Terry Allard punches through toward a M-18 win.

Terry Allard punches through toward a M-18 win.

Warm rain on an accumulation of cold snow is not good.  Until mid December Lapland Lake Resort in Benson, NY had received over 16 inches of cold snow.  By cold I mean that the temperatures had been in the single digits when it snowed.  I used my best skate skis to set out controls on Wednesday as additional snow accumulated.  I found the trails immaculately groomed by Olympian Olavi Hirvonen and his newest grooming equipment.

A warm drizzle developed over Friday night and showers were predicted for Saturday.  It was raining as I set out the remaining controls on Saturday morning as the snow changed to “mashed potatoes”.   My skate skis with polar glide wax still worked reasonably well, but I noticed strange things happened when I “bushwhacked”.  The cold dry snow under the surface would accumulate on my wet skis.  As long as I could see my ski tips bushwhacking still remained a viable route choice.  Because of the slow skiing conditions I was unable to finish hanging the controls until 10:30 AM, so the first start was delayed from that which was advertised.

The open area south of the lodge and the slope up to the lodge were sufficient for a practice and warm up area.  There were three courses:

  • Yellow – 2.6 k (straight line distance) with 9 controls for M & F -18, and F55+
  • Green – 5.5 k with 14 controls for M 55+ and F 40+ and
  • Red – 7.9 k with 17 controls for M & F 19+.  Those on the red course had two maps.

The rain continued as the 14 competitors started and as the winter solstice occurred, shortly after noon, fog and pockets of warm, mild air moved through the woods further complicating navigation.  By the time we finished collecting the controls you could find rocks poking through the slushy trails in a few locations.

Results are summarized  and additional pictures are posted on line.

I want to thank Travis Koziol for helping hang the last few controls, Gabor Bobok for handling registration and chip timing, Aims Coney and Pavel Korniliev for their help retrieving controls after the meet, and Ann and Olavi Hironen for their hospitality.  This is the first in three years that we have had sufficient snow for the season opener. My only regret is that more people didn’t join us for a “Finn-tastic” season kick off.


I would like to share what dates I have been given so far for Ski-O events this coming winter. Please let me know if you have or are planning any more.

Dec. 21      Lapland Lake

Dec 31      Garnet Hill

Jan 19      Mendon Ponds

Jan 26     Byrncliff

Feb 8 or 9      Empire State Games – Paul Smiths VIC

Mar 1 or 2    NYSSRA Championships     Mt. Van Hoevenburg

March 8    Mid-Atlantic Bill Koch Festival      Lapland Lake

Mar 14-16     U.S. Championships      Trapp Family Lodge,  Stowe, VT

Chris Frielinghaus, NYSSRA Ski-O Chair


A New Season

The ski orienteering season will start with an event at Lapland Lake Resort on Saturday, December 21, 2013.  The best way to prepare for ski orienteering is to practice foot orienteering in the fall.  Most of our local orienteering clubs in N Y State hold 3 or 4 events in the fall.  It is easy to find the club in your area online just a click away.   Personally, I find competition at my age level requires some advanced navigational skills.  These skills become a real asset when I put on my skis and hit the white stuff.  In fact, I find navigating on a map in ski orienteering competition to be relatively easy after one or two fall orienteering events.

Try one in your area.

What is new this season?  We have a new map for a Championship event at the Visitor Information Center at Paul Smiths thanks to Janet Findlay and David Hunter.  They are also mapping the snow shoe trails at Mt Hoevenburg.  The biggest change is Chris Frielinghaus is the new ski orienteering chair for the N Y S Ski Racing Association – Nordic.  He can be reached at cfrielinghaus[at]roadrunner[dot]com or 97 Mannis Road, Queensbury, NY 12804 or (518) 793-9031.  Contact him with ideas you may have to improve the sport or increase participation in the sport we all love: the thinking sport.

Again this year ski orienteering was off to a late start, because of lack of snow cover for a Lapland Lake season opener in mid December. But snow conditions were excellent later in the month at Garnet Hill.

I would like to thank the following who organized and pulled off successful ski orienteering events:

  • Aims Coney at Garnet Hill, North River on December 30;
  • Jim Russell at Mendon Ponds, Mendon on January 20 (“might not be ski”);
  • Patty Lyons at Byrncliff, Varysburg on January 27; and
  • Phil Hawkes-Teeter at Pine Ridge, East Poestenkill on February 23.

