Monthly Forum #4 – Replay Available

This month’s OUSA monthly forum featured Barb Bryant, from Navigation Games taking a look at the current state of teaching orienteering in schools. We look at a few successes – and failures – from around the country and the world, and do a deep dive into the approach of Navigation Games, a member club of Orienteering USA.

Click the image below to watch the replay or visit the Orienteering YouTube Channel to view previous forums.

TeamUSA Ski-O Competes in Austria

This press release was originally prepared by US Ski-O Team Coach Carl Fey with edits by Orienteering USA. Photos courtesy Carl Fey.

The 2024 World Ski Orienteering Championships (WSOC) are taking place in Ramsau, Austria from January 23-27. The Junior World Ski Orienteering Championships (JWSOC) and European Youth Ski Orienteering Championships (EYSOC) are being held concurrently on the same maps. The US National Team has skiers competing in all three events.

Ramsau is famous for its Dachstein glacier which is the most famous place in the world for summer skiing and is also a popular place for skiing in the winter with an extensive network of cross-country ski trails and beautiful mountain scenery. The weather conditions have been challenging with warm weather and rain resulting in melting and slow snow making it difficult for organizers and skiers alike. The organizers had to change some of courses less than 24 hours before the races.

US veteran ski orienteer Adrian Owens (GMOC) has had the best US result in the men’s World Championship races this week where he has had a friendly battle with fellow US team member Ari Ofsevit (CSU). To get to the start of the sprint race skiers took a chairlift resulting in fast conditions being mostly downhill through an extensive network of trials requiring quick decisions at high speed. In the sprint race, won by Jörgen Baklid (NOR), Adrian Owens placed 63rd with Ari Ofsevit close behind in 64th separated by a mere 21 seconds.

The grueling pursuit race was a a mass-start long race run as a one-man relay with three loops and Jörgen Baklid once again taking the win. Adrian was 54th and Ari was 55th. When asked about the race Adrian said, “I went and fought and fought on the course and finally made it to the end. There were really a lot of tough climbs today.” In the middle distance Adrian Owens was 59th place and Ari Ofsevit was 61st. When asked about the races in Ramsau US skier Ari Ofsevit replied, “Our hosts here in Ramsau have done an admiral job in somewhat adverse conditions. The long and middle distance races took us through many fields and forests with significant climb before an exhilarating downhill into the stadium”.

The US was represented by Alex Merka (QOC) in the Women’s Junior World Championships. This was Alex’s debut in international ski-o racing. She ended up 33rd in the sprint, 30th in the long race where she showed off great determination and stamina, and had her best race in the middle distance finishing 33rd. When asked about her races she said, “After the sprint race, which was skied in a blinding snowstorm, it was nice to have a sunny day for the long course, but that produce slow snow. I have discovered that long courses in ski-orienteering are really tough physically. I am happy that myself and my skis are durable.

The US was represented by Erik Fey (ROC) in the Boy’s European Youth Ski-Orienteering Championships. While not quite the results Erik had hoped for, he had impressive results for the US with a 14th in the sprint, a 16th in the long, and an 18th in the middle. Erik showed off his skiing speed staying near the front for the first five controls in the long mass-start race, however, he was not able to turn this into the results he had hoped for. Erik said, “This was my first time to race in the hilly Alps which was a good experience but created very different orienteering route choices from what I am used to. It inspires me to be here, and I will train even harder for next year.

The racing concludes with the relay races on January 27th. Races have been covered live on TV in several countries and can also be viewed on IOF TV (live or via replay). The team expressed their thanks to the great cooking by US Ski-O Team Cook and motivator Allison Van Akkeren who is the former US Biathlon Team cook and cooked healthy dinners for a hungry team all week. The team also expressed their thanks to US Team Coach Carl Fey for his long days of waxing, support at the races, attending team leaders meetings, and briefing team members in the evening. The US team has often not had a coach at international ski-o races and several team members mentioned this was much appreciated so that they could focus more on racing.

