Popular Scandinavian navigational sports game coming to Cedar Rapids

In the game, the players must use a map to find the next
Players must use a map to find the next control point. – photo by Jen Waller via Flickr creative commons

Lovers of obscure international sports take note: On Dec. 27 at 1 p.m., the Indian Creek Nature Center (6665 Otis Road Southeast) in Cedar Rapids will host an orienteering event, a popular recreational game in many northern European countries, particularly Sweden and Norway.

Orienteering is a navigational sport developed in the late 19th century, where individuals or groups set out on a trail with specific control points, or flags, set at various locations. At each control point, participants receive a map and directions that guide them to the next control point. The object of the game is to find these flags posted along the trail before the other teams.

“We’ve been doing this orienteering game for the past year down at the Nature Center,” said Jane Aiels, the education director at the Indian Creek Nature Center. “It’s a very fun game to get people active and out and about during the winter months.”

At Indian Creek’s orienteering event, participants can to go at their own pace and there will be plenty of guidance for novices. Players have the choice of competing on foot, skis or snowshoes depending on the weather.

“We teach you how to use, read and operate the map and compass,” said Aiels. “It’s a lot of good, fun, practical knowledge that if you don’t have, we’d be happy to teach you.”

The event is set to begin at 1 p.m. at the Indian Creek Nature Center, and costs between $8-$18 per person depending on membership. Attendees can pre-register for the event on the Center’s website, or at the center when they arrive for the event.

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