mountain bike orienteering

October 4, 2008 | Canmore Nordic center

Mountain Bike Orienteering (MTBO) is a very new and very exciting form of orienteering. Its popularity is rapidly growing around the world - and it is a sport Canada should be great at!! But so far we have had very few MTBO events in Canada - perhaps this event will be the start of a new craze.


Trail Sports logo         Axis Gear logo


Sept 20 Trail Sports are providing prizes & great bike rental rates. Details below.
Sept 18 Axis Gear is providing prizes and great prices on map holders. Details below.


Saturday October 4th
9:00am - 10:00am Clinic Nordic Center Day Lodge
10:00am - 10:30am Sign-in Nordic Center Day Lodge
10:30am - 11:30am Race Nordic Center Stadium
1:00pm Awards Nordic Center Day Lodge
1:30pm Course closing  



Check the COF RouteGadget database to have a look at the map and the courses. You can draw your your routes and see the routes others took. And you can watch an animation (very cool) of the race.

  Splits times (by course) RouteGadget Split Analyzer (RouteGadget tool)


Registration is now closed

Categories & Courses

See Technical Details below for a list of categories and for course details

Entry Fees & other expenses

Pricing Adults Juniors
(under 20)
Race entry (before Oct 2nd) $10 $10
Race entry (after Oct 2nd) $20 $20
Additional team members
(max 3 per team)
$5 $0
SI Card rental $2 $2

Last Minute Registration Disincentive

On-the-day registration is possible, however only a limited number of maps will be available - and the entry cost will be WAY higher. Save the anxiety, register online before October 2nd.

Cancellation & Refunds

In the event you should cancel your entry, we�ll refund 90% if the cancellation is received in writing before October 2nd. No refunds will be given after then.

Club membership

You must belong to a Canadian provincial orienteering association or a national federation (for insurance purposes) in order to take part. Visit the Foothills Wanderers membership page to sign up. Membership is cheap and all memberships bought after September 1st are valid until the end of 2009.

Electronic Punching

All events use electronic timing. There is a small charge of $2/event to rent SportIdent cards if you don�t have your own.


Bike & clothing
You will need the equipment that you would normally take on a ride at the Canmore Nordic Centre: a sturdy bike, a repair kit, normal riding clothes appropriate for the weather, and you should carry drink & food for about a 1 - 2 hour ride.

Map Holder
You will need some way to hold your race map so it is visible at all times. The key features are sturdiness, a rotating map holder, and the proper size. Click here for a comprehensive review of map holder options.

If you are not yet ready to commit to a commercial map holder you can contrive a homemade contraption. For inspiration check this idea or this one

If you do want to try a handle-bar mounted, rotating map holder we have a great deal for you. For this event we will have a very limited stock of Axis Gear map holders for sale and a very few for rent. For this event only we are offering the *amazing* price of just $55 to buy one or a mere $10 to rent (which can be applied to purchase price if you decide you want to buy right after the race). Because quantities are so limited, if you want to buy or rent please email Adrian (adrian _at_ to reserve yours on a first come first served basis. Note: you must be registered for the race for this offer.

Trail Sports at the Nordic Center has Rocky Mountain ETSX 10 bikes for rent. They're offering a 25% discount to MTBO participants - just $11.25 / hour. And if you want to buy one of the rental bikes they are on sale at great prices.

Clinic - Introduction to MTBO

Introduction to MTBO (Mountain Bike Orienteering)
Free clinic in the Day Lodge. No pre-registration required.

This clinic is for people who want to try MTBO for the first time. We will cover the rules, the map, navigation, route selection, and safety. No previous orienteering experience necessary.

Race Information

Super important information

First Aid and Emergency


Maps will be sealed in plastic bags. Legends will not be printed on the maps; control descriptions will be.

Control Descriptions

Are printed on the map. Loose copies with either IOF symbols & English text versions will also be available in the start chute.


There is no on-course drinking water. Please keep this in mind and plan accordingly to stay well hydrated.