The US Ski-Orienteering Team would like to say a big thank you to Orienteering USA and other supporters this year. The US Ski-O Team hopes to field an even larger team at international races next year. This is only possible with financial support from Orienteering USA and others. Donations, which may be designated for the US Ski-O Team, can be made at: https://orienteeringusa.org/support/

For more information about the US Ski-Orienteering Team or how to qualify, please contact Adrian Owens, Chairperson of the US Ski-O Team Executive Committee at: aowens@nullsterlingcollege.edu

2024 Anza-Borrego Desert Orienteering Festival Event Recap

January 13-15, 2024

  • Events:
    • Adventure Trek (mini-rogaine)
    • Middle Distance Maze
    • Night-O Goat
    • Classic NRE
  • Host: San Diego Orienteering
  • Venue: Anza-Borrego State Park, Borrego Springs CA
  • Event Director: Mark Prior
  • Event Website

Results, Photos & Maps

2024 Georgia Navigator Cup Event Recap

January 12-15, 2024

  • Friday: Middle Distance NRE
  • Saturday/Sunday: 2-Day Classic
    • including Southeastern Interscholastic Championships
  • Monday: Mal Harding Extreme-O
  • Host(s): GAOC (Fri-Sun) & VOC (Mon)
  • Venue: Red Top Mountain State Park, Cartersville, GA
  • Event Director: Fred Zendt
  • Course Designers:
    • Fri: Sam Smith
    • Sat: Andi Berger
    • Sun: Austin Fowler
  • Event Website

Results, Photos & Maps

2023 New England Championships Event Recap

October 7-8, 2023

Classic Day 1

Classic Day 2

USA Radio Orienteering Team Brings Back Silver, Bronze, and Experience From World Championship in Czechia

The USA Radio Orienteering Team won an individual silver medal and two team bronze medals at the 21st World Amateur Radio Direction Finding (ARDF) Championship in Liberec, Czech Republic, held August 27 to September 2, 2023. USA fielded its largest-ever team of 21 athletes with seven competing in a world championship for their first time. The International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) and Czech Radio Club (CRC) hosted the event in the mountainous region of North Bohemia with 28 countries and nearly 400 racers attending.

Next year the USA Radio Orienteering Championship will be held in Michigan October 7-13, 2024. Team USA will select its next team at the 2025 USA Championship. That team will then travel to Lithuania in 2025 to compete in the 22nd World ARDF Championship.

Read the Full Press Release here

2023 Laramie Daze Event Recap

August 30 – September 4, 2023

Daze 1 – The Unfair Race

Daze 2 – Knockout Sprints

Daze 3 – One Cowboy Relay

Daze 4 – Sugar Hill NRE

Daze 5 – Area 307 NRE

Daze 6 – Remarkable Flats NRE

TrailO Goes Tech

New TempO software is introduced during the first World Ranking TrailO event in U.S.

By: Jennifer A. Sheffield

The 2023 Navy Yard TrailO World Ranking Event (WRE) started with a 20-station riverfront Sprint PreO held at Philadelphia’s Navy Yard and ended with an eclectic tour of 25 flagged locations that took competitors through a mix of soccer fields, cultural markets, and around two large lakes within South Philadelphia’s FDR Park over the weekend of August 18-20. But it was two TempO events (both public), which kept the combined fields of Open (O), Juniors (J), and Physically Challenged (P) competitors on the edge of their seats.

Competitors dealt with flags set on a course designed by Daniel Heimgartner among gravel paths dotted with public art pieces at Central Green Park, then navigated a series of controls placed among the architectural elements of buildings surrounding Crescent Park at The Yard.

“It was challenging,” said U.S. Air Force Lt Col (ret.) and 2023 World Championships OUSA team member, Anne Maker (P), after completing the TempO on Central Green at The Yard. “There were circles everywhere, so, I had to figure out which circle I needed to focus on, at each stop, because this park is a circle,” she said.

Marshals on the TempO courses were equally challenged with using one of the first applications of a new time and scoring software, called Toepunch, which was tested against the speed and accuracy of each athlete’s decision. The point is to match the data entered, to the reality of a competitors’ experience, at each station. The app means marshals don’t have to set down a pen after the athlete gives their fourth answer, hit the stopwatch at the same time, then write down their final answer.

Amy Latva-Kokko, whose husband Mika and children, Jarmo and Katja, competed in the 2023 Trail-O World Championships was a marshal for the event. “I enjoyed using the handheld mobile devices on the TempO. I found it user-friendly, and much quicker,” she said. “If there was an error, I was able to fix it,” Latva-Kokko, explained. “We had a second marshal as a back-up, but I like the mobile device, because if the second marshal had a time difference of one second we can add that information to the device and it gets submitted to the server.”

Libor Forst of the Czech Republic created of this software because connectivity for a sport like orienteering is important. The success of the rollout also gave him confidence the sport can serve athletes with disabilities better while making stations enjoyable, and exact, for everyone; whether they are a beginner or seasoned racer. “Considering it was the first time that an American team made an WRE it was a good competition,” Forst said. “Regarding the technology everything worked very well for us in Philadelphia.”

