TeamUSA: WOC Team Trials update

The National Team ESC has announced that races at the 42nd West Point National Ranking Event weekend will serve as team trials to select a team to compete at the World Orienteering Championships to be held June 26-30 in Denmark.

This year’s WOC will be a ‘sprint-WOC’ featuring a Sprint Relay, Knockout Sprint and Individual Sprint events. As such, the Saturday afternoon sprint (4/23) at Trophy Point will be one of two trials races for team hopefuls. An additional Friday sprint (4/22) is scheduled (pending permitting) to be held at Fort Tryon Park in New York City to serve as the second trials race.

Additional information regarding the Friday sprint will be forthcoming as details are confirmed. At this time only Red & Blue courses will be offered and may be open to non-trialers pending decision of the organizers. Of course the full slate of sprint courses on offer as part of the S/M/L event at West Point are open to all.

Board Adopts RUS/BLR Policy

Orienteering USA supports the recently announced IOF suspensions of the Russian and Belarusian member federations due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. At a special Board meeting held on March 21st, 2022, the Orienteering USA Board adopted the following policy to clarify how these suspensions will affect participation in events sanctioned by Orienteering USA.

Whereas the IOF has suspended the RUS and BLR federations, OUSA adopts the following policy:

1. Participation in OUSA-sanctioned NREs representing Russia and Belarus – the nations, their orienteering federations, and/or clubs affiliated with those federations – is not permitted.

2. Participants displaying symbols that identify them with the states of Russia or Belarus, the Russian or Belarusian Orienteering Federation, or one of their affiliated clubs are subject to disqualification.

3. This policy shall be automatically revoked with respect to each federation if and when the IOF restores the full membership rights of that federation.

Approved March 21, 2022

A copy of this policy can be found in the OUSA Library. The IOF has also published this FAQ concerning the suspensions.

DVOA Big Woods Recap

March 19-20, 2022

  • Event Website
  • Event Director: Mark Frank
    • Registrar: Janet Tryson
    • OUSA Course Consultant: Eric Weyman
    • French Creek North Course Setter: Glen Tryson
    • Coventry Woods Course Setter: Petr Hartman
  • Day 1: French Creek North
  • Day 2: Coventry Woods

Saturday Photos

Saturday Media

Sunday Photos

Sunday Media

World Ski-O Championships: Day 2 – Pursuit

US Ski-Orienteers Performances Continue to Improve on the 2nd Day of the World Ski-Orienteering Championships and European Youth Championships.

The 2022 World Ski-Orienteering Championships and European Youth Ski-Orienteering Championships are taking place in the North of Finland in Kemi this week. The men’s race on Wednesday, March 16th, 2022 was a long pursuit race. In a pursuit race racers start the amount of time they were behind the leader in the previous race which was a sprint. The men’s race was noteworthy for starting with skiers skiing up a downhill area, thus pulses were very high from the very first seconds of the race. The race had three loops.

The men’s race was won by Jörgen Backlid of Norway in 69:02 (his time for day 2 was 57:08) who had been in the lead of the sprint race until he made a small mistake of about 15 seconds near the end and ended up in 4th place 7 seconds behind the winner. Tuomas Kotro of Finland was second and Nicola Mueller of Switzerland had an impressive race ending third. Chris Burnham of Stowe, VT, who is coming off of an impressive 2nd place finish in the American Brikebeiner classic ski marathon which had over 1600 participants, had a solid race. Chris was 47th in the long pursuit race and the top American man with a day 2 time of 83:09. Chris commented, “I was happy that the race was longer today than yesterday as I enjoy and do better at longer races. Some of the mazes of small trails were really dense and thus quite difficult.”

American Nikolay Nachev from Seattle, WA was 52nd with a day 2 time of 102:15. The mazes also stood out to Nikolai who commented, “The gentle slope with no wide tracks was like the Bermuda Triangle. You go in there and you don’t know whether you are going to get out.” The men’s race was noteworthy for starting at the bottom of a downhill ski slope which the athletes had to ski up making a great spectacle for spectators. Many thought this was a somewhat harsh to start a race like this, but Chris and Nikolai who both like tough races were excited by this intensive start to the race. One can watch the races on web-TV at:

The European Youth Ski-Orienteering Championships had a middle distance race today. The race was won by Pyry Riissanen from Finland in 18:01. American Erik Fey had an impressive race, especially given that he is 13 years old and racing in the 17 and under class, ending 18th in a time of 23:24. These European Championship races are Erik’s first time racing internationally for the US. Erik was excited to be solidly competitive and in front of some skiers from top nations like Sweden. Erik commented, “It has been a great experience to race at the European Youth Ski-Orienteering Championships. I love the feeling of flying along the narrow trails with quick turns. I am very pleased with my race today, but I did have one 15 second mistake early in the race. Being here really motivates me to train harder for future years. I am really looking forward to racing in these races in a few years when I am 17.”

