:29:21
   3  Julie Raymond               Amazon    1:31:53
   4  Matthias Kohler             M-21+     1:33:23
   5  Mikkel Conradi              M-21+     1:35:25
   6  Brenda Giese                Amazon    2:13:31