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26.04.2022 - In the latest issue of the Swiss Orienteering Magazine there is an outline of the orienteering history in Flims. Here you can find an English version of the text.

Who can't recall a search operation in the Bermuda Triangle of the Flims forest? And the preliminary stage, of the Swiss O Week 2011 was equally a “never forget” memory for many. But the orienteering history in Flims is steeped in history. The following is an attempt to cover some of the highlights. The corresponding article in German in the Swiss Orienteering Magazine can be found here.

The history of orienteering started in Flims with a big bang. On 11 September 1966, 260 persons completed the 18th Swiss Championship, with Irène Köhli winning the women’s race and Urs Schaffner the men’s race. As of 1970, orienteering events were regularly hosted by the local o club in Flims under the leadership of Luzi Sommerau († 2020), a high school teacher, club president, course setter, and race director – all in one person. The maps of the day did not offer the details of today’s map [Figure 1]. The course was run on a rudimentary survey plan with a scale of 1:16’666 – with controls set at rather rough objects (e.g. hill, 20 m, east side).

In 1977, the first “modern map” was introduced along with the next Swiss Championships. The map had a 1:10’000 scale and used the new IOF symbols. [Figure 2]. The new maps, issued by the o club in Chur, included both parts of the Flims forest, i.e. “Uaul Grond” in the east and “La Mutta” in the west. The new map was then used extensively by the Flims Orienteering Club for many regional o events. The finish line for the events was almost always at the Lake Cauma.

In 1981 a national o event took place using the 1977 map. This competition still leads the Swiss "ranking” in terms of the “slowest” forest in Switzerland (average running speed min/km values per forest and competition). On the one hand, the race offered challenging courses in technically difficult terrain, and on the other hand, a storm prior to the event left a wake of fallen timber increasing the difficulty of the runability.

In 1982, the first Flims Orienteering Weekend (later Grison Orienteering Weekend) was organised by Flims O Club. In 1986, an orienteering event took place on Alp Ladir, which required a survey map to be coloured-in by the participants themselves before the start. Today, the terrain is covered by the "Crap Sogn Gion" map. In 1988, a national orienteering event followed on a map updated by the orienteering groups of Chur and Flims, which, without fallen timber, still is ranking third in the Swiss list of forest values...

Other regional and national orienteering events followed regularly in the two forest parts "La Mutta" and "Uaul Grond". For the 1994 national orienteering event in the "La Mutta" section, the orienteering map was thoroughly remapped once again [Figure 3]. For the national event in 1998, the map "La Mutta" was used. For almost all categories, the courses included a long leg that covered about 25% of the running time. Finally, for the national event in autumn 2000, the map "Uaul Grond" was revised once again. This race was listed as IOF World Ranking Event for the elite and the Junior European Cup took place at the same time. WRE and JEC were given a model map and a separate start. In the H18 two Swiss won and in the D18, a runner from Finland was ahead of two Czech women. The H20 and D20 were dominated by Scandinavians and Russians. Many people remembered – this as something completely new! - that the Scandinavians also ran with Dobb spikes in this stony terrain.

The 2003 World Orienteering Championships in Rapperswil did not quite reach Flims, but at least the middle-distance races made it to the area of Trin, which had never been used for orienteering before. As is well known, Simone Luder won the women's race and Thierry Gueorgiou the men's race.

In 2002, the Flims Orienteering Club disbanded after it's few active members had all moved away. The regularity of regional orienteering in Flims and Laax subsequently declined somewhat, but the Chur O Club organised a couple of competitions in the Flims forest over time. In the summer of 2011, a big jolt went through the region. The Swiss O Week not only completely remapped the Flims forest, but additional areas at and above the forest line were opened up. The terrain around Crap Sogn Gion, Vorab, Nagens, Plaun and Foppa offered orienteering at its best and made an impression on many orienteers' minds. [Figure 4.] Since then, orienteering has been possible in the Flims region between 700 and 2'700 metres above sea level. With the next opportunity, and the anticipation, of seeing each other again at the Swiss O Week 2023.

The national orienteering weekend of the Chur O Club in 2014, was also a topic of conversation for some time as the event catered for two extremely different days in terms of weather, on the "Foppa" (beautiful and warm) and on the "Crap Sogn Gion" (with continuous rain and very cool temperatures).

In 2018, the last Grisons orienteering weekend took place. The destination Flims Laax then applied for the 2023 World Orienteering Championships and subsequently won the bid for these major events in 2023. The forests around Flims and Laax have been subsequently embargoed to create fair and competitive conditions for the World Championships participants.

At least we can show the stage concept of the Swiss O Week 2023 - a prerequisite for the next orienteering spectacle in Flims and the surrounding area.

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