Ski Orienteering Season Opener
Almost five years ago someone had a great idea. Why not have a ski orienteering meet before the December Holidays to take some of the pressure off during January and February's tight calendar. For four seasons now a group of us from Empire Orienteering Club have tried scheduling an early event at Lapland Lake Resort.
We finally did it! With a combination of a later date (the Sunday before Christmas) and early snows this season the Hirvonens were able to have their entire trail network open on December 22. Early morning temperatures were in the twenties and we had a dusting of light snow over an icy base. Conditions were ideal for skating on most of the trails. The cut-offs were not well skied in giving early course vetters Steven Sweet II (home from the Air Force Academy on the Red course) and Steve Sweet Sr (on the Green course) an additional challenge.
Temperatures rose well above freezing by 1 pm and slowed conditions somewhat, but it proved a fine opportunity to get in an early ski O qualifier.
A total of 39 groups and individuals started. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of the Winter wonderland type conditions or participants who enjoyed the event.
Both EMPO and the Lapland Lake organization got good feedback from the event. There was some confusion early in the registration trying to determine who had season passes and who had paid trail fees (included in the event registration fee). Once that was straightened out all went smoothly.
Many thanks to the Sweets, Bill Jameson (who was pressed into being an early start official), and to Mike George who collected most of the controls and to the crew at Lapland Lake for providing the excellent venue!
One suggestion was made and has merit. If we scheduled it earlier in the day we would have encountered less interference with Lapland's normal customer flow (heaviest from noon to mid afternoon). We would have enjoyed faster ski conditions and would have had more time to collect controls before dark. We would also have more time for a contingency if we had to go looking for a participant before dark. Finally, even with the best of intentions pre-holiday activities were such that I was not able to have sufficient copies of the courses prior to the event. No one objected to copying (before the clock started), but the customary one minute map preview before the start of a championship event was not practical.
With such good participation and enthusiasm, I hope we are able to do an early season event again in the future.
-- Eric Hamilton
last updated: --Thu May 27 2004 07:58:28 PM EDT--