What is Ski Orienteering?
Ski Orienteering is a well developed sport in Europe and has spread to other countries; it was introduced to Australia on a structured basis in 1994. Australian skiers have taken part in major overseas events, both participant and competitive, including the world championships in Norway 1996 and Austria 1998. Ski-O was a demonstration sport at the 1998 Olympic Games in Nagano, Japan, with the aim of inclusion in the official programme from 2002 in Salt Lake City, USA.
How Does it Work?
The main idea is to ski to controls marked on your map, in correct order. All of the controls are on tracks or on mapped features off-track and accessible on skis.
Isn't it very easy to ski along tracks made by other ski orienteers who started before you? Well, it's not as easy as you might think. It may seem that ski orienteering is very simple, you only have to ski from one control to another. However, there are usually different possible routes between controls. So, the idea is to select the best route, considering:
- Length of the route
- Track classification:
It's faster and easier to ski continuous good quality tracks as much as possible.
- Climbing and hills:
Check contours when choosing your route. It's often faster and easier to ski a longer route over flat terrain than to go a shorter route over hills.
Is it worth cutting across unpacked snow?
After choosing the best route from one control to another you must ski the route as fast as possible. There may be many track junctions on the way so you must be careful not to make a mistake.
When you reach the control, first check the control code to see that it is correct - if not, that control is not yours. If the number is correct, you stamp your control card with the punch hanging from it. (The punches have different patterns so the organizer can be sure you have reached the right controls).