Ski Orienteering Training Handbook

Ski Orienteering Training
Handbook
Hans Jørgen Kvåle
Version 1.0, July 2012
Contents
Table of map examples ......................................................................................................................3
What is Ski Orienteering? ...................................................................................................................4
Equipment .........................................................................................................................................5
Skis ...................................................................................................................................................... 5
Poles ................................................................................................................................................... 5
Baskets ................................................................................................................................................ 6
Map holders ........................................................................................................................................ 6
Punching ............................................................................................................................................. 7
Compass .............................................................................................................................................. 8
Glasses ................................................................................................................................................ 8
The Ski Orienteering map ................................................................................................................. 10
How to do Ski Orienteering .............................................................................................................. 12
Navigation ......................................................................................................................................... 12
How to ski ......................................................................................................................................... 14
Distances in Ski Orienteering ............................................................................................................. 15
Training for Ski Orienteering ............................................................................................................ 16
Physical factors in Ski Orienteering .................................................................................................... 16
Ski technical training for Ski Orienteering .......................................................................................... 18
Orienteering technical training for Ski Orienteering .......................................................................... 19
Physical orienteering technical exercises with track system: ............................................................. 22
Ski Orienteering course ..................................................................................................................... 22
Ski Orienteering intervals................................................................................................................... 25
Downhill intervals .............................................................................................................................. 27
One man relay ................................................................................................................................... 29
Follow the line ................................................................................................................................... 31
Corridor ............................................................................................................................................. 33
Route choices .................................................................................................................................... 35
Control picking .................................................................................................................................. 37
Pace variation .................................................................................................................................... 39
Lead John .......................................................................................................................................... 41
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Follow John ....................................................................................................................................... 43
Hunt John .......................................................................................................................................... 44
John the Starter ................................................................................................................................. 46
Incorrect map .................................................................................................................................... 47
Only track system and contours ......................................................................................................... 48
Maps without tracks .......................................................................................................................... 50
Map memory..................................................................................................................................... 52
Orienteering star ............................................................................................................................... 54
Physical orienteering technical exercises without track system: ........................................................ 56
Arrow orienteering ............................................................................................................................ 56
Batong ............................................................................................................................................... 58
Crust snow skiO ................................................................................................................................. 60
Reading map while skiing................................................................................................................... 62
Lead John without a track system ...................................................................................................... 62
Mental technical orienteering exercises:........................................................................................... 63
Draw the map.................................................................................................................................... 63
Route choice...................................................................................................................................... 64
Imagine yourself orienteering ............................................................................................................ 66
The newspaper .................................................................................................................................. 67
Catching Features .............................................................................................................................. 68
How to prepare for competitions ..................................................................................................... 70
Competing - How the best athletes think .......................................................................................... 72
Links ................................................................................................................................................ 73
Punching systems .............................................................................................................................. 73
GPS analysing programs..................................................................................................................... 73
Maps ................................................................................................................................................. 73
Movies .............................................................................................................................................. 73
Ski Orienteering web pages ............................................................................................................... 74
Ski Orienteers’ web pages.................................................................................................................. 74
Comments ....................................................................................................................................... 75
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Table of map examples
Map example 1: The Ski Orienteering map ............................................................................................ 11
Map example 2: Ski Orienteering course ............................................................................................... 23
Map example 3: Rollerski Orienteering .................................................................................................. 23
Map example 4: Path Orienteering ........................................................................................................ 24
Map example 5: Ski Orienteering interval .............................................................................................. 26
Map example 6: Gladiator Intervals. In pairs with different gafflings...................................................... 26
Map example 7: Downhill ...................................................................................................................... 28
Map example 8: One man relay ............................................................................................................. 30
Map example 9: Follow the line ............................................................................................................. 32
Map example10: Corridor...................................................................................................................... 34
Map example 11: Route choice.............................................................................................................. 36
Map example 12: Control picking .......................................................................................................... 38
Map example 13: Pace variation ............................................................................................................ 40
Map example 14: Lead John, skier 1 ...................................................................................................... 42
Map example 15: Lead John, skier 2 ...................................................................................................... 42
Map example 16: Hunt John .................................................................................................................. 45
Map example 17: Map without vegetation and contours ....................................................................... 49
Map example 18: Map without tracks ................................................................................................... 51
Map example 19: Memorising with a new map hanging at each control ................................................ 53
Map example 20: Orienteering star ....................................................................................................... 55
Map example 21: One of the athletes’ maps in an orienteering star ...................................................... 55
Map example 22: Arrow orienteering map by Mora Skidgymnas ........................................................... 57
Map example 23: Batong, easy .............................................................................................................. 59
Map example 24: Batong, difficult, with key to the right ........................................................................ 60
Map example 25: Crust snow map with just 5-10 cm snow without any tracks in the terrain ................. 61
Map example 26: Example of a route choice exercise ............................................................................ 65
Map example 27: Example of The Newspaper ....................................................................................... 67
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What is Ski Orienteering?
Ski Orienteering (SkiO) combines orienteering with cross country ski racing, adding a thinking
component to a pure horse-power event. The athlete gets his map at the start of the race, and the
controls to be visited are marked on the map. The order to be visited is shown on the map, but the
athlete has to find his own best route to each one. The course is designed so that the athlete can always
ski on trails, but it is also possible to take short-cuts through the woods. Read more about the sport at:
http://orienteering.org/ski-orienteering/
Ski Orienteering is in rapid development and every year new nations are established as Ski Orienteering
nations. Today more than 30 countries participate in IOF Ski Orienteering events. Ski Orienteering has
for a long time tried to become an Olympic sport, but has not yet succeeded. With the technological
development it is now easier to make a good TV production out of Ski Orienteering, which gives hope
that Ski Orienteering soon can get into the Olympic programme.
See some movies of Ski Orienteering and how fun it can be by following the links in the last chapter of
this handbook.
This Handbook is made as a guide for new athletes and coaches in Ski Orienteering, but can also be used
as inspiration and tips for technical training for both young and established athletes.
Two world class Ski Orienteers
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Equipment
In modern Ski Orienteering all the top athletes are using regular cross-country skate skiing equipment
and a map holder. While earlier it was more common to use classic technique skis or shorter skating
skis, modern Ski Orienteers use regular skate equipment with a few additional considerations:
Skis
Since the athletes in Ski Orienteering mostly ski on narrow soft tracks, it is worth giving some
consideration to ski choice for Ski Orienteers. In the 90s there were special skate skis made for Ski
Orienteering that were shorter (140-150 cm) yet still stiff enough for adults. This was done so that it
could be easier to skate in the narrow tracks, but often they did not have as good glide as longer
‘normal’ skating skis. Today the athletes use almost the same ski length as they use in cross-country
skiing or some centimetres shorter. Normally a longer ski will glide better because of a larger glide
surface and thereby less friction. But if the skis catch in extra snow because of the extra length, you will
lose the advantage very fast and probably much more. As a guideline, you use skis as long as yourself in
Ski Orienteering.
Poles
Since you have reduced possibilities of forward power with your skis in the narrow tracks in Ski
Orienteering, the upper body has a bigger workload than in cross-country skiing, especially on the
uphills. That's why it is very important to have poles that are the right length for your upper body
power, size and personal technique. This makes the optimal pole length for Ski Orienteering very
personal, and it varies a lot from athlete to athlete. For most people it will be too difficult to do the
hardest uphills with normal length skating poles.
Since the upper body has a bigger workload in Ski Orienteering, this also makes bigger demands on the
pole properties. With a bigger force the pole will bend more and you will lose power to the ground.
That's why it is of great importance to have stiff poles that will bend as little as possible when you are on
the steepest hills. In Ski Orienteering you are also skiing much closer to the trees on winding tracks,
making it easy to hit the trees with your poles. This can damage the carbon that most of today’s top
poles are made of, and reduce how much power they can take before they will break. This makes it
important to have poles that endure a few hits to some trees, and also that you take good care of them.
Many athletes have competition poles they only use for competitions. Athletes may also use poles of
different lengths for different types of terrain.
As a guideline, you use poles 20-25 cm shorter than your own body length - or even shorter - in Ski
Orienteering, but this has to be tested on a real Ski Orienteering track by the athletes themselves.
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Baskets
The biggest and most important difference between the equipment in Ski Orienteering and regular
cross-country skiing is the size of the baskets. Ski Orienteering tracks are often soft, and this makes it
very important to have big enough baskets so that you can use your power to move forward, and not
just for digging holes in the snow. Rex and Swix have had some big baskets that suit Ski Orienteering
very well, but now marathon cross-country ski racers have also seen the use of bigger baskets, so there
are more brands coming on to the market. The problem with bigger baskets is that they are heavier than
normal baskets and therefore change the pole swing. This will make it slower to get the pole forward
again, but this is a small price to pay compared to being able to use your power to go forward.
In Ski Orienteering it is common to use extra big baskets
Map holders
For Ski Orienteers to be able to read the map while they use their arms most effectively, they use a map
holder strapped to their upper body to carry and read the map. The leading maker of map holders for
Ski Orienteering over the last decade has been the Swedish company Nordenmark Adventure, which has
specialized in making ski and mountain bike orienteering map holders. But there are also other
companies producing map holders, for example Miry from the Czech Republic. The map holders are
made with a lot of adjustable parts so that the athletes can adjust them to fit properly. You can for
example choose how tight it should be strapped around your upper body and how far from your face
you want the map. What each athlete prefers differs a lot, but the most important thing is that all straps
and screws are fastened tight enough so that the wind will not blow it out of position. To make it easier
for the athletes to read the map, it is better to have the map as close to the face as is possible while the
athlete can still read it clearly. Some athletes find it hard to read the route choices on the longer legs if
it’s too close, but reading in a tight network of tracks is often easiest with the map close to the face.
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As a guideline, some athletes have the distance of a fist between their nose and the map board.
Ski Orienteer with a map holder
Punching
To verify that the athletes pass all the control points, each athlete has to register a punch at each
control. Today there are many different punching systems in use for Ski Orienteering. The most common
are Emit and SPORTident. Both have two kinds of punching systems: one where the athlete has to
physically make a punch, and another that is a touch-free system. It is important for the athlete that
their punching card is fastened so they can easily punch quickly and that the punching card doesn't
disturb the athlete's skiing or orienteering.
