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Pine Bluffs Ski-O, Stow, MA
January 31, 2015
Meet Director: Aims Coney

No one complained about the huge fallen tree limb they had to scrunch down and ski under, not even Andy Mykyta who had his young son in a pack high up on his back. Some skiers, the ones who did all four courses, had to go under that limbo limb 8 times.

Pine Bluffs is a small area behind Terry’s and my house, a 31-acre bit of town land consisting of woods and playing fields along Lake Boon that includes the Stow Town Beach. Ed Despard made a nice map for a night-o in November and I’ve been waiting for a little snowfall so I could hold a short-notice ski-o. Thirty-three inches of fresh powder seemed like enough, so the meet was on.

There’s a single narrow trail from our backyard into the Pine Bluffs land. With all the back and forth, the orienteers made 118 total transits of that trail and each time had to scoot under the aforementioned broken tree limb. No one complained, but will be happy to learn the meet director did fall there. Returning with a full pack of picked up controls, the loop at the top caught and down he went.

Jim Paschetto and Tim Parson were a great help this week, first posting the event as occurring on Sunday, then switching it to Saturday when that day looked to have better snow.

Since I first began ski-orienteering in the early ‘80s the sport has evolved quite a lot. Nowadays ski-o is a high-speed route choice game held in a dense network of groomed trails but back then it was merely a foot-o held on skis with many long slogs between controls. Trails may or may not have been broken-in and bushwhacking was often just as effective. Following someone else’s tracks was a good bet, provided you paid attention to the compass, in case they swerved away from the control.

And so, the Pine Bluffs event was meant to be a throwback to traditional ski-o. Conditions would be “as found.” And, as the meet unfolded more and more short-cuts, or perhaps mistakes, would be broken-in, making contact with the underlying map more important than counting trail junctions.

With a smaller area like Pine Bluffs, it was necessary to send the skiers out on multiple maps. This meant that the orienteers became more and more familiar with the location and since the trails were getting more tracked-in, the skiing got faster and faster. Everyone started with course 1 and if they had more energy moved on to course 2 and then 3 and finally course 4 was a visit-all-in-any-order. All four courses was considered Blue, three was Red, two was Green and doing just one was Orange.

As a long-time ski-o course setter, my measure of success is a meet where more skiers participate than controls are hung. Terry told me I was nuts to put out 17 controls but we won the game when 23 skiers participated.

Thanks everyone for coming on short notice!

  name Map 1 Map 2 Map 3 Map 4 total
1 Ari Ofsevit 0:19:00 0:18:25 0:26:45 0:23:44 1:27:54
2 Alex Jospe 0:20:00 0:20:14 0:29:00 0:24:00 1:33:14
3 Ken Walker 0:18:00 0:24:06 0:26:46 0:33:50 1:42:42
4 Kelly Guarino 0:21:00 0:23:30 0:30:45 0:32:30 1:47:45
5 Gary Gallagher 0:30:00 0:24:00 0:31:00 0:34:00 1:59:00
6 Joris Wils 0:40:05 0:22:05 0:25:40 0:43:40 2:11:30
1 Pia Webb 0:17:15 0:19:20 0:25:22   1:01:57
2 Ed Despard 0:16:47 0:19:00 0:27:45   1:03:32
3 Mika Latva-Kokko 0:19:36 0:19:59 0:25:00   1:04:35
4 Ann Jochnick 0:24:00 0:24:00 0:33:00   1:21:00
5 Peter Frykman 0:33:00 0:23:00 0:31:00   1:27:00
6 Scott Turner 0:24:50 0:27:13 0:37:04   1:29:07
7 Jeff Saeger 0:28:00 0:30:00 0:32:00   1:30:00
8 Ben Kessel 0:32:00 0:27:20 0:37:01   1:36:21
1 Judy Karpinski 0:35:00 0:32:00     1:07:00
2 Martin Kessel 0:40:02 0:44:00     1:24:02
3 John Kernochan 1:11:00 0:52:00     2:03:00
1 Andy Mykyta 0:27:15       0:27:15
2 Terry Myers Coney 0:29:30       0:29:30
3 Helen Demakes 0:35:00       0:35:00
4 Sylvie Guichard 0:46:00       0:46:00
5 Mary Penniston 1:11:00       1:11:00