By Juri Peepre
On Saturday, September 6th, about 100 orienteers from across B.C. and Alberta will participate in the first competitive orienteering event to be hosted by the Kootenay Orienteering Club in Invermere. Four years ago, the Kootenay club hosted 450 orienteers from around the globe in the North American Championships held near Cranbrook. This years Kootenay Orienteering Festival features the B.C. championships, but novice and intermediate recreational courses are open to local people wanting to try the sport. Whether you choose to run, jog, or walk, orienteering requires map reading to figure out the best route between a number of control flags placed on topographic features in the terrain.
We invite local people to come out and participate in the Invermere middle distance event to be held near Lillian Lake, or to try any of the other events in Cranbrook or Kimberley. Seven different courses will be offered for age categories 12 and under to 85 and over, and everything in between, said Juri Peepre, the Invermere event director. Those with limited orienteering experience or wanting to come out and give it a try can enter one of the recreational courses as an individual, family or small group.
The series starts at 9 a.m. on Saturday morning, off the Toby Creek Road on the way to Panorama, on a brand new orienteering map. This middle distance race offers courses varying from two to five kilometres in distance through undulating forested terrain with a good network of trails. Winning times are expected to be around 30 to 35 minutes, but participants who choose to walk and enjoy the scenery will take longer. Kimberley hosts a sprint event Saturday afternoon, and the weekend wraps up with the long event, just outside Cranbrook. The long event tests an orienteers concentration plus stamina with the longest course in the range of nine kilometres, as the crow flies.
Recreational courses are $10, while the competitive age class categories are $25 for adults and $15 for those 19 and under. All age class entrants are eligible for B.C. Orienteering Championship awards. A weekend package, including the Saturday night outdoor feast at Riverside Campground in Kimberley, is available.
Here is the weekend schedule:
Saturday, September 6th, 9 a.m. – Middle distance event, Invermere
Saturday, September 6th, 1:30 – 3 p.m. – OMazing Race, Kimberley
Saturday, September 6th, 3:30 p.m. – Sprint Race, Kimberley
Saturday, September 6th, 6:30 p.m. – Outdoor Feast, Riverside Campground, Kimberley
Sunday, September 7th, 10 a.m. – Long distance event, Cranbrook
For more information and to register online, visit www.kootenayofest.com, or contact local organizer Juri Peepre at firstname.lastname@example.org. Its better to pre-register by August 31st, but the Kootenay Orienteering Club will accept a limited number of late registrations on the day of the event. Take the Toby Creek Road for about five kilometres, to the intersection of Toby Hill Road and look for the red and white orienteering signs. Day registration opens at 8:30 a.m. and closes at 9:30 a.m. The club will provide compass rental and brief how to instructions for newcomers.