Tomorrow will be a rest day and then the races continue with a middle distance race for World Championships and a long distance race for the European Youth Ski-Orienteering Championships on Friday. However, being only 13 Erik has opted not to race in the long race this year. He says he looks forward to hopefully trying that next year….

Press Release courtesy Carl Fey

US Ski-Orienteering Team opens the 2022 World Championships / European Youth Championships with Solid Performances

The 2022 World Ski-Orienteering Championships and European Youth Ski-Orienteering Championships are taking place in the North of Finland in Kemi this week. In the men’s class Chris Burnham coming off of an impressive 2nd place finish in the American Brikebeiner classic ski marathon had a solid race. The race was won by Ville Petteri Saarela from Finland in 11:47 one second ahead of Tuomas Kotro of Finland and three seconds ahead of Rasmus Wickbom of Sweden. Chris Burnham of Stowe, VT was the top American finisher in 51 st place in 17:50.

When asked about his race Chris commented, “It was a solid race for me. I am happy there were quite a few wide skating trails. The terrain was not as steep as I had expected compared to looking at the old map of the area, but there were never-the-less some real hills.” Chris also indicated that he was looking forward to the longer races to come later in the week as he normally does better in longer races. When asked by the TV production crew about an interesting fact about himself yesterday Chris explained that when he is not skiing his job is computer programing of underwater robots which sounds very interesting.

Tim Lundberg of Sweden won the Boys European Youth Ski-Orienteering Championships 9:23. Erik Fey from the USA was 24th in 12:22. When asked about his race Erik commented, “Since I am 13 years old and race in the 17 and under category, my coach and I decided that my main goals for this year would be to gain experience and not make any mistakes in the race larger than 15 seconds. I am happy that I managed to do that.” Erik also commented, “We came into the finish area on a huge downhill today, and it was a little distracting with people cheering, but we had discussed this would be the case. Thus, I told myself concentrate. I was right behind someone there. It was a bit confusing because the skier in front of me kept going straight into the stadium, but a much better route choice was to turn left just at the bottom of the hill before one came into the stadium. Luckily, I was reading my map and went the correct way. It really is exciting to be here and meet and race against people from all over the world. It was helpful that my father and coach [Carl Fey] has raced many times in World Championships, so he was able to explain to me what to expect.”

Tomorrow, March 16th is a pursuit race for World Championships (one starts the amount of time that
a skier was behind today’s winner). The youth class will have a normal medium distance race tomorrow.

Press Release & photos courtesy Carl Fey

US Ski Orienteering Team Heads to Finland for World Championships

Chris Burnham, Cambridge Sports Union (CSU), and Nikolay Nachev, Cascade Orienteering Club (COC), will race in Kemi, Finland March 15-19, 2022 in the World Ski Orienteering Championships. The pair will be joined by Erik Fey, of Espoon Suunta, who will race in the European Youth Ski Orienteering Championships held concurrently with WSOC.

Kemi is in northern Finland, a long way for Chris and Nikolay, but not as far for Erik who lives with his family in Espoo, a suburb of Helsinki.

The WSOC races for Chris and Nikolay will be the Sprint March 15, Pursuit March 16 and Middle Friday March 18. Erik’s EYSOC races will be the Sprint on Tuesday March 15 and the Middle Wednesday March 16.

Chris lives in Stowe, VT and competed at the WSOC in Pitea, Sweden in 2019. He has extensive Nordic experience, placing an outstanding second place in last month’s Birkebeiner Classic 55 km marathon in Hayward, WI out of 1,600 competitors.

Nikolay, from Redmond, WA, also is a top athlete, on the winning team at the North American Rogaining Championships last year in Lake Tahoe, CA. He has previously raced in World Cup ski orienteering races and at SWOC in Tanndalen Sweden in 2011.

Erik, currently living in Finland and being 13 years old, is unknown to most US orienteers, but has raced extensively in Finland, one of the world’s most competitive ski orienteering countries.

To prepare for the races during winter school holidays this year Erik went to Sweden to take part in the open youth races at Swedish Ski-Orienteering Championships and finished 1st and 2nd in the boys 14 class.  Erik commented, “It was a good experience to race in Sweden two weeks ago and see that I could do well against people there as well as in Finland.  This gave me increased confidence for the upcoming European Youth Ski-Orienteering Championships.” 

