These notes are largely a reprise of the notes developed for our October 3-4 “A Meet”, but they are somewhat reduced (as parts are no longer relevant), and somewhat extended, as there is some new relevant info.

This is a cross-country ski area, not a hiking area. The ski trails are not used during non-winter except for maintenance, so they can be somewhat overgrown and hard to follow. The snowshoe trails are totally unmaintained, so they can be very hard to see in the terrain.

The ski trails fall into roughly four categories for non-winter use:
  • Wide trails which are quite obvious are mapped with the “vehicle track” symbol;
  • Less-wide but still obvious trails are mapped with the “footpath” symbol;
  • Trails which are even less obvious, depending upon the time of year, and thus the vegetation are mapped as “narrow ride” (generally blazed by blue dots on trees);
  • Trails which are not groomed in the winter are mapped as “small footpath” and sometimes “less distinct small path” (blazed by blue dots, though sometimes only visible in one direction).
A few cautions about running the ski trails:
  • Depending upon whether or not there has been a frost, some of the lower elevation trails could be still covered with ferns. Use care running on trails with ferns which may obscure rocks underneath.
  • There are a number of small bridges made of a few timbers and planks that are much too small to map. They are there only to support the snow and the skiers and groomers which go over them. They are not solid footing for runners, and one can easily break through.
  • There are signs on the ski trails indicating things such as “One Way”, “Do Not Enter”, or “Stay Right”.  These signs are for skiers and may be ignored by orienteers.
The snowshoe trails fall into roughly three categories (all are marked in the terrain in both directions by blue crosses):
  • The widest and easiest to follow are mapped with the “footpath” symbol;
  • The less obvious trails (where you might want to watch for blazes) use the “small footpath” symbol;
  • The totally invisible trails--where the only way to follow is by looking for the blazes--use the “indistinct trail” symbol; these would generally not be mapped, but the blue crosses are so visible (and possibly useful) that we felt they should be shown.
This area features a large central mountain, with varying degrees of slope, some modest, some steep, around it. The woods are mostly rather open, in terms of visibility, but the footing can be very difficult because it is in many places extremely rocky. While there are many large rocks/boulders, the real issue is that there are numerous small moss-covered and sometimes fern-covered rocks underfoot.
In general, boulders here are mapped if they are over 1m in height or very wide. However, you may encounter what you think are unmapped boulders, or small cliffs or knolls. There is just so much “stuff” on the map, that in the end you need to understand that what’s on the map is there, but you may encounter other unmapped things.

The distinctions among boulders, boulder groups, boulder clusters, minor cliffs, and knolls of varying sizes are all open to interpretation. An easy way to think of this is to remember that you are looking for a relatively large “clump” of something. Mapper Mark Dominie described his decision making process this way:

Many of the boulders in this terrain's environment are often moss covered and have flattish tops that allow leaves and general forest "duff" to accumulate. In other words, it is quite often difficult to distinguish these types of boulders, from a distance, from the surrounding ground terrain, or often they may have the appearance of a small "dot" knoll. The mapping "rule of thumb" was:  If it could be identified as being made of rock in at least 3 of 4 directions the boulder symbol is used. If only 1 or 2 sides have the look of rock, the brown dot knoll symbol with a small rock-face is used. If it's difficult, even up close, to distinguish that there is any rock associated with the feature, then the plain brown dot knoll symbol is used.

Course Details

Most of these control locations were used during our A-Meet in early October. I have tried to not re-use locations that any EMPO competitors visited in competing that weekend. However, some of those who helped with the work for that event have previously visited some locations. There was no way around that, given the time and resources that I had to create these new courses. But, I think in most instances those who may have been to a control before will be coming from a different direction, and thus I think the competition is fair. I know I spent a very long time making sure that two controls I had visited at least 3 times previously were correctly placed. But, you can thank me later that I subsequently decided not to re-use them.

The course statistics are:

Course    Straight Line Distance    Climb    Controls
White            1.7k                 50m        9
Yellow           2.3k                 65m        9
Orange           3.0k                100m       10
Green            4.0k                185m       10
Red              5.1k                225m       11

Water stops (controls with water jugs and cups):
  • None on the White and Yellow courses.
  • There is one Water Stop on the Orange course
  • There are two on the Green and Red courses.
In order to help you through the details of this very complex map, they are printed at what is generally a larger than “national event” scale: 1-7500 (the “A Meet” maps were 1-10,000). To do this, the control descriptions had to be left off the map for Green course competitors. Separate control description sheets for Green course competitors will be available at registration, but not for WYO. The “Legend” describing/showing the symbols used, was already off of the map; but again copies of the legend are available for review, or for taking with you, at Registration.

EMPO Club Champs Rules and Classes

Everyone is welcome to compete in this event. But to be an EMPO Club Champion you must be a member of Empire Orienteering Club (I don’t think this should seem unusual or surprising). You can become an EMPO member on the day of the event by paying the membership dues (BEFORE you start on your course); and this will actually pay for your membership covering the entire following year (2016), as we use an annual accounting system.

Perhaps more importantly, you can still do whatever course you think is appropriate. Anyone or any Group not wishing to try their nominal age class championship course, can go ahead and do whatever they like. No problem!

For those trying for the EMPO Championship titles, you must choose the Class you will compete in before you go out on your course. You are not allowed to choose your Class depending upon how others have already finished.

EMPO’s classes are somewhat reduced from the OUSA classes, as we have fewer entrants. The EMPO Champs Classes and their associated courses are:

Course   EMPO Champs Classes
White      M-12, F-12
Yellow     M-15, F-15
Orange     F-18, F65+, M-18
Green      F-20, F35+, F45+, F55+, M-20, M55+, M65+
Red        F21+, M21+, M35+, M45+

The table of past EMPO Champs can be found on our web site here:

Course Closing Time

Note that because of the change to Standard Time, we have fewer daylight hours in the afternoon and so, while the usual course time-limit of 3 hours still applies, all courses will all close at 2pm to allow for control pickup, rescue, etc. If you think you might need the full 3 hours to complete your course, you should be sure to start by 11am.


Awards will go to the winners in each class (no 2nd or 3rd prizes). This year we have a variety of awards to offer, all of which will be made available for the class winners to choose from, starting with the youngest classes, and ladies (female classes) first, at each age level.


This is my 12th time directing (or in two cases co-directing) the Club Champs, over the 26 years for which we have records of the EMPO Champs. It has been a very nice run, which I hope to continue on-and-off for some more years (sometimes I want to actually run, and maybe even win). I’ve always enjoyed everyone’s participation and camaraderie. I hope to see all of you again soon!
-Phil H-T