I have been drawing the ski trail maps for the Nakkertok Nordic ski club ever since I joined about 15 years ago. The first maps were created in OCAD with just a 1:20,000 government topo and a lot of walking and estimating. The maps were improved about 10 years ago when I borrowed a GPS unit from the City of Cantley and tracked the entire 25 Km long main trail. The city wanted the track so they could assign a "recreational corridor" to our trail on their municipal planning maps. Then in 2006 the orienteering club ordered new air photos of several areas around Ottawa including the Nakkertok area near Cantley, Quebec. Since then, I have developed a detailed orienteering map for foot and ski-O as well as more precise XC ski trail maps.

Over the last several years, the ski club has greatly improved the quality of their racing trails. In 2008 they were awarded the Eastern Canadian XC ski championships and they asked me to prepare accurate and detailed maps for every one of their racing loops.  I looked at what the other XC ski clubs had used for for their events and their maps were OK, but kinda rough. So I decided to take the quality of the XC racing loop maps up a notch. : )

With all the trail and other object details already established on the orienteering map, I created a new ski trail master map with the 2.5m contour contours. I hid all the unnecessary foot-O details, and then drew (overlayed) separate colour-coded routes for all the racing loops. I left on the trail numbers and names from the general XC ski trail map for reference. The clean and brightly coloured printed maps for distribution and display at the races were appreciated by both the coaches and the racers. 

In addition to maps of the racing loops, the race officials needed racing loop profiles and calculated climbs - maximum single climb, total climb, and total elevation change. With the 2.5m contours on the orienteering map I knew I would be able to derive a accurate elevation profile for every racing loop.

As the first step, I re-drew the racing trail loops in segments - one segment for every 5m contour change where the terrain was steep and the slope consistent, and one segment for a 2.5m elevation change where the trail was flatter - or just humpy. You can see a sample at the right. I have added a blue slash to accentuate where the segments start and end. For the 2.5m break in the NE corner I chose what I knew was the apex of that elevation change so my graph would be more realistic.

I assigned the start line an elevation of 0 and labeled the contours around the racing loops with their relative elevations. With the OCAD tool I then measured each segment and noted the elevation at the end. The resulting table looks like this: profile spreadsheet  If I correctly noted the ups and downs as well as the segment lengths, the final cumulative elevation would be 0 and the course length the same as the the measurement taken in one contiguous loop. It took a couple of tries on the longer loops. : )

Using OCAD, I built the grid and then drew a "smoothed" slope line through the elevation points (samples in red) that I had plotted. My knowledge of the trails helped to determine how the curves of the graph should be rounded. Below is one of the completed loop maps. The space in the bottom right corner is reserved for the sponsor logos.

All the racing loops are in layers on one master OCAD trail map. If I need to make a new loop map I cut it out of the master. Because the loop maps are printed at different scales to fit one sheet of paper, I park most of the titles and scales to the side so they are easy to cut and paste. Likewise, all the loop profile graphs are on one OCAD file and I copy and paste them as required. The routes of the racing loops have changed every year and so have the sponsors so there will always be some editing required for each event.

If you would like to see the complete set of racing loops and the stadium maps have a look at the bottom of the ECC page at: