Getting started orienteering is super easy and inexpensive! You can either:

  • Take one of our Intro to Orienteering Clinic to get a feel for the sport;
  • Come to one of our beginner-friendly Wednesday night events in a local park (a different park each week); and/or
  • Participate in one of our Navigation 101 5-week programs for a more in-depth understanding.

More about the Regular (Wednesday Night) Events

1. Choosing an event

Check our event calendar to find a Wednesday night event that works for you. Locations and directions can be found for each event via the calendar.

Each week the event is in a different location around the city. If an event is too far a distance to travel on a Wednesday Night try looking at future events. There will be one closer to you.

2. Getting to the event

Once you get to the park look for a large Foothills Orienteering breeze banner and event registration tables. This is often near the parking lot, but check the event page beforehand.

The registration desk opens at 6:15 and courses open at 6:30. You can start on your course any time between 6:30 and 7:15. You must complete your course by 8:00.

3. Preparation

Once you have chosen an event, there are a few things you should know:

  • Clothing: Wear clothes that are comfortable for hiking or running and suitable for the weather that night.
  • Equipment: Bring a whistle (mandatory - you can buy them at the event) and a compass if you have them. Bring a water bottle. You may want to carry it if you choose a long course. We also recommend that everyone have a watch or cell phone so you know the time.
  • Event details: Any important details for that particular Wednesday will be on the event page so please read it carefully.
  • Membership: You need to be a member in order to run a course at a Wednesday Night Event. Most SOGO participants get a free membership and seasons pass to all Wednesday Night Events. You can sign up for membership online from the home page.

4. Registration

When you get to the event site, look for the registration table next to the Foothills Orienteering banner.

  1. Go to the registration table to become a member (if you have not already signed up online) and to sign up for a course.
  2. Let the registrar know you are new to orienteering. If you are unsure which course to sign up for the registrar can make a recommendation.
  3. Get your course map. Borrow a compass and a timing chip. If you did not bring a whistle with you, you will have to purchase one.
  4. The registrar will attempt to find an experienced orienteer to give you a brief introduction to orienteering.
  5. This volunteer will
    • Go over the basics of orienteering.
    • Review the course on your map with you.
    • Explain how to use your timing chip.
    • Ensure you understand the basic rules:
      • You MUST sign in and sign out so that we know you are safely back.
      • You must write your license plate number on the sign in form.
      • Ensure you understand how to get back to finish / registration desk in case you don't know where you are on course.
    • Show you to the start.

5. At the start

Start by inserting your timing chip in the electronic unit labeled CLEAR. You will need to hold your chip in the unit until it beeps or flashes. This erases previous data from the chip. Then insert your chip in the unit labeled CHECK. This confirms that all data has been erased and you are ready to go to the start.

When you are ready to start insert your timing chip in the electronic start unit. When it beeps or flashes your course time has started and you should head out on course.

Other orienteers will be out on course at the same time. They may or may not be on the same course so stay focused on your own map.

6. Finishing

The FINISH checkpoint/control is generally close to the registration area and often marked with a finish banner. Insert your timing chip in the FINISH unit and go to the timing table to find out your time. Orienteers love to talk about how their course went. Stay and chat with others afterwards and you may pick up a tip or two.

If you have any further questions please e-mail us.