Punching in Ski Orienteering. To the left EMIT punching and to the right SPORTident punching. The EMIT punching card is
fastened to the glove and the SPORTident chip is fastened to the finger
The punching card for a physical punching system is typically fastened to one of the athlete's gloves.
Some also fasten it to the top of one of their poles. The SPORTident card is fastened to one finger and
normally secured by safety pins and tape. The Emit brick is fastened to the back of the hand, and the
Nordenmark Adventure map holder company also makes holders to secure the EMIT card to the hand.
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The new touch-free systems allow the athletes to pass the control at higher speed without having to
stop to punch. This gives the athletes more orienteering technical challenges and makes the sport more
spectator-friendly. This system works by having the athletes carry a chip on a band fastened to their
wrist. To punch the athlete brings the chip close the control, which sends a radio signal that is registered
with the chip. After the chip has received the punch it will blink quickly for five seconds and then slower
for an additional ten seconds.
Punching with EMIT touch-free system to the left and checking the registration blinking to the right
Compass
In Ski Orienteering it is not necessary to take a compass. When you know which track you are skiing on,
you can orientate the map using only the direction of the track. But a lot of Ski Orienteers still like to
have a compass as a back-up if they should become lost - because if you’re not sure on which track you
are skiing, it is an easy check to take a look at the compass and check if the track you’re skiing is going in
the right direction. Also, when you have lost your way the compass can make it much easier to relocate.
Many athletes also like to have a compass at the start so that they can orientate the map faster when
they put it in the map holder. This also helps them to locate where the start triangle is on the map and
get started orienteering quicker.
Since you can’t ski with the compass in your hand because of the poles, the athletes either fasten the
compass to the map holder arm or with a strap around their wrist.
Glasses
Ski Orienteering is an outdoor sport and can be done in many weather conditions, from strong sunshine
to snow storms. For the athletes it is important to be able to read the map and the tracks as well as
possible. The athletes can also meet changing conditions during a race, for example when they are going
from an open sunny area or alpine track to a dense dark forest. It will take time for the athlete to adjust
to these new conditions so they again can read the map properly, and some dark glasses will make this
even harder. Since the athletes’ sight is so important, athletes can get problems with drops of sweat or
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dew on their glasses. This is why so many athletes choose not to use sunglasses in Ski Orienteering.
Since this makes it hard to see the contours in the snow, and also the reflections of the sun can blind
athletes when they are trying to read the map, many athletes draw black lines under their eyes like the
players in American football. Normally they simply take soot from the exhaust pipe of a car to draw this
black line.
An athlete with soot under his eyes
When there is heavy snow falling, most athletes use either clear sunglasses or some kind of snow shield
to make the map reading as easy as possible. With no protection, snow can also cause discomfort when
it hits the eyes, especially at high speed.
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The Ski Orienteering map
The Ski Orienteering map is made to give racers the most important information they need to orienteer
as easily as possible. The most important symbols on the map are the tracks. They are marked as various
green lines that show the width of the track. Solid lines indicate tracks made by a grooming machine and
are more than 2 metres wide. Dashed lines are made by snow mobiles and are between 0.8 – 1.2 metres
wide, and dotted lines are either poor snow mobile tracks or prepared only by skiers.
The map is normally based on a normal foot orienteering map with contour lines to show the height
differences and different colours to show the vegetation, water, and man-made features. Read more
about the orienteering map standards at: http://orienteering.org/resources/mapping/
To make the Ski Orienteering map more readable at high speed, it only includes the items that will be of
importance for the racer. That is why a Ski Orienteering map doesn't have intermediate contour lines
(form lines), only uses one shade of green colour for dense forest, only marks the most visible stones on
the map, and so on.
The Ski Orienteering course is marked on the map with purple lines. The start is marked as a triangle and
the controls are marked as circles. The controls are connected with a straight line in order, and the finish
is marked as a double circle. Close to the control circle there is the control number and punch code for
the control. These same punch codes are marked on the control in the forest so the athletes can be sure
they are at the right control.
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Map example 1: The Ski Orienteering map
For more information about the Ski Orienteering map take a closer look at the International
Specifications for Ski Orienteering maps 2009 (ISSOM2009), which you can find on:
http://orienteering.org/resources/mapping/
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How to do Ski Orienteering
Orienteering is fun, especially when you find the controls. But Ski Orienteering is different to Foot
Orienteering since you are skiing. The skiing makes the speed much higher and because you normally
follow the tracks, the mistakes become even more crucial. It is when you reach the combination of skiing
at maximal speed and orienteering with 100% control that you enter the flow zone, and you will get the
kick of Ski Orienteering.
But to reach this level where you can do Ski Orienteering with flow requires a lot of practice. The rest of
this handbook will take a closer look at how athletes can improve their abilities in Ski Orienteering.
Navigation
Map reading in Ski Orienteering is done in three steps. Step number 1 is to find all the possible route
choices on the leg. For the first leg this step is done at the start, while for later legs the athlete should
try to find these routes while they are skiing on easier parts of the leg before. In this step it is important
that the athlete finds not only the shortest routes, but also routes that are a bit longer but can be skied
faster. For example these routes can have less climb, go on wider tracks, or just have fewer crossings or
go straighter, so the orienteering will not cut down the speed as much as in a denser track network with
a lot of crossings and turns. In this step the athletes should also try to figure out where it is possible to
short-cut.
Step number 2 is to decide which of the routes you found in step 1 you think will be the fastest. To do
this the athlete should consider length, climb, track quality, the difficulty of the orienteering, if it is
possible to maintain speed or if you will have to slow down because of turns, and how likely short-cuts
are.
In Ski Orienteering there are big pace differences between uphill skiing and skiing on the flat, and ever
bigger differences when the athlete is skiing downhill. Uphill skiing on narrow tracks is much slower than
on wide tracks, but downhill there are no big differences as long as the downhill track is not too
technical. In flat areas the narrow tracks are only a bit slower than the wide tracks. This is what makes
route choice so hard in Ski Orienteering. On the uphills, and especially steep uphills, it can be much
faster to ski a long way around on a wide track than to use a steep narrow track. On downhills the
shortest and least technical, both in orienteering and skiing, will be the fastest since the narrow tracks
are not much slower than the wide tracks, but can often demand more technical skiing. On flat areas it is
the shortest route choice that normally is the fastest. But in flat terrain the wide track demands less
map reading, and you can ski a bit faster and save some upper body power for the coming uphills if it is
not much longer than the narrow track route.
From all the information the athletes can find about the different legs, they should try to decide the one
route they think will be the fastest. If the athlete decides on a route with short-cuts, the athlete should
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always have a plan B if no-one has made the short-cut before and it is too difficult to be the first.
Sometimes it will be fastest to make the short-cut first, but it can also be faster to ski around on the
tracks if no-one else has made it. To select the right route choices can be very hard and needs a lot of
practice in different terrain types and track networks. It is something that gives experienced athletes a
big advantage and why Ski Orienteers should try to compete as much as possible to gain experience.
Step number 2 should also be done before the athlete starts the next leg, so that the athlete doesn’t
have to stop at the control and make the route choice. Often the variations between the different
possibilities are small, so the first acceptable route an athlete finds on the map is often a good route
that he won't lose much time on. The athlete will often lose more time by stopping or skiing slowly for a
while longer to find a ‘perfect’ route.
Step number 3 is to ski the route choice that was made in step 2. To be able to navigate quickly and
safely, Ski Orienteers should use many of the features on the map. That means they should be able to
orienteer using track crossings, contours, and other terrain details. It is of big importance for the
athletes to always read the track system closely so as to not to miss any crossings. But other terrain
details like marshes, open areas and buildings can help the athletes simplify their navigation and make
sure they are on the right track. The athlete should also know if he should be skiing uphill, downhill, or
flat to be sure that he is skiing on the right track. An example of an athlete’s thoughts during a leg could
be: “I’ll take a right turn in the first crossing and pass a small stream, then a quick left up a steep hill to
the wide track and ski left on the wide track. Then I’ll pass a house on the right and enter an open field.
Then I’ll take a right turn and in the middle of the slight downhill I’ll take a left and then the control is 50
metres ahead.”
To be able to ski fast in Ski Orienteering the athlete needs to read the map in advance. If an athlete
reads the map only where he is, he will have to stop at the next crossing to know which track he should
take. That means the athlete needs to know where he is going to ski in the next crossing before he gets
there so as not to lose time. In a tight track network the crossings can be so close that the athlete will
need to know where he is going to turn for the next 2-4 crossings. To take a short cut the athlete will
also have to read the map in advance. If he sees a short cut in front of him and just takes it because it
might goes in the right direction, he will probably make many big mistakes in a race. Before an athlete
takes a short-cut he needs to check on the map that it is smart to take it and that the short-cut is going
in the right direction.
Earlier, and even today, some athletes use a technique where they memorise where they are going to
ski for the entire leg, and then just ski the leg from memory as fast as possible. This is a very risky
business, since if you turn wrong at just one crossing you will not notice it before you’ve skied for a long
time. Then the athlete will have lost a lot of time and will have problems recognising where he is on the
map.
This is even more risky today when the track systems are getting more demanding. Modern Ski
Orienteers try to read the map for a very short time as often as possible to check that they are skiing on
the right track, where they are going to turn at the next crossing, and also the route choice for the next
leg if they have time for it. To do this in a tight track network the athlete should read the map every 5-10
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seconds for 1-2 seconds. Since they are reading the map this often, they know where on the map they
are going to look and don’t have to try to recognise the right spot. This can be hard for foot orienteers
who normally use their thumb to show where they are on the map.
The biggest difference between top Ski Orienteers and Ski Orienteers on a lower level is that the less
good orienteers have to slow down and stop more during a race, even if they ski faster than the best
athletes at some points of the race. The better athletes can keep a more even speed, and during the
race this gains them a lot of time. That is why all athletes should try to ski at a pace where they can ski
safely to orienteer. In the long run they will be faster with the safer speed than by making mistakes.
