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Loppet Ski Orienteering FAQ


What is Orienteering?

Orienteering is the skill of finding one's way through a series of checkpoints on an unfamiliar course using a map and a compass. Typically a course is set in a park and the participants are timed as they complete it. Orienteering challenges both mind and body. The key to orienteering is the ability to make wise decisions, while running or walking through a course. Out on the course, you must make decisions and calculations; reading the map, recognizing the terrain, choosing routes, setting the compass, and sometimes counting paces. This mental challenge makes orienteering consistently stimulating.

The basics can be learned in half an hour, but you can spend a lifetime honing your skills. The equipment is simple and inexpensive, the conditioning necessary is modest, the primary skills easy, the rewards many.

What are the rules of Ski-Orienteering?

  • You may use classic or skate skis (tracks will not be set on most of the course)

  • You must keep your ski gear (skis, poles, and boots) with you at all times.

  • It is allowable to remove your skis and run with them.

  • You may either use the groomed ski trails or bushwhack off trail

  • Controls must be punched in order

  • IMPORTANT! One-way traffic: skiing on the Wirth snowmaking loop is one-way. There is a specified direction that skiers must go, and this applies to the orienteering event as well. This is for your safety, and the safety of other participants. There will be other events occurring at the same time as the Ski-O, and for everyone’s safety it is CRITICAL that this rule be followed. Skiing the wrong direction may result in disqualification. Directional arrows are provided on the maps. Another way to know you are going the correct direction is the location of the classic ski tracks - they should always be on your right. An exception to the one-way rule is on a number of  small short connector trails between the main trails. On the map, these do not have directional arrows, and may be skied either direction. Racers may also travel in any direction when off of the groomed ski trails.


What types of skis are acceptable?

Classic and skate skis are acceptable for the event.  Most competitors at international competitions use skate skis.


How long is the event?

The Loppet Ski Orienteering event will have a short and a long course option.  The short course is typically 4-5k and the long course is 8-9k.


Where is the start location?

Start location is defined in the email you used to reach this page.


What time do I have to show up for this event?

You should plan to arrive in plenty of time to find parking and be at the start line in plenty of time in order to assemble and hear any last minute instructions.  We are expecting you at the start location 20 minutes prior to your start time. 


What else should I know if I want to try Ski-Orienteering?

You may want to bring a simple plate compass (about $16 at local sporting goods stores)

You should think about a way to carry the map that you will be provided. The map will be sealed in a clear plastic map bag. You may want to use duct tape to attach the map bag to a lanyard that you can slip over your head.

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