Electronic timing

SI timing is used for all events. There is no back-up punching in case an SI unit fails. If a unit fails we will endeavor to replace it as soon as possible. Obviously in the spirit of fair play we expect runners not to communicate with other runners about failed devices.

Event details

Saturday Canmore Nordic Center: MTBO
Officials Course planner: Adrian Zissos. Consultant: Margus Halik, Estonia: 4th place at MTBO World Championships in 2005 (Slovakia) and again in 2006 (Finland).
Terrain The Canmore Nordic Center has excellent terrain for mountain bike orienteering with a complex network of trails ranging from easy, wide tracks to technical single track. It also has lots of elevation gain to provide route choice and a test of fitness and endurance.

All controls are accessible from easy trails, but the faster routes will often involve taking more technical trails.
Map 1:10,000 5m contours (possibly 1:15,000 for the long course - check at the start)
Drawn to MTBO mapping standards.

To see courses from a Foot-O event held in the same area visit RouteGadget; the terrain & trail network is the same but keep in mind that the MTBO map will look different.

New trails have been built since the map was made - especially some new sections of the "Orange loop". These sections will not be shown on the map.
Courses Long - approximate winning time: 45 - 50 minutes
Short - approximate winning time: 20 - 25 minutes

Both courses have intermediate navigational difficult. All controls are on the trails or slightly off them. All navigation can be done on double track or the gentler single tracks - though the fastest routes will include some intermediate-level single track. Expert riders will also have the option to take the most difficult trails if they want to.
Categories Open Long (men)
Open Long (women)
Masters Long (men) 45 & over
Masters Long (women) 45 & over
Team Long

Youth short (men) under 20
Youth short (women) under 20
Open Short (men)
Open Short (women)
Masters Short (men) 45 & over
Masters Short (women) 45 & over
Team Short
Family Short
Prizes There will be prizes from Axis Gear & Trail Sports. In addition there will be a random draw from all finishers for an Axis Gear map holder.
Start times Start time:        10:30am � 11:00am. Interval starts, assigned at the start line.
Course closing: 1:00pm (max time is 120 minutes)
  • Event takes place regardless of weather. In case of heavy snow we may switch to a foot orienteering race, but we will still do the MTBO clinic.
  • This is the first ever MTBO event organized by the club, and possibly the first ever MBTO race in Alberta.
  • The paved trails at the Nordic Centre are designated as multi-use which means that bikes are allowed on them. However keep in mind the following rules for taking bikes on the paved trails:
    • absolutely no muddy tires - so if it is raining or snowy it will not be allowed to ride on the paved trails (though you will be allowed o cross them)
    • roller skiers have absolute right of way - they do not have brakes and you do.
  • Keep in mind that even though you are racing the primary goal is to treat the park and the other users with complete respect - ride with consideration to everyone else so that we will be welcome guests at the Nordic Centre in the future.
  • You must report to the finish within 2 hours of your start - even if you don't finish your race. This is for your safety - please be sure to report to the finish so that we don't search for you.
Parking --> Assembly area 100m (approx)
Assembly area --> Start 0m
Finish --> Assembly area 0m

Park at the Canmore Nordic Center day lodge.
The clinic is in the day lodge.
Start & Finish are in the stadium.


Q. I've got a question - how do I ask it?
A. Send email to adrian _at_ Or try phoning 403.262.4457.

Q. Is there any childcare organized? Or courses for kids?
A. Unfortunately not. If the kids are good riders they can go with their parents in the Family category.

Q. What is the difference between MTBO maps and FootO maps?
A. They are very similar - the main differences are with the trails and tracks. Because MTBO navigation and route choice depends on the condition of the tracks - how easy to ride and how fast - there are a lot more track symbols. Have a quick look at the MTBO mapping standards and pay particular attention to the trail symbols. Also note the very last symbol - a purple line across a trail that depicts a blockage on the trail (we have not checked if any of the blockages have been removed since the map was made).


MTBO has somewhat different rules and map standards from foot-orienteering.
For good overviews & introductions to MTBO visit these links:
* The Canadian Orienteering Federation's MTBO page.
* The British MTBO page
* MTBO mapping standards.