How to ski
Ski Orienteering has different technical skiing demands than cross-country skiing. On the wide tracks the
skating technique is the same as in cross-country skiing and will not be given any further description
here.
But since Ski Orienteering is often practised on mostly narrow tracks, to know how to ski on these tracks
is essential. The narrow tracks are only 0.8 – 1.2 metres wide, though they can get wider if many earlier
skiers have skied with their ski tips in the loose snow outside the track. This means it is not possible to
use a normal skating technique in these tracks. The athletes can therefore only use double poling or one
leg skating in these tracks. Some athletes also manage to do a narrow two leg skating technique in the
narrow tracks, especially where the tracks are a bit wider. In the steepest uphills when the speed is
really slow the athletes can also use herringbone to get up by putting their ski tips in the loose snow. If
the uphills are extremely steep the athletes can also take off their skis and run up the hill. It is also
possible to run downhill if the track or short-cut is too steep and technical.
.
Ski Orienteering has much bigger technical skiing demands than Cross-country Skiing
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What technique an athlete should use on a narrow track depends on how wide and hard the track is, if it
is uphill, flat, or downhill, and the athlete's strength, technique, and ski agility. Normally the more speed
you can achieve with your legs, the more power you can save from your arms. In flat areas it is possible
to get a lot of speed with the legs in one leg skating, while on steep uphills most of the power has to
come from the upper body. Also when the speed is high it is hard to make more speed with the legs,
since the skis can very easily catch in the loose snow.
Distances in Ski Orienteering
In Ski Orienteering there are four distances: sprint, middle distance, long distance and ultra-long
distance. Middle, long and ultra-long can be done as mass starts. In addition there are also relays and
sprint relays. Read more about the distances in the IOF competition rules 2011 – Appendix 5.
Mass start in Ski Orienteering
The sprint and sprint relay distances have enormous demands on the athlete's map reading skills at high
speed and how fast they can make the right decisions. Often there are also hard route choices in a
sprint. Not that the routes differ very much in time, but since every second in a sprint is important there
is much to lose with 15-30 seconds on a route choice.
The demands of long and ultra-long distances are to take the right route choices on long legs – the
alternatives can differ a lot in time – and to be able to ski fast over a long time. But these distances often
pass through tighter track networks too, and the athlete must be able to adjust the skiing speed and
read the map more carefully there. On the longer distances the athletes often make mistakes because
they think it is ‘too easy’ and then forget to read the map and focus on their tasks.
The middle distance is often a mix of the sprint and long distance and the athlete will get hard route
choices at the same time as they ski in a tight track network. The legs are not as long as in the longer
distances, but since the track network is tighter there are often more routes to choose between. The
relay is often similar to the middle distance, but can have fewer controls.
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Training for Ski Orienteering
Orienteering is an endurance sport and therefore has many demands common with other endurance
sports. The physical demands in Ski Orienteering are especially similar to cross-country skiing, and the
orienteering technical demands are similar to Mountain Bike Orienteering and also partly Foot
Orienteering. This handbook will only take a briefly look at the endurance demands in Ski Orienteering,
explain the biggest technical ski training differences from cross-country skiing, and focus more on
exercises to improve the athletes technical Orienteering abilities.
Physical factors in Ski Orienteering
The common limiting factor for all endurance sports is the maximal aerobic power, called VO2 max. Even
though the orienteering part is very important in Ski Orienteering you will need to have a high maximal
aerobic power to be able to compete at the top international level. For cross-country skiing it is said that
to win a FIS World Cup you will need a minimum of VO2 max at 80ml/kg/min. For Ski Orienteering this
minimal limit can be set to a VO2 max around 70 ml/kg/min, but the athlete will always have a better
chance for a top result with an even higher VO2 max, and many of the best athletes have a VO2 max
around 80 ml/kg/min or higher.
Another factor that seems to be important for all endurance sports is the anaerobic threshold. That is
the speed or the amount of VO2 usage the athletes can ski at and keep the production and elimination
of lactate stable. There are many ways to calculate the anaerobic threshold, but the important thing is
to be able to ski at the highest possible speed without accumulating more lactate than you can
eliminate.
The narrow tracks in Ski Orienteering also put bigger demands on upper body power than in crosscountry skiing. This is why it is very important for Ski Orienteers to both be strong enough to keep their
speed up on the steepest hills and have enough endurance in the upper body to ski the whole course
(up to 90-150 min) with a bigger contribution of the upper body muscles than in cross-country. That is
why Ski Orienteers do much specific endurance strength training on their upper body, like double poling
distance training in hilly terrain and short maximal double poling sprints on steep uphills.
All the physical factors above are very important for performing in Ski Orienteering, but it is also
important to handle the changes between the different techniques in wide and narrow tracks and the
changes in speed and intensity you will meet on a Ski Orienteering course. That is why it is important for
a Ski Orienteer to practice these factors over the whole year in order to perform at a high level during
winter competitions.
Below there are examples of some special exercises for Ski Orienteers. These are just examples for
inspiration in making other specialised exercises for SkiO. When starting with new exercises, one should
always use progression to get used to the new exercise. In the first few weeks one should always do
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them with lower intensity until you have the right technique, and then increase the intensity until you
reach the level you’re supposed to train with.
Example of short interval training for Ski Orienteers
Trains the aerobic endurance system and the ability to resist lactate production with speed changes. A
way to simulate the way you ski in Ski Orienteering. Can be done both skating, double poling and as
narrow track technique.
•
•
•
Warm up: Slow skiing 20-30 minutes with some faster sprints
Interval: 30-60 times 20 seconds skiing (first 5 seconds maximal sprint, the next 15 seconds
maintaining the speed), 20 seconds rest
Cool down: 15-20 minutes slow skiing
Example of long interval training for Ski Orienteers
Trains the aerobic endurance system, work economy, technique changes and map reading. Can be done
on rollerskis or skis on a rollerski track, ski course or on long uphills.
•
•
•
Warm up: 20-30 minutes of slow skiing using the different techniques skating, narrow track
skating and double poling. Some faster sprints.
Interval:
o 6 times 10 minutes (2 minutes skate + 2 minutes double poling + 2 minutes skate + 2
minutes narrow track skate + 2 minutes skate)
o 82.5%-87.5% of maximal heart rate
o Reading map from a Ski Orienteering event during the interval. Selecting routes and
trying to ski the routes mentally. Also possible to draw the routes as a map memory
exercise on blank paper during the rests.
o 2-3 minutes rest between intervals
Cool down: 15-20 minutes slow skiing
Example of maximal strength training for Ski Orienteers
Main muscle groups trained: M. latissimus dorsi, M. triceps brachi, M. rectus abdominus, M. iliopsoas
•
•
Warm up: 15-30 minutes slow running/skiing + some strength exercises with low intensity.
Strength training: 2-2.5 minute rest between sets.
o 3 times 4-6 repetitions pull down with narrow grip, 80-90% of 1RM (one-repetitionmaximum)
o 3 times 4-6 repetitions standing double poling, 80-90% of 1RM
o 3-4 times 10 repetitions dips, 70-80% of 1RM
o 3-4 times 10 repetitions vertical sit-ups with weight, 70-80% 1RM
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Example of strength training for Ski Orienteers on skis and rollerskis
Main muscle groups trained: M. latissimus dorsi, M. triceps brachi, M. rectus abdominus, M. iliopsoas
•
•
•
Warm-up:
o 15 minutes slow skiing, skating and double poling
o 5 skate sprints from slow speed and increasing speed until maximum.
o 5 double poling sprints from slow speed and increasing speed until maximum.
Strength training, start every 2nd minute
o 4 times 20 strokes V3 skate with as long strokes as possible on steep uphill
o 3 times 20 strokes V2 skate without poles on steep uphill
o 3 times 20 strokes triceps double poling on slightly steep uphill
o 3 times 30 strokes diagonal poling with a straight upper body on slightly steep uphill
o 3 times 20 strokes double poling with straight upper body on slightly steep uphill
o 3 times 30 strokes diagonal poling with only use of the upper body on steep uphill
o 3 times 20 double poles as long as possible on a steep uphill
o 5 times 25 double poles as fast as possible on a steep uphill (3 minutes rest)
Cool down: 15-20 min slow skating
Ski Technical training for Ski Orienteering
To become good on narrow tracks you will need a lot of practice on narrow tracks. You need to be able
to use the bumps in the terrain to create speed without catching your skis in the snow. To improve leg
work on narrow tracks, the athlete should ski narrow tracks with a reduced ability to get power from the
upper body. Since it is hard to ski narrow tracks without poles, one way of doing this is to ski narrow
tracks with only one pole. This will also be an exercise where the athlete will need to stabilise the upper
body to be able to get any power.
Other ways of improving technical skiing ability are to go out and have fun on the skis. They can be
obstacle courses, jumps, slalom, playing football, soccer or bandy on skis etc. It is also possible to do
obstacle courses as head-to-head sprints or relays. All kinds of skiing that push the athlete’s limits will
improve their technical skiing abilities and help them go faster on narrow, winding, and bumpy tracks
and have fewer falls during a race.
It is also possible to try to follow someone who has better skiing abilities than yourself when he is skiing
downhill on narrow tracks. Then you should try to copy what the better skier is doing and try to follow
him down the hill.
Other things that can be worth training for Ski Orienteers are for punching: how and when to brake,
how to do the punch, and then a fast acceleration after the punch. This can be done on an open
groomed area like a ski stadium, with many controls in a row, or as an obstacle course where the
athletes should try to do the course as fast as possible. It is also possible to make a short loop in a track
system where the athlete should try to ski the course as fast as possible and punch the controls. In a
race with up to 40 controls there can be a lot of time to gain from having a good punching technique.
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Orienteering technical training for Ski Orienteering
The obvious most important factor in all orienteering sports is of course the orienteering part. If you
make a 30-second route choice mistake, or lose one minute because you turned at the wrong crossing
and have to turn around, you have wasted a lot of energy and the time loss is impossible to catch up
later. That is why the best Ski Orienteers also make the fewest mistakes.