Erik was 4th in a close race in H15 in Finnish Medium Distance Ski-Orienteering Championships this year.  He did not race in the Finnish Long Distance Championships as one must be turning 15 in the calendar year to do so.  When asked about his goals for the upcoming European Youth Ski-Orienteering Championships Erik continued, “Since I am only 13 and my category at European Youth Ski-Orienteering Championships is 17 and under my main goal for this year is to gain experience in international racing and not make any mistakes larger than 15 seconds.” 

Erik represents Espoon Suunta in ski-orienteering and orienteering and Espoon Hiihtoseura in cross-country skiing. Both clubs are among the top in Finland. Erik is coached by Carl Fey (his father and former US Ski-O Team member) and Tero Jantunen. When asked why he likes ski-orienteering Erik responded, “I love the technical difficulty and feeling of flying down hills on winding narrow trails. The steeper and bigger the better. Normal cross-country skiers don’t know what they are missing!”

Press release courtesy Ken Walker Sr.

Youth Mapping Feature – March 2022

This month we feature a great example of how a small school map project can build into something bigger to benefit the community at large. From Bill Cusworth, mapper:

An example of an OUSA Youth Mapping Program (YMP) project that started small and grew into something bigger is the Gold Trail School located near Placerville, California. This project was the very first YMP project to be requested and the first one finished in February 2020. I was the mapper on that project before I joined the YMP committee a few months later as a map consultant. Danny Lulla is the 5th grade teacher who requested the map. He was directed to the YMP program after contacting the local orienteering club, Gold Country Orienteers, based in Sacramento.

After successfully using the school map with his students to teach them orienteering, Danny decided that he wanted to expand his course options by using the area that surrounds the school, Wakamatsu Farm. The farm is a historic landmark, the original site of the Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Farm Colony, established June 8, 1869 , the first Japanese colony in the USA. It is the birthplace of the first Japanese American and contains the gravesite of the first Japanese immigrant buried in the USA.

Wakamatsu Farm was too large (1.1 sq km) a project to fall within the scope of the YMP, so Danny secured a $1000 grant from the El Dorado County Office of Education to pay for the new map. Danny asked me to make the map and the map was completed in June 2021 and Danny set about organizing an event there, working with the landowner – the American River Conservancy (ARC).

I worked with Danny with some technical details on how to set up an orienteering course. The event took place on December 2 and with 63 fifth graders and was a successful Score-O with 20 controls. ARC has been very receptive to using the land for orienteering and is open to having a public orienteering event in the future. The folks at ARC even produced an introductory video and flyer to help students become familiar with the activity.

Introductory Video

The area is suitable for some nice middle distance courses and Gold Country Orienteers will likely hold an event in the future, especially after the map is updated with some brand new LiDAR data.

It all starts with connecting local youth organizations with a local club and through the Youth Mapping Program getting a map made to generate the initial interest in orienteering within the local community. The YMP committee would like your assistance in making these initial connections and is asking you to reach out to the folks you know in your local community – teachers, scout leaders, parks & recreation departments – to let them know about the YMP and how they can get a high quality orienteering map for their organization, often for very little out of pocket cost. YMP maps are the seeds for growing a new generation of orienteers, help us spread these seeds by suggesting it to contacts in your own local community.

Photos courtesy Danny Lulla.
Application for YMP Map.

OUSA Announces Masters Nationals for 2022 & 2023

At its board meeting this past Monday, the OUSA board approved not one, but two bids for national championship events.

The 2022 OUSA Masters Nationals will be hosted by the New England Orienteering Club (NEOC) on October 8-9, 2022 on a brand new map of Bigelow Hollow State Park in Union, CT on the CT/MA border.

Early October is fall foliage season in southern New England – don’t miss it!

The 2023 OUSA Masters Nationals will be hosted jointly by the Buffalo Orienteering Club (BFLO) and Rochester Orienteering Club (ROC) on Sept 23-24, 2023. Saturday’s event will be held at Sprague Brook, about 25 miles SE of Buffalo, then the action heads to the east side of Letchworth SP about 50 miles S of Rochester for Sunday. If you want a sneak peek – don’t miss this year’s Billygoat which will be held on the west side of the gorge at Letchworth in conjunction with the Overlook NRE the weekend of May 7-8, 2022.

Both events are now listed on the OUSA National Calendar – links to event information and registration will be updated as details are published.