Ramblers Orienteering Club
SKI & SNOWSHOE ORIENTEERING EVENT
The Morgan Arboretum - March 4, 2007
Too much of a good thing - the day before our Ski-O
Following a 17cm snowfall in mid January, very little new snow had fallen in the Montreal area ...until two days before this meet. The conditions of various trails, both major and minor, and the amount of snow lying in the woods remained fairly constant over this seven-week period and based on these conditions, two ski courses were designed. The flags were hung and the maps printed - all by Wednesday before the meet. Then, on Friday, Montreal received a dumping of 34 cm snow!
I skied many of the Arboretum trails on Saturday, checking most of the flags as I went, and it was evident that some of the Ski-O controls - those off the tracked trails - would be very difficult to navigate to, especially by early starters who would have to laboriously trudge through the deep un-tracked white stuff. What to do? The original plans for the courses had become impractical ...and the event was to take place the next morning.
Some radical changes were needed. The decision made was to omit from the course some of the 27 controls that were hanging, change the order in which the remaining ones were to be visited and attempt to make clear to each competitor what we had done...notwithstanding the red connecting lines that were already printed on the maps!
As it happened, everything worked out. There were no DNFs or disqualifications. The only problem occurred on the Snowshoe Course when an off-trail flag went missing - the victim of either a four-footed Arboretum inhabitant or the powerful winds that had been blowing during the storm.
The general format of the Ski-O event remained as in past years: one map, but with two courses marked in different colours. When finishing the first course skiers could decide whether they wished to continue, non-stop, to do the 2nd leg. More than half did just that.
And the best performances were...
Eric Lillie, a Ramblers O Club member and an Arboretum member, completed both courses in 78 minutes. Michael Bole, last year's winner, was 2nd in 86 minutes, followed by Jake Brennan (95:45) and Bruce Glen (101:04). Pierre Grondin topped the Short Course (60:40) with Nicole Roy very close behind (62:00).
The Snowshoe-O results are unofficial because of time lost at the missing control. Jeremy Barnes (95:25), Jean-Claude Deslauriers and Derek Horan were the leaders, in that order.
Many THANKS to Jeff Blezius who worked at the Registration Table along with Gloria, and to Eric Lillie who picked up all the flags a few days after the meet.
...and THANKS also to The Morgan Arboretum for the use of the Conservation Centre, and permission to enjoy the many ski and snowshoe trails within their grounds. Incidentally, there will be an article about the event, with photos, in the March-07 edition of TreeMail, the electronic newsletter of The Morgan Arboretum: www.morganarboretum.org