The absolutely best way to improve one’s Ski Orienteering technique is by skiing Ski Orienteering
competitions. Here you will get both competition experience and routine, and you will have to orienteer
under pressure. But it can be hard to do enough Ski Orienteering competitions, because of long and
expensive travel and the shortage of such competitions. This reduces the Ski Orienteer's opportunities
for doing the most relevant technical training for Ski Orienteering. Nevertheless it is possible to do a lot
of good orienteering technical training for Ski Orienteers, both with and without a track system, both in
summer and winter. Further down there are some example exercises, but it is only one's imagination
that limits the number of exercises you can create.
Orienteering technical training in the summer
It is important for Ski Orienteers to do technical orienteering training over the whole year and not only
during the last few weeks before the competition season. That is why they are including both Mountain
Bike Orienteering and Foot Orienteering in their training, and many Ski Orienteers even compete at a
high level in these sports. But it is also possible to do even more relevant training for Ski Orienteering,
like Rollerski Orienteering and running Path Orienteering with map holder and poles. Rollerski
Orienteering is done as normal Ski Orienteering with roller skis and a map holder, in a residential area or
other area with a technical paved road network during quiet traffic times of the day. In Path
Orienteering the athletes run with a map holder and short ski poles in their hands. Then they also can
work with their upper body at the same time, and they cannot hold the map holder while they are
running, as in Ski Orienteering. Path Orienteering is done on very dense path networks that are often
located close to cities. For Path Orienteering you often use a large map scale to make it readable when
you are running, and it is therefore very important that the path system on the map is correct. Almost all
the exercises in this handbook can be done as Ski Orienteering in winter and by Rollerski Orienteering,
Mountain Bike Orienteering and Path Orienteering in summer.
Focus in orienteering technical exercises
The most important thing when you're doing technical orienteering exercises, to get the most out of
them, is to be 100% focused on your tasks and try to do the exercises as similar as possible to
competitions. The exercises should also be done close to or even above the athlete's competition speed
to develop the athlete’s skills, but it is also possible to do some of the exercises at lower speed in order
to find the flow in the orienteering. But if the exercise is supposed to be done below competition speed,
it is very important that the athlete manages to maintain top focus throughout the whole exercise.
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Something that is important to have in mind when you are doing technical orienteering training is that
for each time you train in the track, path or road network you will learn more and more of the area. That
means you will get less technical orienteering outcome when you have used the same area a couple of
times. At the end you will know the area so well that you will be navigating more on your memory than
the map, and then you're not getting much technical orienteering training. This can even be destructive
for your orienteering skills because you can develop bad orienteering habits. That is why it is important
not to ‘wear out’ the technical networks, but instead save them for later exercises.
Analysis
After each technical orienteering training or competition, the athlete should analyse their race and find
all the time losses he/she made. This should preferably be done in pairs or a group with other athletes
that have done the same exercise or course. Then discussions will start, and the athletes will get to
know what other athletes are thinking and maybe find routes they didn't find themselves. When the
athletes are trying to analyse their race, they should use their split times to really see where they lost
time compared to others. The athletes should also analyse the reason behind their time losses and
document both how much time loss they had on the exercise or competition, the reason, what kind of
terrain the time losses appeared on, and other important factors for the time loss. After some exercises
and competitions it might well be possible to see some common areas where the athlete loses the most
time, and then start training to improve these aspects.
In recent years it has become more and more common with GPS tracking at competitions, and a lot of
ski orienteers also track their routes using GPS watches. GPS tracks can be very informative when you
are going to analyse your race or an athlete’s race. This will give you a lot more information about why
and how you lost time than just the split times. Programs such as GPS Seuranta, MapandCoach, 3DRerun
and QuickRoute are specially constructed for making orienteering analysis. Here you can make a mass
start of all the runners or just a portion of the runners. You can also mass start them at points along the
course and thereby analyse the different route choices, and you can see the athletes flow and how
much they are stopping. Some of the programs even give you a lot of graphs that help you detect the
athlete's flow and skiing speed. In the 3DRerun program you can also upload a headcam movie that you
can synchronize with the GPS track and then get even more information about the athlete's orienteering
habits and see the reasons for their mistakes. These are great tools for analysing your own race, but also
to get more experience by looking at others' races and see how the best ski orienteers ski. The webbased programs also save the old tracks. This gives less experienced athletes the possibility to pick up
some of the knowledge the more experienced athletes have, and thereby decrease the experience gap
between them. One of these programs is GPS Seuranta; see a link to this program in the GPS analysing
programs links at the end of this document.
Ski the same course more times
For new athletes to the sport it can be hard to understand how fast it is possible to ski in the narrow
tracks, especially when you also have to orienteer. That’s why new athletes should try to do the same
course several times. The first time they will have to focus a lot on the orienteering and their skiing will
be pretty slow. If they ski the same course one more time they will have less challenges with the
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navigation. This will give them the opportunity to feel how fast the best ski orienteers, that ski just as
fast with or without the navigation challenge, are skiing in competitions. This will also give the new
athletes the possibility to get good practice at high speed in narrow tracks, which is important for them
to develop as ski orienteers.
Below there are some Ski Orienteering technical exercises for both with and without track system and
even some mental exercises. All the physical exercises can be done as summer training like Mountain
Bike Orienteering, Rollerski Orienteering or Path Orienteering or as Ski Orienteering exercises in winter.
Also listed are what orienteering ability the exercise is training, how it is done and some map examples
that show how the exercise can be done.
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Physical orienteering technical exercises with track system:
Ski Orienteering course
Difficulty
Technical factors
On – Off snow
Track system
Physical intensity
Training method
Number of
athletes
Preparations:
Equipment
Easy to hard
• Map reading
• Route choices
On snow (alt. off snow)
All kinds – harder orienteering technical demands if more difficult
All speeds – higher speed will make the orienteering more difficult
Continuous
No limit since they are not starting together
Much – Track network, maps, courses and control placing
• A Ski Orienteering track network
• Maps with tracks and course
• Controls
Description:
In this exercise the athletes will just ski a normal Ski Orienteering course. The athletes can have some
personal tasks they are going to focus on. Examples of tasks:
•
•
•
•
•
Always take the best route choice – take some extra time to choose routes
Always be reading ahead on the map. Where am I going at the next 2-3 crossings. If you don’t
know this you have to stop and find out
Regulate the speed between the easy and hard orienteering technical areas
Try to find the best short-cuts
Find easy routes where you can keep the pace high
The exercise can also be used as competition preparation where the athlete prepares and does the
course as it should have been in a competition. It is also possible to do this as a test race and let the
athlete feel the pressure when they know the time is running.
The course can have a sprint, middle distance or a long distance character. It is also possible to increase
the challenge by having sprint distance character for a one-hour training session, or by switching
between the characters within the exercise: first there are some controls with a sprint character before
a long route choice leg and then more sprint controls.
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Map example 2: Ski Orienteering course
Map example 3: Rollerski Orienteering
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Map example 4: Path Orienteering
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Ski Orienteering intervals
Difficulty
Technical factors
On – Off snow
Track system
Physical intensity
Training method
Number of
athletes
Preparations:
Equipment
Medium to hard
• Start procedures
• Getting into focus
• Over-speed training
• Handling stress from other skiers*
• Map reading
• Route choice
On snow (alt. off snow)
All kinds - harder orienteering technical demands if more difficult
High speed
Intervals
Alone, or two or more together
Much – Track network, maps, courses and control placing
• A Ski Orienteering track network
• Maps with tracks and course
• Controls
Description:
Ski Orienteering intervals are intervals in short ski orienteering courses from 3-15 minutes, often of
sprint or middle distance character. The athletes should try to do the courses as fast as possible without
any mistakes.
This challenges the athlete to work through their routines of focusing before the start, putting the map
in the map holder and attacking the first controls. To do Ski Orienteering as intervals the athletes will
also ski at more than normal speed, and this will develop their orienteering skills and skiing skills on
narrow tracks.
The interval can be done in many ways. It can be just a normal course, or it can be done with more
people starting together, or even as a chasing start. If there are more people skiing the same course at
the same time, it is possible to create different kinds of gaffling to force them to orienteer by
themselves, but it is also possible that they ski the same course and stress each other. If they are going
to ski the same course, it is important to have good route choices they can choose between. As a
gaffling method, butterflies are a good option. See one example called Gladiator in map example 6.
At an interval session it can be possible to mix the interval type. For example the first interval can be an
individual start with 30 seconds between each skier. The next interval can be ungaffled, the third a
gladiator butterfly and the last interval an ungaffled chasing start.
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Map example 5: Ski Orienteering interval
Map example 6: Gladiator intervals. In pairs with different gafflings
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Downhill intervals
Difficulty
Technical factors
On – Off snow
Track system
Physical intensity
Training method
Number of
athletes
Preparations:
Equipment
Hard
• Over-speed training
• Ski handling
• Getting into focus
• Start procedures
• Map reading
• Route choice
• Short-cutting
• Handling stress from other skiers*
On snow (alt. off snow)
Tight network in a downhill
All speeds – higher speed will make the orienteering more difficult
Intervals
Alone, or two and two together
Much – Track network, maps, courses and control placing
• A Ski Orienteering track network
• Maps with tracks and course
• Controls
Description:
Downhill intervals are as the name says: orienteering on a downhill. Since a downhill always ends,
downhill orienteering is done as intervals. But as you get high speed downhill, you can get difficult
orienteering demands without the same physical effort. When they have finished their course down,
they ski on another track back up again at a slow speed before they again prepare for the next start at
the top.
The biggest challenge in downhill Ski Orienteering is the high speed. The athlete will ski at over-speed
with limited opportunities to read the map. This requires them to read the map precisely as often as
possible, since they don’t have the opportunity to read the map again. In downhills there are also more
possibilities to do short-cuts, which again makes the orienteering challenges even harder.
It is also possible to do this exercise with stress from other skiers by starting two and two together on
the same course or with gaffling.