Retired Armed Forces member, Charles Bromly Gardner, is an ElitO competitor, who also competes in FootO, and SkiO for Great Britain. He reflected on 40 years of doing the sport abroad. “I’ve not been to America for trail orienteering before and that was the attraction,” he said. The last, high standard (non-WRE) event held in Britain, was the 2019 European Cup.

Even with new technology applied for its competition, Gardner still stated the model event held prior to the weekend was useful to see what the mapper is putting on the map and is not. “It’s a mental challenge and I’m better at precision rather than the timed events. I’m starting to take my time in TempO but the youngsters still make quicker decisions,” Gardner said.

Cruising Through Obstacles

The 2023 IOFTOC TrailO WRE was hosted by OUSA’s Capital Region Nordic Alliance (CNRA) based in Albany, N.Y. Director, Russ Meyer said compared to the 2021 OUSA Veteran Paralympic National Championships, shipyard courses were condensed, for specific areas.

Using electronic punch cards, wirelessly attached to electronic boxes placed at each station was a big change for athletes. “For para (P) athletes who have hand mobility challenges, or use a wheelchair, it can be difficult, but with patience they can manage it,” said Latva-Kokko. This is a reason P and O athletes get different times to finish problems.

Gardner added, “It reduces man hours, but, what the software does, that is what you do, so if you wish to change it, the software has to change.”

However, the system has increased flexibility in FootO and mappers can now design looped courses. Toepunch shows real-time results, but this also means the race host is putting more expense out into the forest.

Philadelphia’s FDR Park cartographic work was done by an experienced consortium of Ari Tertsunen, Richard H. Ebright and Bob Burg.

Orienteering USA President and TrailO competitor Clare Durand commented the sightlines across bodies of water made the course especially challenging. “I had some issues reading how they mapped some of the vegetation, which was not standard combined with problems that were vegetation based but I was happy with the difficult controls that made me think,” said Durand.

Forst added, “The WRE TempO course, specifically, could be a good competition for any country to use.”

“The PreO had problems because if you make a competition a public park, you have people there. The other thing was light conditions which was the reason for voiding some controls,” Forst explained.

U.S. National team member, Paige Suhocki (J; DVOA) marshaled at The Yard and did the long PreO. It was her first time trying TrailO. “It felt inclusive,” she said. “It is all about having good flow.”

Continuing to Connect

Overall, Durand acknowledged that it is not OUSA, but the work of clubs like CRNA that do the event work whose efforts lead the way to leveling the playing field, and bringing international competitors together.

CRNA is a Move United chapter that sponsors Paralympic athletes in cross-country skiing, biathlon, skeleton and bobsled year-round. It added orienteering to its Nordic menu after receiving a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) adaptive sports grant.

U.S. Army Sergeant Major (ret.) Kevin Bittenbender competed in Philadelphia with his service dog, Kirby, and said, TrailO really requires the participants to get out of their comfort zones. “It provides those with disabilities, a chance to be involved, in something and it narrows that excuse not to get out, because it gets you outdoors,” he said.

Bittenbender learned land navigation in the Army, but he practiced for WRE, using online orienteering. He appreciates the focus that is necessary for TempO, and that the Toepunch system made it easy to navigate the course and stay organized along the route. “You don’t miss a station, or, accidently punch something,” he said. “You do have to make sure you have the right card in your hand, though.”

For veterans, the sport also creates camaraderie, whether the competitor lives with a disability, or not.

In 2021, at The Yard, Lee Kuxhaus had never competed in TrailO and this year spent her free time studying her mistakes and was awarded for that with the second place medal in the WRE PreO para (P) class. “It is fun to introduce any sport, to new people,” she said. “Because when you go to a competition know that you’re going to build memories.”

One thing that drives Bittenbender is a recipe he calls P-3, which stands for purpose, passion, and a part bigger than yourself. “In TrailO you’re pushing your abilities, and whether you get 100% or 10% on a problem, it provides you a level upon which you can improve.”

From a technology standpoint too, “Everything can be solved before the time clock is running,” said Forst. “I am glad we got a chance to try this technology over the ocean and it worked.”

Results at: top.yq.cz 
Photos at: Orienteering USA Facebook
Photos courtesy Orienteering USA and Jennifer Sheffield

Correction: The new ToePunch software, which was approved in January 2023, was used for the PreO events. The TempO events used existing ANT software, also developed by Libor Forst, that has been in approved usage since 2016.

