6-Hour Snowgaine!
February 11, 2006
Mississippi Palisades State Park

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Meet Director: Kathy Bullard
Course Setter: Miikka Kaira

Please contact Kathy (dcider@earthlink.net or 847-570-9158) if you plan to attend so she can bring enough maps!

Snowgaine! Cost:
$15 per person (members and non-members)


9:30 a.m.   Registration begins
10:45 a.m.   Snowgaine! competitors' briefing and map distribution
11 a.m.   Mass start for Snowgaine! course
5 p.m.   Snowgaine! course closes

Update on 2/5/06:
The forecast six days before the Snowgaine tells us that it will be quite cold next weekend. Follow the weather and note that the weather we have on Saturday in the Mississippi River Valley will typically be in Chicago on Sunday morning. Take proper clothing with you and consider also that you have something warm in the last half of the race. And that you have something dry and warm clothing after the race.

There will not be any water at any control. We will have water during the race at the start/finish area. The start/finish is located at the "north" entrance to the park, which is in the middle of the map and the race area.

After the race we are going to need a lot of assistance to pick up the controls. If you have any chance to help us, please do that. We'll ask you before the start and probably also after the meeting. If you can help us, take your flashlight with you. It will be dark after 6 p.m.

It's time to brush up your skills and have some fun in the snow! Saturday, Feb. 11, there will be a Snowgaine! at the Mississippi Palisades State Park in Savanna, IL. Teams of 2 people, any combination of male and/or female, will have a maximum of 6 hours to find as many checkpoints as they can. Since this is a group event, it does not count towards the CAOC 2006 Club Championship.

The competition map is 1:15 000 scale, with some incomplete field checking. The course offers a tough workout and some stunning views of the Mississippi. Many controls will be far from trails and on difficult slopes. The Snowgaine! is not intended for beginning orienteers.

The controls will be spread out over the entire eleven square kilometers of the State Park. Fifteen minutes before the race begins, teams will receive a map that shows the location of each control. It should be difficult for any team to get all of the controls in the six-hour time limit. Part of the challenge is to decide which route to take to collect as many points as possible and still finish on time. A penalty will be assessed per minute (or portion of a minute) that a team is late.

There will be awards given for top 3 overall. Warm post-race food might be available, but there will at least be hot beverages.

Course Setter's Notes:
Welcome back to the Mississippi Palisades and the annual Snowgaine. Four weeks before the meeting the park was in excellent condition for orienteering without any snow and hardly any ice. The weather in the Mississippi Valley is changing quickly and one week later, as this is being written, we have a couple of inches snow. The weather on the day of the event could have temperatures below zero with two feet of snow or it could be 50 degrees and muddy.

In this year's Snowgaine you'll have a freshly updated map of the Palisades park. Michael Collins has updated the contours and last fall almost the whole park was field surveyed and a lot of new features have been added, like depressions, boulders, cliffs, pits. The map is not yet perfect and there are some inaccurate areas, but you'll see a lot of new control points this year. The terrain in the park is very challenging and some controls will be very difficult, even physically hard to get there. Those controls are absolutely not for beginners. But there the course is set with mentality "something for everybody". In the clue list some controls will only have pictorial symbols, not verbal descriptions. It's a good time to review those. There will be also a trick in this year's Snowgaine when you'll need your orienteering skills more than fast running. This trick might even affect the final results. The trick will be told before the start at the registration area.

If there is interest, a 5k green-orange level course will be set. That is not either for absolute beginners, but those who have some orienteering skills, but think the Snowgaine is too challenging. The 5k course will follow one of the great trails in the park and all the controls locate less than 200 meters from the trail. At least some of the controls are also part of the Snowgaine. Let Kathy also know if you'll run or walk this 5k course, so that we have enough maps.

Welcome to Savanna and the Mississippi Palisades on February 11.


1) Take I-90 west to Hwy 20 west in Rockford. Follow Hwy 20 west to Hwy 78 in Stockton. Take Hwy 78 South to Hwys 52/64 in Mount Carroll. Go west to Hwy 84 in Savanna and follow 84 north to the north park entrance about 3 miles north of town. (total time 2.5-3 hours)

or 2) take I-88 west to I-80 west to Hwy 84. Go north on hwy 84 to the north park entrance about 3 miles north of Savanna (total time 3-3.5 hours).

or 3) take Hwy 52 south of Dubuque or Hwy 67 north of Clinton to the Hwy 52 / route 64 bridge over the Mississippi. On the east side of the bridge, take a left and go north 3 miles to the park entrance.

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