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Map example 7: Downhill
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One man relay
Difficulty
Technical factors
On – Off snow
Track system
Physical intensity
Training method
Number of
athletes
Preparations:
Equipment
Medium to hard
• Mass start and relay training
• Handling stress from other skiers
• Map changes
• Map reading
• Route choice
On snow (alt. off snow)
All kinds - harder orienteering technical demands if more difficult
High speed
Continuous
No limit, but two or more skiers
Much – Track network, maps, courses with gaffling, map changing and control
placing
• A Ski Orienteering track network
• Maps with tracks and course
• Controls
• Map change equipment
Description:
One man relay is like a mass start or a relay where one skier skis all the legs. The course can for example
have 3 loops that are gaffled and the skiers will ski the course as a mass start. Because of the gaffling,
the skiers will not have the same course for the whole race, and they will have to orienteer
independently and still use the other skiers. This is a great exercise which will make the athletes give
everything to beat each other.
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Map example 8: One man relay
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Follow the line
Difficulty
Technical factors
On – Off snow
Track system
Physical intensity
Training method
Number of
athletes
Preparations:
Equipment
Easy to middle
• Flow in map reading
• Practice reading rhythm
On snow (alt. off snow)
Middle to high crossing density
Low (also possible to do at higher speed)
Continuous
No limit since they are not starting together
Much – track network, maps and control placing
• A Ski Orienteering track network
• Maps with tracks and line
• Controls
Description:
In this exercise the athletes are going to try to navigate on a chosen route. They are going to try to
follow the line marked on the map. Along the line there will be controls that are not marked on the map
and the athletes should punch at these controls. When they have finished the course they will read out
their punches and see if they have punched all the controls and thereby stayed on the chosen route.
This exercise will be harder the faster you ski, but if you have a very tight network of tracks this exercise
is also possible to do at lower speeds. It is also possible to do this exercise without controls in the forest
to make the organising of the training easier.
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Map example 9: Follow the line
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Corridor
Difficulty
Technical factors
On – Off snow
Track system
Physical intensity
Training method
Number of
athletes
Preparations:
Equipment
Easy to middle
• Flow in map reading
• Practice reading rhythm
On snow (alt. off snow)
Middle to high crossing density
Low (also possible to do at higher speed)
Continuous
No limit since they are not starting together
Much – track network, maps and control placing
• A Ski Orienteering track network
• Maps with tracks and corridor
• Controls
Description:
In this exercise the athletes are going to try to navigate on a chosen route. They are going to try to ski
within a corridor marked on the map. Inside the corridor the map will be shown normally, but outside
the corridor the map will be blank. Only what the athletes need to know for navigating should be inside
the corridor. That will be the track they are skiing, crossings and maybe some terrain items.
Along the corridor there will be controls that are not marked on the map and the athletes should punch
at these controls. When they have finished the course they will read out their punches and see if they
have punched all the controls and thereby stayed on the chosen route.
This exercise will be harder the faster you ski, but if you have a very tight network of tracks this exercise
is also possible to do at lower speeds. It is also possible to do this exercise without controls in the forest
to make the organising of the training easier.
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Map example10: Corridor
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Route Choice
Difficulty
Technical factors
On – Off snow
Track system
Physical intensity
Training method
Number of
athletes
Preparations:
Equipment
Easy to hard
• To find the most effective route choices
• Stress by skiing against each other
On snow (alt. off snow)
All kinds - most important that the track network gives challenging route choices
All speeds – higher speed will make the orienteering more difficult
Continuous or intervals
Two and two together (alt. ski the course alone twice)
Much – Track network, maps, courses and control placing
• A Ski Orienteering track network
• Maps with tracks and courses
• Controls
Description:
In this exercise the athletes are going to ski a course with good route choices on each leg. The legs can
both be longer and shorter as long as the route choices are demanding and interesting.
Two and two athletes start this exercise together. The first athlete decides the route choice he wants
and the athlete behind has to take another route choice. If they are not going to ski at maximal speed,
they should decide which speed they are going to ski at before the start. Then the first to get to the
control has taken the better route choice.
It is also possible to do this exercise with pre-decided route choices. Then the map is drawn with two
different lines as route choices between each control. The two athletes choose their own line and the
first to the control took the better route choice.
This exercise can also be done alone. The athlete first skis the course once and prints the split times
from the first run. Then they ski the course one more time, but this time choosing another route to each
control. When they have finished the second run they print their splits and then they can compare the
first and the second run and from the split times decide the best route choice to each control.
Thereafter they can ski the course yet one more time, trying to take all the best route choices, to see
how much faster it is possible to ski the course when they know the route choices and have skied them
before.
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Map example 11: Route choice
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Control picking
Difficulty
Technical factors
On – Off snow
Track system
Physical intensity
Training method
Number of
athletes
Preparations:
Equipment
Easy to hard
• Practice flow and smoothness in map reading and navigation
• Make fast route choice decisions
• Control punching and turning
On snow (alt. off snow)
Tight track network
All speeds – higher speed will make the orienteering more difficult
Continuous
No limit since they are not starting together
Much – Track network, maps, courses and control placing
• A Ski Orienteering track network
• Maps with tracks and course
• Controls
Description:
In this exercise the athlete skis a course with a lot of controls and short legs in a tight track network as
fast as possible. They should try to do this exercise without stopping or going wrong at any crossings,
and always taking the best route choices.
This will challenge the athlete's navigation skills and their ability to make fast route choices in a difficult
track system. To be able to ski the course at a fast speed, the athletes need to read the map in advance
and know where they are going at the next 2-3 crossings all the time, or they will have to stop or will
make mistakes. This will also challenge them to try to read the map as often as possible, forcing them to
read whenever it is possible (it is hard to read the map when they are skiing through crossings, turns and
on a steep downhill etc.). If they only read the map for where they are and not in advance, they will
have to stop after the difficult parts in order to read their map. Each time they stop to read the map
they will lose time, and on skis one stop takes as long as skiing 50-100 metres.
It is also possible to do this exercise at a slower speed where the athlete feels they have control, and
thereby train on skiing with flow. After a while at slower speed, they can raise the speed a bit and try to
keep their flow. The best athletes can ski even the most difficult areas with flow at almost maximum
speed.
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Map example 12: Control picking
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Pace variation
Difficulty
Technical factors
On – Off snow
Track system
Physical intensity
Training method
Number of
athletes
Preparations:
Equipment
Medium to hard
• To change pace when entering different orienteering technical
characteristics
• Route choice (on the longer legs)
• Flow in the map reading (on the difficult legs)
On snow (alt. off snow)
A track system with different characters. Some tight areas with easier areas
between
All speeds – higher speed will make the orienteering more difficult
Continuous (alt. intervals)
No limit since they are not starting together
Much – Track network, maps, courses and control placing
• A Ski Orienteering track network
• Maps with tracks and course
• Controls
Description:
Very often the course setter varies the pace on a ski orienteering course, forcing the athletes to push
their physical limits on a long leg demanding full-speed skiing and then combining with short,
demanding navigational legs. The aim of this exercise is to push the limits in skiing on a long leg, so that
physical tiredness will force mistakes and weakness in mental concentration and navigation on a more
challenging part of the course.
In this exercise the athletes should do a course where they should focus on never skiing above their
orienteering level. The course should be made with big differences in the characteristics where they mix
long, hard physical legs and go directly over to more technical legs in a difficult track network. Then the
athlete has to turn down the speed since they are tired after the physical leg, and need lower speed to
manage the orienteering in the difficult part. After the difficult part there can again be some longer
physical legs where they have to speed up again before entering a new difficult area.
If the athletes have big problems slowing down, then the coach can mark on the map beforehand where
they should lower the speed and focus on the orienteering, and where they can ski at full speed. After a
few exercises the athlete should understand where to change focus, and can do it without any marking
from the coach.
This training can also be done as an interval where the athlete first has a longer leg to the difficult area,
then some short legs inside the difficult area before a longer leg to the finish.
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Map example 13: Pace variation
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Lead John
Difficulty
Technical factors
On – Off snow
Track system
Physical intensity
Training method
Number of
athletes
Preparations:
Equipment
Medium
• Practice map reading in advance
• Memorising*
On snow (alt. off snow)
All kinds - harder orienteering technical demands if more difficult
All speeds – higher speed will make the orienteering more difficult
Continuous
Two and two together
Much – Track network, maps, courses and control placing
• A Ski Orienteering track network
• One map with control 1, 3, 5 … etc.
• One map with control 2, 4, 6 … etc.
• Controls
Description:
In Lead John the athletes are skiing in pairs. One of the athletes is going to tell the other athlete where
he is going to ski. The athlete who is told where to ski is called ‘John’ and is skiing first, while the skier
who is telling him where to ski is skiing behind. At each control they change who is ‘John’.
This exercise forces the athlete who is telling ‘John’ where to ski to read the map in advance. If not, the
skier in front won’t know where to ski at the crossings. The exercise can be done at all speeds, but it will
be more difficult if they ski faster.
This exercise can be done in two ways. One way is for both skiers to have a map, but the maps shows
only every other control. That means the first leader has controls 1, 3, 5 (and so on) on their map but
the other runner has controls 2, 4, 6 etc. on their map. The runner being told where to ski then also has
to read the map to know where they are, because when they reach the control he is going to show the
next leg without asking the other runner where they are.
Another way of doing this exercise is that the ‘John’ has to turn his map over so that he is not able to
look at the map while he is in the lead to the next control. At the control he will turn his map over, and
by memory and looking at the terrain and tracks try to locate where they are, before he leads the new
‘John’ to the next control.
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Map example 14: Lead John, skier 1
Map example 15: Lead John, skier 2
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Follow John
Difficulty
Technical factors
On – Off snow
Track system
Physical intensity
Training method
Number of
athletes
Preparations:
Equipment
Medium to hard
• Mass-start training
• Memorising*
On snow (alt. off snow)
All kinds - harder orienteering technical demands if more difficult
All speeds – higher speed will make the orienteering more difficult
Continuous
Two and two together
Much – Track network, maps, courses and control placing
• A Ski Orienteering track network
• One map with control 1, 3, 5 … etc.
• One map with control 2, 4, 6 … etc.
• Controls
Description:
Follow John is pretty similar to Lead John, but in Follow John the ‘John without the next control on the
map is skiing behind the athlete with the next control on the map. At the control they change, and the
skier with the next control on the map is going to ski to the next control without asking the other where
they are.