California Orienteering Festival Event Recap

July 17-30, 2023

  • Event Website
  • Director: Gavin Wyatt-Mair
    • Coordination: Sarah Williams
    • Registrar: Team
    • Technical quality: Erin Schirm
    • Technology: Jay Hann
    • Volunteers: Marie-Josee Parayre
    • Publicity: Stephanie MacLean
    • Mapping: Bill Cusworth
    • Consulting: Tapio Karras
    • Treasurer: Gary Kraght
    • IOF advisor: Erik Blake
    • IRF advisors: Merv Trease, Vic Sedunary, Phil Wood


July 17 – Sprint NRE @ Presidio


July 18 – Middle NRE @ Golden Gate Park

  • Western States Orienteering Championships – Day 2
  • Stage #2 Info
  • Event Summary from Stage 2 Director Rex Winterbottom:
    • The persistent fog and slight bluster made it a true San Francisco Summer event, more so than Presidio. I think if we had our choice, it was better to have the better weather the first day to ease people into these 2 weeks of adventures.
    • Although wearing the event-director hat the majority of the time, from when I arrived at 5:55 A.M. until departing after 4:00 P.M., I was able to escape into the woods as the starts were closing and tremendously enjoyed the ping-pongy jaunt through a variety of Golden Gate Park habitats. Well done on the course planning, Andrejus!
    • Course setter Andrejus Masalkovas had 92 checkpoints to place, we weren’t allowed to place any the day before according to the permit, and we were severely limited for placings. 80% of the checkpoints had to be cones or stands according to Parks & Rec. So major thanks to Vladimir, Steve Haas, Dan Greene, and another guy who happened to be there earlier than planned at 5:55 A.M. to get it done. It was a tight squeeze before the first scheduled starts, and our pre-runners Clinton Morse and Steve Gregg didn’t have much time to verify the controls — none of which, fortunately, were disturbed, and all were easily recovered after the event.
    • An absolute thank you to all of our volunteers and participants for building a day in the park we could all enjoy. Thank you so much!
  • Official Results
  • Results at Orienteering USA Rankings
  • Results / Splits from AttackPoint
  • RouteGadget – view maps and compare GPS routes
  • Orienteering USA Official Photos [235 photos]

July 19 – Long NRE @ Morgan Territory

  • Western States Orienteering Championships – Day 3
  • Stage #3 Info
  • Event Summary from Stage 3 Director Martin Kunz:
    • It takes a village …  to organize a stage at Cal-O-Fest, so the old saying goes. Of course the good people in and around BAOC stepped up and raised the third stage out of its inception to full completion. I entered the doing only at a fairly advanced stage but as I heard through the grapevine, stage 3 went through various levels of near death experiences including a change of venue and a capricious permit procedure.
    • Gavin Wyatt-Mair, together of course with the Cal-O-Fest steering committee, were, so I have heard, instrumental in keeping the baby alive and unharmed by bureaucratic round-abouts and baby eaters. Many thanks to them from all the happy Orienteers that eventually got to enjoy a most memorable stage in our beloved Morgan Territory. 
    • I think this was the first time we dared to organize an event in this typical Bay Area terrain with its oak chaparral meadows and distinctly structured terrains in the middle of summer. It was a risk but we lucked out and the temperatures were in the very acceptable mid-eighties. It’s better to be lucky than to be good – another old saying I tend to live my life by. A total of 283 runners who came and braved the summer conditions at Morgan Territory.
  • Official Results
  • Results at Orienteering USA Rankings
  • RouteGadget – view maps and compare GPS routes
  • Orienteering USA Official Photos [76 photos]

July 20 – Rest Day


July 21 – Sprint WRE @ Northstar California

  • North American Orienteering Championships – Day 1
  • Stage #4 Info
  • Official Results
  • Results at Orienteering USA Rankings
    • Additional Results at Orienteering USA Rankings
    • (due to WRE some classes processed separately
  • Bjorn Kjellstrom & Future Champions Cup scoring
    • The battle for the Bjorn Kjellstrom Cup as well as the Future Champions Cup is underway in California. In today’s Sprint at Northstar California Resort, the US squad came out on top in the preliminary scoring.
    • BK Cup scores after today puts USA 126 vs Canada 62.
    • Future Champions scoring the tally was USA 109 Canada 46.
    • Scoring orienteers can be found at Orienteering USA Facebook
    • Thanks to Orienteering USA VP Competition Jon Torrance for tallying up these scores for us.
  • RouteGadget – view maps and compare GPS routes
  • Orienteering USA Official Photos [345 photos]

July 22 – Middle WRE @ Little Truckee Summit


July 23 – Long WRE @ Sagehen


July 24 – NAOC Relay @ Northstar California


July 25 – Rest Day


July 26 – Middle NRE @ Independence Creek


July 27 – Long NRE @ Spooner Lake


July 28 – Rest Day / WRC Model


July 29-30 – World Rogaining Championships