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I am easily satisfied with the very best.

Winston Churchill

Training Overview

I have been guilty of winging it in rogaine training. And the net result is not quite the smoothly oiled machine that I present everywhere. Take the time to develop good training programs. It will pay off with faster, more exciting games. The stuff here is a start. It's the first time I've actually gotten everything written down in one place.

In the following sections I distinguish between 3 groups:

Where I ask for competency, you can interpret it as the equivalent of a 70% in school. The person knows 2/3 of it. When I ask for mastery, I expect 85% about 5/6 of everything, and no omission that would result in catastrophic events. Not surprisingly most of the mastery requirements are in the Safety section.

I've divided the skill set for Rogaine as follows:

Section 1: Safety

Hypothermia Prevention

Hypothermia is called, "Killer of the unprepared" with good reason. The best way to deal with it is to not have to deal with it. ALL participants must master this.

Hazardous situations.

This is a review of hazards that are common in winter. All participants should master this material.


This section covers the communication rule and the four basic signals: "Where are you" "Here I am" "Come to me" "I'm coming" Advantage of whistles. All participants should master this.


Ok, you've screwed up, and the group is in two separate places out of signal distance. What do you do:

The usual recommendation when lost is to sit still. In winter this is a good way to become a hypothermia victim unless you build a fire. There are many ways to set up a response. Agreement is more critical than details. Everyone must be on the same page.

Ideally it will be a pair, not an individual that is lost. This is how it will play out if you are running your buddy system properly.

First aid.

I don't cover first aid here. I recommend that all participants have the equivalent of St. John's Ambulance (no relation to the school I worked at) or Red Corss basic first aid. This is the 4 hour course. Ideally leaders or captains have a 40 hour first responder course with emphasis on wilderness situations.

Running and analyizing a 2-3 scenarios as a review is a good idea.

Hypothermia Response

This section covers what you need to do when you discover that your prevention didn't work. This course must be mastered by Captains and Leaders.

Section 2: Map and Compass 1

This group of skills are ones that I expect everyone to attempt. Depending on how long you are willing to take, how hard you push, and the participant's basic skill at simple mental arithmetic you will have varying success. Participants have to be exposed to it, Captains, Navigators, and leaders have to master it.

Skills covered:

Compass & Pace


Section 3: Map and Compass 2

This course is necessary for Captains and navigators. Ideally leaders master it too, as it make them better mentors. I don't require this for basic participants, but if interested, they can come.



Searching and Time Management

This course shoudl be taken by all -- mostly because it will help captains later in running their team. Runners don't need to master this material.
Captains and Navigators should master it. Leaders should take the course for mentoring.

Race Planning

Either the captain or navigator must master this material. It's better if both master it. As before, leaders are better mentors if they take this course too.


This training segment focuses primarily on the captain's special skills. The navigator should take it too -- he's the captain's assistant, and if he's taken this, he will be on the same page, and understand what the captain is trying to do.

Pre-Race checks.

Trail management

Time management