This is a good exercise for mass-start training. The skier behind has to follow the other without knowing
where he is going, but still needs to orienteer to be able to take the next control.
This exercise is also possible to do by memory, if the runner behind hides the map so he can’t read it
while they are skiing. At the control this runner then, by memory and looking at the terrain and the
tracks, has to try to locate where they are and ski to the next control without asking the other runner.
See map example at Lead John
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Hunt John
Difficulty
Technical factors
On – Off snow
Track system
Physical intensity
Training method
Number of
athletes
Preparations:
Equipment
Medium to hard
• Map reading
• Understanding the map and the speed of different route choices
• Using the map another way than normal – think ‘outside the box’
o May lead to a better understanding of the sport
On snow (alt. off snow)
All kinds - harder orienteering technical demands if more difficult
All speeds – higher speed will make the orienteering more difficult
Intervals
2-5 (has to be more than one)
Some – Track network, maps and well planned lines
• A Ski Orienteering track network
• Maps with lines
Description:
This is a complex exercise where the athlete has to think ‘outside the box’. The athletes will get a map
where a route line is drawn taking 3-10 minutes to ski. One of the athletes is going to follow this line
from the start, while the rest are waiting. The first athlete is called ‘John’ and the rest of the athletes are
going to try to catch him. At a determined time depending on the track network and line characteristics
(for example 30 seconds) the rest of the athletes can start hunting ‘John’ by using all the tracks in the
terrain. The one that catches him first wins, or if John finishes the line without anyone catching him he
will win. To make it possible to catch John the line has to be winding, and the line should give the
athletes that are hunting ‘John’ tactical challenges in their hunting of ‘John’.
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Map example 16: Hunt John
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John the Starter
Difficulty
Technical factors
On – Off snow
Track system
Physical intensity
Training method
Number of
athletes
Preparations:
Equipment
Hard
• Memory
• Map and terrain understanding
• Problem solving
• The ability to understand where you are when you are lost
On snow (alt. off snow)
All kinds - harder orienteering technical demands if more difficult
All speeds – higher speed will make the orienteering more difficult
Intervals
1-6
Much – Track network, maps and controls in the forest
• A Ski Orienteering track network
• Maps with tracks and a control
• Controls
Description:
This is a complex exercise that challenges many technical orienteering abilities. In this exercise the
athletes are following a leader into the track system with their maps hidden. The starter is driving on a
snow mobile or skiing. When they are at the start the starter gives a signal, like raising a hand in the air
or stopping, and the athletes are allowed to turn over their maps. On the map there is no start triangle
telling them where they are, only a control circle. The athletes should now try to find the control by
identifying where they are on the map by memory from where they have skied and by looking at the
terrain and the tracks. They are allowed to ski to try do find out where they are and they should find the
control and get back to the ‘start’ as fast as possible. It is possible to do this with many athletes at the
same time, and it can be even more challenging if not all the athletes have the same control on their
map.
This can be a really challenging exercise, so it can be hard to do the orienteering part as hard training
since the athletes often have to ski slowly for a while to be able to identify where they are. If you want
to make this exercise into hard training, then in the time when they are following the leader they should
be skiing fast. It is possible to do this as an interval, where the time behind the leader is the hard period
and the time they are trying to find the control and get back is the rest. Skiing fast after the leader also
makes it harder for the athletes to memorise what they are passing, and thereby harder to identify
where they are when they turn over the map. It is possible to make this exercise even harder if the
athletes are skiing without compasses.
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Incorrect map
Difficult
Technical factors
On – Off snow
Track system
Physical intensity
Training method
Number of
athletes
Preparations:
Equipment
Hard
• Read more features on the map than just the tracks
On snow (alt. off snow)
All kinds, but it should be possible to go pretty straight on the legs
All speeds – higher speed will make the orienteering more difficult
Continuous
No limit since they are not starting together
Much – Track network, maps customizing, courses and control placing
• A Ski Orienteering track network
• Maps with custom track network and a course
• Controls
Description:
Ski Orienteers often read only the tracks and not so many of the other features. That is why it can be
challenging for them if they have to ski on a map where there are extra tracks on the map or some
tracks are missing. The athletes are allowed to ski on both the tracks that are on the map and those that
are only in the forest. This will force the athletes to read other features and not only the mapped tracks.
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Only track system and contours
Difficulty
Technical factors
On – Off snow
Track system
Physical intensity
Training method
Number of
athletes
Preparations:
Equipment
Hard
• Read more carefully the tracks and the contours on the map
• Contour understanding
On snow (alt. off snow)
All kinds - harder orienteering technical demands if more difficult
All speeds – higher speed will make the orienteering more difficult
Continuous
No limit since they are not starting together
Much – Track network, map customizing , courses and control placing
• A Ski Orienteering track network
• Custom maps with only tracks and contours and a course
• Controls
Description:
Another way of mixing up the map or making the track network look different, if the athletes are getting
to know the area, is to make a map with only tracks and contours. This will especially make areas with
distinct vegetation look different. Then the athlete will not be able to navigate using felled areas, open
areas, or marshes and they have to pay more attention to the track system. This exercise will also help
them in understanding the contours, since that is the only thing they can read on the map beyond the
tracks. It is also possible to have a map with only the tracks. That will make the athlete have to focus
more on the tracks and not on other features. This can be a good exercise in open land or big marshes.
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Map example 17: Map without vegetation and contours
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Maps without tracks
Difficulty
Technical factors
On – Off snow
Track system
Physical intensity
Training method
Number of
athletes
Preparations:
Equipment
Hard
• Read other features than the tracks
On snow (alt. off snow)
All kinds - harder orienteering technical demands if more difficult
All speeds – higher speed will make the orienteering more difficult
Continuous
No limit since they are not starting together
Much – Track network, map customizing, courses and control placing
• A Ski Orienteering track network
• Maps with tracks and course
• Controls
Description:
To do Ski Orienteering without the tracks on the map can be really demanding. This forces the athlete to
navigate using other features. Since in Ski Orienteering you are very dependent on the track system to
select the best route choices and not make any mistakes, this will be impossible to do perfectly without
the tracks on the map. But still as a variation and for teaching the athletes to read more details than just
the tracks, it can be a good exercise to do a Ski Orienteering course on a map without any tracks
occasionally.
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Map example 18: Map without tracks
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Map memory
Difficulty
Technical factors
On – Off snow
Track system
Physical intensity
Training method
Number of
athletes
Preparations:
Equipment
Hard
• Simplifying
• Memorising
On snow (alt. off snow)
All kinds - harder orienteering technical demands if more difficult
All speeds – higher speed will make the orienteering more difficult
Continuous
Alone or two and two
Much – Track network, maps, courses and control placing
• A Ski Orienteering track network
• Maps with tracks and course
• Controls
Description:
The athletes are going to try to memorise a whole leg, and find the control without looking at the map
along the way.
The exercise can be done as a normal Ski Orienteering course except that the athlete stops at the
controls, tries to simplify and memorise the next leg, then turns the map upside down and finds the next
control without looking at the map on the way. It is also possible to just hang a map with the next leg at
the controls, and the athletes then have to memorise the leg before they leave the map at the control. If
they don’t find the next control, they have to try to find their way back to the previous control.
Another way of doing this exercise is to do it as the Follow John exercise: the skier that is going to find
the control has to simplify and memorise the route at the control before turning the map around, and
then tries to ski by memory to the next control.
The memorising exercise can be a very difficult exercise if the legs are long and there are a lot of
crossings. Memorising exercises are maybe not the most relevant for modern Ski Orienteering, where
the athletes try to read the map as often as possible, but they definitely challenge the athlete's memory.
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Map example 19: Memorising with a new map hanging at each control
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Orienteering star
Difficulty
Technical factors
On – Off snow
Track system
Physical intensity
Training method
Number of
athletes
Preparations:
Equipment
Easy to hard
• Route choice
• Map reading
• Stress by others*
• Simplifying
• Memorising*
On snow (alt. off snow)
All kinds - harder orienteering technical demands if more difficult
All speeds – higher speed will make the orienteering more difficult
Continuous
No limit for the exercise as long as there are enough maps, but the athletes ski
alone or two and two
Much – Track network, maps, orienteering star course and control placing
• A Ski Orienteering track network
• Maps with tracks and course
• Controls
Description:
The orienteering star can be done in many ways. But the principle is that the athletes get one map with
a start and a control (see map example 19). The athlete skis from the start to the control and then back
to start/finish. When they have finished one control they will get a new map with another control to go
to.
One way of doing this exercise is that the athletes ski to the controls as usual with the map and then
back to the start/finish. To make it more interesting it is possible that they have to take another route
back to the finish than that they took to the control.
It is also possible to do the exercise as memorising. Then the athlete has to simplify and memorise the
leg at the start, and then try to find the control and get back to the start/finish.
The exercise can also be done as a route choice exercise. Then the athletes ski two and two against each
other. The athlete that is skiing first can choose the route choice they want but the other has to take
another route choice. At the control they stop and wait for each other before they do the same to get
back home, but then they have to take another route than that they took on the way to the control.
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Map example 20: Orienteering star
Map example 21: One of the athletes’ maps in an orienteering star
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Physical orienteering technical exercises without track system:
Arrow orienteering
Difficulty
Technical factors
On – Off snow
Track system
Physical intensity
Training method
Number of
athletes
Preparations:
Equipment
Medium
• Map reading
On snow (alt. off snow)
No track network, only a normal ski track in a ca. 500 metre loop
All speeds – higher speed will make the orienteering more difficult
Continuous
No limit
Some - A map with a fictitious track network, arrow signs; find a suitable start and
finish in the map
• A Ski Orienteering track network
• A map with a fictitious track network, and start and finish marked on the
map
• Arrow signs
Description:
Arrow orienteering is an exercise for training map reading when you don’t have access to a track
network. The athletes do the exercise by skiing in a 500 metre loop. Along the track, signs are placed
every 30-100 metres with arrows pointing to the left or to the right. The athletes’ task is to ski the loop
and watch for the signs. Each arrow shows which way they are ‘turning at the crossing’ and the athlete
should try to follow where ‘he is skiing’ on the map. After a determined number of loops the athlete
should have reached the finish. If not he has turned wrong somewhere.
