Washington Interscholastic Orienteering League (WIOL) and public Winter Series

Details for the March-April 2021 edition of Winter League can be found at 2021 Mini Winter League.

Winter League is the Pacific Northwest’s premier competitive orienteering series for all ages: Elementary, Middle School, High School, and Collegiate students, and adults. We also offer non-competitive categories at every event.

Students and adults will love the chance to make sense of new surroundings and get outdoors in an immersive way. Learn to read topographic maps, use a compass, make route choices, and problem solve when things don’t go as expected. As students improve, these skills are used while running, providing a challenge for both mind and body.


The challenge ascends as the season progresses! Events in the first half of the season are held at beginner-friendly venues, some of which are trails only, while events in the second half move to more forested and challenging venues. The season is capped off with a championship event and an awards ceremony to recognize top individuals and teams in both the series overall and the championship event. Your best four event scores make your season score, so don’t fret if you can’t make it to every event.

Sat, Mar 6 Mini-WL #1 – Bridle Trails State Park Kirkland, WA
Sat, Mar 20 Mini-WL #2 – Lynndale Park Lynnwood, WA
Sat, Apr 3 Mini-WL #3 South Seattle College Seattle, WA
Sat, Apr 17 Mini-WL #4 – Ft. Steilacoom Lakewood, WA
Sat, Apr 24 Mini-WL #5 – Summit Trails/Rock Creek Maple Valley, WA

Pricing and Registration

Depending on which category you participate, registration follows one of two processes. In all cases, registering for a season pass will save you some cash and help our volunteer-run events operate more smoothly.

Elementary, Middle School, High School, and Collegiate Students

$50 for all 8 events ($40 with own e-punch) or $10 per event plus a $5 admin fee.
Register at the Washington Interscholasitc Orienteering League (WIOL) website:

Questions about school league registration? Contact the WIOL Registrar.

Adults, and non-competitive courses for all ages

$49 for all 8 events. Rent an e-punch for $5 per event. Day-of registration starts at $10.
Prices include membership discount.
Register at Cascade Orienteering Club’s website:

Become a club member.


Our events can’t happen without your help. Participating in the season? Please consider helping for just a couple hours at one event and you’ll earn volunteer points good for a free entry. (You can even participate and volunteer at the same event.) Most positions don’t require any orienteering experience and many are appropriate for students looking for service hour opportunities. Thank you for your help!

Frequently Asked Questions

What equipment do I need? / What do I need to buy for my student?

Orienteering requires very little special equipment. Dress for the weather and your expected pace. On more advanced courses with off-trail travel, you may also want to consider the vegetation when picking your kit. You’ll see people wearing trail running gear, hiking gear, casual outdoor gear, and everything in between. We rent timing chips (called an “e-punch” or “finger stick”) and compasses every event, though you may want to purchase your own.


How long are events?

Every event and every course are different. During Winter League, Elementary / Beginner courses are designed to be completed in 10 to 30 minutes, while participants on advanced courses may spend 40 to 90 minutes completing the course. WIOL students have assigned start times, while public starts are first-come first-served during the start window.


Is it safe for my child to be out in the woods alone?

Like any sport, Orienteering is not without risk. That said, orienteering is very safe. Your child will learn valuable independent problem solving skills, and we have procedures in place to make sure everyone returns safely. Every participant is required to carry a whistle to be used in case of emergency, and parents may shadow elementary school students on their course.


What category should I sign up for?

 Minimum Grade Level AllowedMaximum Grade Level Allowed Shadow Allowed?Two Minute Map Review Allowed?Competitions / AwardsTeam StatusRestricted Eligibility? LevelAverage Race DistanceAverage Number of Controls
ElementaryK6thYesYes with Coach/ParentIndividualCo-ed TeamsNoBEGINNER1.5 km8
Middle School--8thNoYes soloTeam and IndividualCo-ed TeamsNoADVANCED BEGINNER2.0 km10
JV Rookie9th12thNoYes soloTeam and IndividualCo-ed TeamsYes (1)ADVANCED BEGINNER 2.5 km 10
JV-Girls--12thNoNoTeam and IndividualSame gender teamsNoINTERMEDIATE 3.0 km10
JV-Boys--12thNoNoTeam and IndividualSame gender teamsNoINTERMEDIATE3.0 km10
Varsity -Girls--12thNoNoTeam and IndividualSame gender teamsYes (2)ADVANCED4.0 km12
Varsity-Boys--12thNoNoTeam and IndividualSame gender teamsYes (2)ADVANCED4.0 km12
IntercollegiateCollege Freshman--NoNoIndividualSame gender teamsYes (3)ADVANCED5.0 km14
  1. JV Rookie: Must be in grades 9-12 and never run WIOL before or scored in the bottom 30% of MS previous year
  2. Varsity: Must have previous WIOL Varsity Experience, finish in the top 25% on JV previous year, or approval from the WIOL registrar
  3. Intercollegiate: Students must meet the current Orienteering USA eligibility standards. This means you must:

a.       Be a full-time college or university student. (Undergraduate or graduate as defined by the college or university)

b.       Be less than 28 years old as of December 31 of the current year.

  • Non-competitive courses: Beginner, Advanced Beginner, Intermediate, and Short Advanced. If you’re unsure, ask a volunteer at registration what might be appropriate for you. Small groups may participate on these courses.

Learning to Orienteer

The quickest way to learn is to come to an event, where we always have beginner instructors available to help you getting started. For more self-serve information, check out the following:


Trying to build a team or work with students to improve skills? Check out the Orienteering Coach’s Handbook by COC’s Bob Forgrave.

Scoring and Awards

At each event, individuals on competitive courses earn points based on finish rank within each competitive category:

  • 1st place: 100 points
  • 2nd place: 95 points
  • 3rd place: 92 points
  • 4th place: 90 points
  • 5th place: 89 points
  • points continue to decrease by one point per place

Team Scoring

Students’ individual efforts contribute toward a team score. In High School Junior Varsity and up, each category has its own team score calculated by summing the scores of the top three finishers from each school. In Middle School, boys and girls scores are considered together when calculating the top three finishers to create a single Middle School team for each school. There is no team scoring for the elementary school categories.

Season Scoring

Season scoring uses the best four scores from the seven events in the series. The championship event is a stand-alone event for scoring purposes. Ties for season scores are broken by comparing the best individual event scores of each individual or team head to head. In the case that all event scores are the same when ranked this way through all seven events, a tie is awarded.


At the championship event, we’ll present awards to the top three individuals and teams for the season as well as the top three individuals and teams from that day’s championship race!

Winter League Rules Handbook

Didn’t find what you’re looking for? Reach out to the series directors (Julia Morse and Michelle Kastner) or check the WIOL Rules for further details regarding eligibility, scoring, detailed rules, embargoed areas and more.