David Hunter set up permanent ski orienteering courses at Mount Van Hoevenburg, Lake Placid and made sure a supply of maps were available at the Ski Lodge.

Perhaps the biggest ski orienteering event of the season was the Snowgaine at Happy Valley Wildlife Management Area, Williamstown, on March 2 and 3. By numbers of participants the most successful ski orienteering events are the demonstration events with the NENSA and Mid Atlantic Bill Koch Youth Festivals. As Mitch Collinsworth points out these numbers are in the hundreds and each kid has one or more parent. The challenge is to figure out how to tap into some of that to revive this sport.

Although conditions up to the week before Empire State Winter Games were dubious, there was sufficient snow by February 10 to hold an event at Dewey Mountain in Saranac Lake. This was a team effort by Phil and Susan Hawkes-Teeter, David and Lin Grandjeans, Jill Koziol and I and others including the management at Dewey Mountain that really paid off with a quality event.
The NYSSRA – Nordic Ski Orienteering Championships at Saratoga Biathlon in Day on March 10 was a success. This was also a team effort by the Hawkes-Teeter, Hamilton team with help by the Schreiners.The NYSSRA – Nordic Ski Orienteering Team is an honorary title bestowed on the season points leaders are:

  • Bryn Holmes F-16
  • Hannah Fransico F-18
  • Stina Bridgeman F19+
  • Cindy Gretzinger F40+
  • Ellie George F55+
  • Judy Johnson F70+
  • Tyler Koziol M-16
  • Terry Allard M-18
  • Pavel Korniliev M19+
  • Doug Swank M40+
  • Phil Hawkes-Teeter M55+

Thanks to Janet Findlay and David Hunter we have a new map of the Visitor Information Center (VIC) at Paul Smiths. Not only will this provide a unique ESWG experience next season, but the ESWG organizers will be delighted that we are using another venue in another north country municipality who partially sponsor the ESWG.

I would also like to thank the editor of Orienteering North America for including a story and photographs about ski orienteering in New York State in the March/April issue. This should give a boost to the sport by encouraging the legions who foot orienteer to try the Nordic version of the sport.

Season disappointments beside the less than stellar snow conditions included:

  • A lack of a season schedule before December, (my fault due to lack of persistence);
  • No male 70 and over on the points list;
  • The Empire State Winter Games continue to be too early in the season to be a true championship event. The dates also overlap the historic date that CNYO hosts the popular Zoofari Ski O in Utica.

I would like to nominate Janet Findlay and Chris Freilinghaus to co-chair the ski orienteering committee. I think that with the community’s support, the leadership and novel approach to the sport leadership will take the sport in a new and positive direction. One of my tasks is to outline what I do and what should be done and circulate it for committee discussion in a couple of weeks.

Going for Silver

Going for Silver

The 2013 Empire State Winter Games is now a memorable experience and history.  Ski Orienteering was a fine example of what can be done with dubious weather and snow conditions right up until the day before the event.  The host organizations have posted the results. They don’t tell half the story.

As usual after a successful event like this I kick myself for not getting more pictures that capture the best of the sport.  I did get this shot of my grandson, Travis, as he was navigating to his first control.  You can see he was squinting into the sun as he traveled south on the map.  But you might also see some frustration there as well.  The first control was not where he thought it should be and grandpa was not helping him.

Empire State Winter Games


Many thanks to Phil Hawkes-Teeter for running the electronic equipment, Sue Hawkes-Teeter for athlete check-in, David and Lin Grandjeans for help on the start line and back-up timing, Cindy Gretzinger and Pavel Korniliev for help collecting controls, and Jill Koziol with logistic support.  Thanks also to the Town of Harrietstown one of the coalition that makes the ESWG possible and their Dewey Mountain manager Steve Doxson and groomer Jason Smith.

Empire State Winter Games


You are invited to compete in the 2013 Empire State Winter Games, February 9, at Dewey Mountain in Saranac Lake.   As was the case last year qualification rules are quite liberal and inclusive.  Further, due to the lackluster weather conditions this year, anyone who has experience orienteering and has any degree of confidence in their ability to navigate on cross country skis is eligible to compete at Empire State Winter Games. Please pass the word.