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Map example 22: Arrow orienteering map by Mora Skidgymnas
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Batong
Difficulty
Technical factors
On – Off snow
Track system
Physical intensity
Training method
Number of
athletes
Preparations:
Equipment
Medium to hard
• Map reading
• Fast route choices*
On snow (alt. off snow)
No track network, but a specially constructed batong (explained in description)
All speeds – higher speed will make the orienteering more difficult
Continuous
Depends on the size of the batong. In a small batong, only 1-3 persons. But in
wider batongs it is possible with up to 10 persons at the same time.
Some – A Batong, maps with or without line and controls, control signs, key
• A batong
• Control signs
• Maps with tracks and course
Description:
Batong is an exercise for training map reading and flow when you don’t have access to a track network.
It’s also a very good exercise for summer training on roller skis in empty parking lots.
In a batong you are supposed to ski the crossings as on the map. You should take right, left or straight
each time you come to a crossing. The batong can be made in two ways. The original batong is like two
elliptical circles crossing each other, see the example figure. The batong can be made by a snowmobile
in an open, non-piste area or be marked up in a big, flat, open-piste
area such as at the bottom of an alpine track or at a ski stadium. The
Batong should be around 8 times 8 metres wide. If you make the
batong small and narrow it is harder for the athletes, but if you make
it bigger and with wider tracks it is possible for up to 10 persons to
ski in the same batong at the same time. This also makes it very
demanding, since the athletes also have to watch out for each other.
If there are many athletes wanting to do the batong at the same
time, it is also possible to make more batongs close to each other.
The athletes are then supposed to follow the track and each time
The Batong shape
they come to the crossing they should take left, right or straight.
An easier way of making a batong is to do it like a figure-8, see the
example figure. The athlete shall follow the figure-8 formed track and
each time they are coming to the centre crossing they should choose
right, left or straight. This is an easy way of making a batong if the athlete
th
The 8 Batong shape
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is going to do the batong by themselves. Then they can make it in a normal wide ski track by just using
two markers in each circle.
The batong can be done as a follow-the-line exercise, where the athletes get a map with a line they are
supposed to follow between each control. Then the coach can make a key and place out control signs,
with an arrow showing where the athletes should be in the batong when they are at the control on the
map and which direction they should be skiing.
It is also possible to let the athletes also decide the route choices in a batong. Then they are skiing with a
normal Ski Orienteering map and have to make the route choices by themselves. But then it is not
possible to have any key to show the controls.
Map example 23: Batong, easy
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Map example 24: Batong. difficult with key to the right
Crust snow SkiO
Difficulty
Technical factors
On – Off snow
Track system
Physical intensity
Training method
Number of
athletes
Preparations:
Equipment
Hard
• Reading other features
• Crust snow and short-cutting
• A different way of using the map – think ‘outside the box’
• Another way of thinking about route choice
• Map reading
• Map understanding
On crust snow
No track network but an open forest with crust snow
All speeds – higher speed will make the orienteering more difficult
Continuous
No limit since they are not starting together
Some – A normal foot orienteering map, course setting, control placing
• Maps with a course
• Controls
Description:
In the spring there is often crusty snow formed when the nights are cold and the days are warm. This
makes it possible to do Ski Orienteering without any tracks. You just use a normal foot orienteering map
and draw a course on it. The athletes will not be met by the same challenges as in normal Ski
Orienteering, but they will get the map reading training and also get a better map understanding when
they are reading different features than usual.
To make it harder and with route choices more like Ski Orienteering, it is also possible to draw a fictional
track network on the map. The athletes are only allowed to ski in the terrain where there is a track on
the map. Then they have to make a route choice as in Ski Orienteering, but they still need to read other
features very carefully to be able to follow the ‘tracks’.
This exercise is also possible to do when there is little snow at the beginning of the season – on the grass
in parks or ski stadiums. And when there is 5-10 cm snow and the temperature is changing between
above and below freezing point, it is possible to go skiing on snow without any tracks being made. This
can give the athletes useful Ski Orienteering training when it is hard to do other kinds of orienteering
technical training.
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Map example 25: Crust snow map with just 5-10 cm snow without any tracks in the terrain
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Reading map while skiing
Difficulty
Technical factors
On – Off snow
Track system
Physical intensity
Training method
Number of
athletes
Preparations:
Equipment
Easy to medium
• Map reading rhythm and flow
• Route choice
On snow (alt. off snow)
No track network, only a normal ski track
All speeds – higher speed, like intervals, will make the orienteering more difficult
Continuous or interval
No limit since they are not starting together
Little – course setting
• Map with a track network and a course
Description:
One of the easiest ways to get map training when you don’t have any access to any track network is to
just read the map while you are skiing, trying to imagine yourself skiing the course and making the route
choices.
This can be done as a part of slow distance training but is also suited to interval training.
Lead John without a track system
Difficulty
Technical factors
On – Off snow
Track system
Physical intensity
Training method
Number of
athletes
Preparations:
Equipment
Medium
• Practice map reading in advance
• Route choice
On snow (alt. off snow)
No track system needed, only a normal ski track
All speeds – higher speed will make the orienteering more difficult
Continuous
Two and two together
Little – course setting
• One map with control 1, 3, 5 … etc.
• One map with control 2, 4, 6 … etc.
Description:
The Lead John exercise can also be done without any track network. The athletes each have their map
where one of them has the map with controls 1, 3 ,5 … and the other has the map with controls 2, 4 ,6 …
. While they are skiing, the skier with control number one starts by telling the other what he is thinking
and how he would ski to get to the first control, while the other skier follows on his map. At the control
they change, and the other skier is supposed to continue without asking where they are on the map.
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This exercise can also help them understand how other Ski Orienteers are thinking. See map example at
Lead John.
Mental technical orienteering exercises:
Practicing orienteering technique doesn’t have to be done while you are skiing. It is also possible to do it
as a mental exercise when you are resting, or in combination with other training.
Draw the map
Difficulty
Technical factors
On – Off snow
Track system
Physical intensity
Training method
Preparations:
Equipment
Hard
•
Map memory
None, after training, race
Mental map memory exercise
None
• Blank paper and a pen
Description:
After a Ski Orienteering competition or training it is possible to try to draw the map from the
competition or training on a blank piece of paper. This puts big demands on the athlete to try to
remember the map reading on the course. If the athletes know they have to do this when they are
skiing, they maybe will also pay more attention to the map while they are skiing, and might notice more
details that can be of importance. But this kind of training is not liked by all athletes – many of them feel
that when they are orienteering they get into some kind of ‘trance’ where they are not memorising
what they are doing, because all their focus is on the orienteering and skiing. Many athletes get this
feeling when they are performing at their best and it is called flow. If the athletes always know they are
going to draw the map after the competition or training, it can make it harder for them to enter this
flow zone. That is why drawing the map after each race as a routine may not be preferred. But now and
then it can be a good test to see how much the athlete can remember from a competition, and to see
what he paid attention to.
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Route Choice
Difficulty
Technical factors
On – Off snow
Track system
Physical intensity
Training method
Preparations:
Equipment
Easy to medium
• Route choices
Can be done as a part of a training or at rest
Mental exercise
Little – map with course
• Map with a track network and a course
• Pen
Description:
When you are doing route choice training as mental training, you should draw your chosen route with a
pen. Then you are focusing more on the route you choose; you have to make a proper choice, as you
have to do in a competition. After the exercise you can look again at your routes and discuss them with
others, and discuss the route choices with them. Then you will learn how other athletes make route
choices.
This exercise can be done when you are resting at home, but also as a part of other training like strength
training. Then you decide a route choice for a new leg in every pause, for example.
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Map example 26: Example of a route choice exercise
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Imagine yourself orienteering
Difficulty
Technical factors
On – Off snow
Track system
Physical intensity
Training method
Preparations:
Equipment
Medium to hard
• Focusing
• Working on the feeling of rhythm and flow
• Route choice
None (or while you are training)
Mental exercise
Little – map with course
• Map with a track network and a course
Description:
To imagine yourself when you are competing is a good mental exercise. Ski Orienteers can do this by
looking at a map and trying to imagine themselves doing the race. First they have the map upside down
and are thinking through their pre-start preparations. Then they imagine themselves coming to the start
and focusing on the same things they are trying to focus on before starting the race. Then they turn the
map and start the race ‘mentally’: feeling how they are attacking the race, the legs, the route choices
and the crossings, trying to read the map as they would do in the competition, and trying to get the
good feeling and the flow.
Some athletes find it very easy and natural to imagine, while others find it harder. But all should try to
improve their imagination skills, since they can be very important in pre-race preparations. Many
athletes are doing this exercise the day before and the same morning as they are going to compete, with
old maps of the area or another map from a competition where they did a perfect race.
To be able to imagine as well as possible, the athletes should try to make their imaginations as detailed
and life-like as possible, that is to say as real as possible. To do that, they should try to make imaginary
pictures by using all their senses. They should try to feel how the skis are gliding, how poles are feeling
and the feeling of wind and snow in their faces. They should try to smell the cold winter morning, hear
the start clock beeping and the sound of skis creaking on the cold snow. To improve their imaginary
picture they should also try to create the same feelings as when they are competing, get the same
concentration, the same energy and so on.
To get a good mental picture, the athletes should also try to see themselves from both an inner and
outer position, which will say both from their own eyes and from a bird’s-eye view. That will give them
the chance to work with their feelings and thoughts, and also see their movement pattern and how they
are skiing.
To make it easier to make mental imaginary pictures, the athletes should use memories from earlier
competitions where they had a good performance. All this will prepare the athlete for up-coming
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competitions, and if they have done a good job it should feel like they have done the competition before
when they stand at the start line.
The newspaper
Difficulty
Technical factors
On – Off snow
Track system
Physical intensity
Training method
Preparations:
Equipment
Easy to medium
• Finding the shortest route choice
None
Mental exercise
Little – a newspaper column or paragraph
• Newspaper
• Pen
Description:
One very easy way to get some extra training in finding the shortest route choices is by drawing a start
triangle at the bottom of a newspaper column or a paragraph and a finish at the top, and then trying to
draw a short-as-possible line between the start triangle and the finish without splitting any words.
