New ski orienteering season gets under way – Lack of snow forces championship venue change

Posted on | January 9, 2007 | Category: News

This week sees the start of the championship ski orienteering season, with the World Masters Championships being staged in Sweden. But lack of snow at the original venue, Asarna, has forced the organisers to make a last-minute change and the whole package of races, which includes the Swedish Ski-O Cup for elite ski orienteers, is being moved about 160 km north to Akersjon, 90 km NW of Östersund.

Quite apart from the need to set new courses and print new maps, the 209 competitors for the Masters Championships and the many elite athletes have had to cancel their accommodation bookings and start again – with good help from the organising team, of course. Championship entries include competitors from Japan and USA. The new area is well suited to ski orienteering, with detailed contours and big marshes in mixed forest and some semi-open terrain.

Juniors to compete in Austria

This year’s Junior World Ski Orienteering Championships will be held in the Salzburg area of Austria in the period 11-17 February. Here there will be 4 competitions – sprint, middle, long distance and relay – and the participants will find themselves in relatively open terrain ranging from quite flat land and open smooth hills to high alpine plateau.

Climax of the season – World Championships in Russia

By mid-February, the world’s best in ski orienteering will be in good fettle and gearing themselves up for the climax of the season. Planernaya in the Moscow region of Russia is the venue for this year’s World Championships, to take place between 23rd February and 3rd March. The organisers promise a very high quality championships with “interesting and difficult ski courses”.

Twenty-one nations, represented by 146 competitors, had declared their entry at the preliminary entry stage. They will face challenging terrain in mixed forest and some open land. There are 4 medal races – sprint, long distance (mass start), middle distance and relay.

The home country has very experienced and successful competitors in both men’s and women’s classes, but there will be strong competition, not least from the top stars in the Nordic countries. One well-known name will be missing, though: the Norwegian Stine Hjermstad Kirkevik, winner of an individual gold medal and a relay gold in the last championships in 2005 inFinland, is expecting her second child and will not be defending her medals.

Next World Cup starts in December

Optimistically one might say in the light of the increasing warmth of early winter, the first round of the next World Cup has been planned for 4-9 December at Idre, Sweden – to be followed by the remaining rounds in 2008. Let’s hope for different weather patterns to those experienced so far this winter!

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