You must register for ESWG on line, AND you must e-mail me the OUSA class you want to compete within (see below) and, if you have one, your dibbler/chip/stick number. If you do not have a dibbler/chip/stick we will make every effort to get you one for a nominal rental fee. You will be responsible to replace the dibbler/chip/stick if lost.

When registering for ESWG you have three choices for class: scholastic, open and masters. Awards will be in the following OUSA age classes:

Marty punching through

Electronic timing will be used.

  • 16 and under (-16) [scholastic]
  • 18 and under (-18) [scholastic]
  • 19 and over (19+) [open]
  • 40 and over (40+) [masters]
  • 55 and over (55+) [masters]
  • 70 and over (70+) [masters]

Age is determined as of December 31, 2012.

If you want to compete in ESWG register now, send me the needed extra information, and e-mail me with questions about eligibility. Season points you garner at the ESWG will be doubled for the NYSSRA – Nordic team ranking system. Also, consider this a qualifier for the NYSSRA – Nordic Championship Ski O at Saratoga Biathlon in Day, Sunday afternoon March 10, 2013.

Anyone competing in the ESWG Ski Orienteering may NOT ski at Dewey Mountain between now and February 9, except as a part of a scheduled competitive event and then only on the course of the scheduled event. Anyone who chooses to ignore this rule will NOT be eligible for an ESWG medal.

The Ski Orienteering event schedule is February 9: check in any time after 12 noon. Pre-race meeting will be at 12:45 and the first start will be at 1 PM. Awards will be presented at 3 PM or as soon as possible thereafter.

I hope to see you there!

2012 Season Report

Like other Nordic ski sports the 2011/2012 ski orienteering season was challenging. The necessity for more rigorous planning than other Nordic disciplines, makes this past season more frustrating. Of a dozen events scheduled only six were held and one of those ended up an un-scoreable foot orienteering event.

Getting a feeling for the site

Gleaning basics from the site map in the practice area.

The Empire State Winter Games were earlier in the season than they have been historically. The successful event at Dewey Mountain, Saranac Lake became a “regular season” event with a festival atmosphere thanks to the Lake Placid Visitor and Convention Bureau and ORDA.

Achievements – With all the disappointments of the season we had some great achievements only dreamed of in the past:

  • There were some new faces in the sport, especially in the youth classes.
  • We have a new map: Pine Ridge Nordic Ski Center in the Capital District Area.
  • The new competitive class system (consistent with OUSA) was well received.
  • The NYSSRA – Nordic Championship included a well attended ski orienteering event.

The 2012 NYSSRA – Nordic Ski Orienteering Team was named (the green hats) from season points list leaders:

2012 Points Leaders

Points Leaders Sarah Duclos, Amy Duclos, Brian Chrzan, David Hunter (behind), Ellie George, Len Cormier, Phil Hawkes-Teeter, Sue Hawkes-Teeter and Janet Findlay. Photo by Mary Duclos

Len Cormier (M70+)
Sue Hawkes-Teeter (F55+)
Phil Hawkes-Teeter (M55+)
Ellie George (F40+)
Doug Swank (M40+)
Janet Findlay (F19+)
David Hunter (M19+)
Sarah Duclos (F-18)
Brian Chrzan (M-18)
Amy Duclos (F-16)
Tyler Koziol (M-16)

For next season I recommend:

  • No change to the championship qualifying rules, competitive classes, points list, or the way we calendar the season. If ESWG can be later it could be a championship.
  • Encourage more involvement:
  1. Mapping new areas (a map of the Paul Smith’s VIC has high priority)
  2. Hosting and officiating events
  3. Participants (in all classes including youth)
  • A prologue ski orienteering event for the Championships should be considered for late Friday afternoon, but this requires a second course setter and officials crew so not to jeopardize quality of the Championship event.
  • A new NYSSRA Ski Orienteering chairman is needed to provide new, more imaginative ideas and more youthful enthusiasm.
  • A $2 head tax should be collected at all events to offset championship costs.
  • First event of the season will be at Lapland Lake on either Dec 15 or 16, 2012.
  • January 2013 (preferably a Saturday) Ski O at Pine Ridge
  • U S Ski Orienteering Championships a possibility in February 2014

I would like to thank everyone who helped out during the season planning events that did not happen; making things work in marginal conditions; helping with ESWG; and especially at the NYSSRA – Nordic Championships.

The floor is open for nominations for NYSSRA – Nordic Ski Orienteering chairman.