Map example 27: Example of The newspaper
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Catching Features
Difficulty
Technical factors
On – Off snow
Track system
Physical intensity
Training method
Preparations:
Equipment
Medium to hard
• Focusing
• Map-reading rhythm and flow
• Route choice
None
Computer gaming, mental exercise
Some – Converting the OCAD map into Catching Features and making courses
• Computer with Catching Features installed
Description:
In the orienteering computer game Catching Features it is also possible to play Ski Orienteering. This is
really good Ski Orienteering training, where the athlete is challenged by the same route choice solving as
in Ski Orienteering. The athlete also has to practice map-reading rhythm, so that he can read the map
when it is possible and not when it is difficult to stay on the track. The athlete also has to read the map
as in Ski Orienteering when the track network is difficult, forcing map reading between every crossing. It
is difficult to find any mental exercise for Ski Orienteering that is more realistic than playing the Ski
Orienteering version of Catching Features.
Catching Features is possible to buy at www.catchingfeatures.com. Here there are also instructions
about how to make a Ski Orienteering version of the game and how to convert OCAD files to Catching
Features. This
way you can
play on any
map in
Catching
Features.
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Illustration picture of the Ski Orienteering version of Catching Features
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How to prepare for competitions
In Ski Orienteering, as all other sports, the athletes should try to be as well prepared as possible when
they get to the start line. The athlete should therefore try to know as much as possible about the terrain
and get as much information about the races as possible, without entering embargoed areas or breaking
other rules. That is why it is of great importance that the team leader gives out to the athletes all the
information that is given at the team leaders meeting. The athletes should also try to get information
about the course, start, service and drinks controls, public controls, map exchanges, last control and the
finish. This is information the athletes legally and easily can access, and it is therefore unnecessary to
lose time or make mistakes in the competitions at these points since it is possible to prepare for them.
To prepare for the competitions the athletes should also try to get as much information about the
terrain as possible. But since the terrain is embargoed from the date it is announced the competition
will be held in that area, the athletes have to find information about the terrain in ways other than
entering the area. If an athlete has too much knowledge of the competition area, the athlete should, in
the name of fair play, not take part in the competitions. Google Earth is a good way to get a picture of
the terrain. Before all IOF World Championships, Regional Championships and World Cups old maps of
the terrain will be published. These maps are a big help for the athlete to get a get to know the terrain.
From these maps the athlete can get to know the height differences in the terrain and what the map is
like. This will make it much easier for the athletes to navigate during the competition, since they know
the map and know where the terrain is steep and if the land is going up or down. If there are old Ski
Orienteering maps of the area it will be possible to see a pattern in how the track system is in this
terrain. Often in earlier competitions they made the tracks wherever it is possible to make them, and
many of the tracks will therefore be the same. And the standard ski track network of wide tracks is
almost the same every year. If the foot orienteering map is published too, it will be possible for the
athlete to look also at details that are not shown on the Ski Orienteering map, such as the runability in
the terrain. If the foot orienteering map is green the terrain is most likely not good for short-cutting.
From the foot orienteering map it is also worthwhile looking at the path network, because often many
of the tracks are driven on the paths because it is easier to drive the snow mobiles there.
One way to get to know the terrain is to draw fictional track networks on the old maps and do the
physical orienteering technique exercises without a track system on them.
To be as well prepared as possible, the athletes should also try to do some earlier competitions in the
same type of terrain with the same organisers. Then it is possible to learn the course-setters’ way of
course setting and the kind of track network the organisers are making. Often the World Championship
organisers will have a pre-camp the year before, or earlier the same winter, that is open for all
competitors.
The day before the competitions there is a model event organised which should be representative of the
competitions. At the model event, maps will be given out in all the map scales that are going to be used
in the coming competitions, and the map will be drawn the way they will be in the competitions. In the
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terrain there will also be some controls that are set up the same way as they will be in the competitions.
This model event is very important for the athlete to get to know the width and firmness of the tracks
and to get a preview of how the track network will look. The athletes should also try to get familiar with
the way the map is drawn and the punching routines.
Before the start it is important that the athletes find their own optimal tension level. The optimal
tension level is individual, but it is important that the athletes feel they can perform at their best and
that they are well prepared. To get the right focus on map-reading, many athletes read maps from older
competitions when they are warming up, trying to get their map-reading and orienteering technique in
focus just before they start. Note that it is not allowed to have a map of the competition area at the
start. Especially before sprint races this can be a good part of the preparation, since every second lost to
the first few controls, as a result of the athlete not being into the map-reading yet, is difficult to catch up
later in the race. If the model event area is close to the warm up area, the athletes can also use this to
prepare.
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Competing - How the best athletes think
In a Ski Orienteering competition the aim is to ski the best route choice as fast as possible and make as
few mistakes as possible. For each mistake the athlete makes, he will lose more time than it would take
him to read the map an extra time to be sure where he should ski. But if an athlete needs to stop or
slow down he will also lose much time. This is why a controlled race without any mistakes or stops will
be the fastest, not the race with top speed combined with stops and mistakes.
To be able to do a fast, controlled race the athlete needs to be fully focused when racing. To be able to
have top focus, the athlete should only have a few specific tasks to focus on in the race. These tasks
should be reminders that make the athlete focus on the right things in a race, for example to keep calm,
technical skiing tasks, or technical orienteering tasks. The tasks should also be positive and give the
athlete inspiration to push themselves.
One of the tasks that can be used in Ski Orienteering is to focus on where to ski in the next crossing or
the two-three coming crossings as fast as possible after leaving the last crossing. If an athlete always
knows where he should ski in the coming crossings, and where the next crossing will be, he will not
make mistakes. This will also make the athlete read the map often, and he will better recognise where
he is on the map. The problem is that in a race, the athlete can lose focus and forget to read where he is
going to turn at the coming crossings. Then the athlete will not know where he is going to go when he
enters the crossing, and either have to stop to read the map or take a chance on one of the ways. Both
of these will in the long run make the athlete lose much time.
It is impossible for any athlete never to lose focus in a race, because this happens to everyone. But the
best athletes are better than the not-so-good athletes at recognising when they have lost focus, and can
in seconds be back in focus. To recognise when you have lost focus, and get back in focus when you lose
it as fast as possible, requires practice. This is why it is important to have tasks to focus on during a race.
If your task is “Where am I going to ski in the coming crossings?” and you cannot answer this question,
you know you have lost your focus and you need to read the map to know where you are going to ski.
Other tasks that can be used in a race are to ‘ski effectively’ or ‘ski like a tiger’, ‘always take the time to
check out the best route choice’, ‘read the map’, take a deep breath’, ‘keep calm’, ‘take the right choices
on the important legs’, ‘you know it is not over before the finish line’ etc. All athletes need to find the
tasks that fit them best, for that kind of terrain or for the shape they are in for that race.
There are also differences in what kind of competitions the athlete needs to focus on, for example the
distances or mass starts. In a sprint everything happens much faster and it is extremely important that
the athletes are fully focused on where to ski next, while in a long distance the athlete should focus
more on finding the best routes and skiing them as economically and as fast as possible. In a mass start
the athlete should try to do their own race without getting too disturbed by other athletes, whilst at the
same time trying to use them. All of this makes Ski Orienteering a very demanding sport, and that is why
it is so interesting.
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Links
International Orienteering Federation, IOF: www.orienteering.org
IOF Ski Orienteering Events: http://iof.6prog.org/wr_home.aspx?HOW=S
IOF World Ranking: http://iof.6prog.org/wr_home.aspx?HOW=S
Punching systems
Emit: http://www.emit.no/en
SPORTident: http://www.sportident.se/english/default.aspx
GPS analysing programs
Please read first the instructions before doing the analyses.
GPS Seuranta: http://www.gpsseuranta.net/eindex.php
MapandCoach (only in Swedish): http://www.mapandcoach.se/
3DRerun: http://3drerun.worldofo.com/index.php
QuickRoute: http://www.matstroeng.se/quickroute/en/
Maps
Maps from IOF Events: http://orienteering.org/ski-orienteering/maps/
GPS Seuranta trackings: http://www.tulospalvelu.fi/gps/
3DRerun: http://3drerun.worldofo.com/index.php?type=showoverview&search=1&tl=1&s=lastdate
Movies
Swedish SkiO presentation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4vj9Kc5m4Q&feature=related
SkiO headcam movie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOXmX6zJDTs&feature=related
Swedish SkiO movie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7CCQpZ4kng&feature=related
WSOC 2007: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AB-yRLOdp_E&feature=related
Ski Orienteering presentation from WSOC 2004: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBOokaLLBeU
...
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Ski Orienteering web pages
Nordic SkiO news: www.ski-o.com
Estonian SkiO team: http://estonianskio.blogspot.com/
Italian SkiO team: http://sci-o-line.blogspot.com/
Swedish SkiO Team: http://skido.blogg.se/
Swiss SkiO team: http://ski-o.blogspot.com/
Ski Orienteers’ web pages
Carmen Strub: http://carmenstrub.blogspot.com/
Christian Spoerry: http://chrigispoerry.ch.vu/
Gion Schnyder: http://o-gion.ch/typo3/
Johan Granath: http://www.johangranath.se/
Kajsa Richardsson: http://richardson.blogg.se/
Marte Reenaas and Christian Hohl: http://marteandchristian.blogspot.com/
Martin Hammarberg: http://indiepop.blogg.se/
Olga Novikova: http://olganovik.blogspot.com/
Olli-Markus Taivainen: http://www.freewebs.com/omataivainen/
Sindre Haverstad: http://haverstad.com/
Staffan Tunis: http://staffantunis.blogspot.com/
Team Avancia – Barbro and Hans Jørgen Kvåle: http://teamavancia.com/
Tove Alexandersson: http://tovealexandersson.se/
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Comments:
This handbook has been prepared as a help for new athletes and coaches in the sport of Ski
Orienteering, and also as inspiration for technical training for both young and established athletes. If you
know any other exercises or other things that are missing from this Handbook, or have any other
comments, please send them to hans_jorgen89@hotmail.com.
Kind regards
Hans Jørgen Kvåle
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