I think it is important to differentiate between championships in the different disciplines. There may not be many Trail-O events, but that doesn't mean that they can't have a championship. That logic does not hold for events already falling under the Foot-O umbrella - if we are only having a single sanctioned relay each year, it makes no sense for it to be the championship.
My point on the call about being uncomfortable with awarding the Trail-O championships was more about the fact that I would like to see more sanctioned Trail-O events in the US, so that the US Champs aren't the only instance of this discipline happening.
I don't have strong feelings about the Trail-O championships, though given that it's an active enough group in the O-community, I would like to see more than one or two sanctioned events per year. Totally agree with you there.
We don't seem to have fully solved the problem of copious US Championships. SML and Classic are entrenched and viable - i.e. they seem to have higher attendance than other events of similar format, and there are other events with that format. Night, Relay, and Ultralong are a bit more dubious; I think the relay is beneficial because it is the most social event, the only club competition, and a point of pride. While I personally have attended Ultralong and Night events, there are typically only one per year, and that the event was the US championship had no bearing on my choice to attend. I also don't think they are attractive events for competitors.
I'm sure your events group has given a lot of thought to restructuring. If I were Supreme Overlord of the orienteering universe, I would have a multi-day festival every year in the US - say five races in four or five days, e.g. on a three-day weekend. The three days could include the core races - say 2x classic, relay - with a Night-O on the night of Day 0 and some other race on Day 4. This way, it could accommodate people who couldn't take time off (e.g. kids in school), but be a big event with a substantial draw. And attending five races with only one vacation day would be amazing.
The Canadian Champs are usually part of a week long festival, and it seems that most everyone in the Canadian community prioritizes going to this event. I have typically found the event schedule too sparse to attend everything, but I have been to three COCs in the past three years.
Night and Ultralong events do exist, but they're just not usually sanctioned as "National" (A) events. I think I was at 4 night-O meets this year myself, 5 if you count the Corn event. So a champs there would not be a one-off.
Ultralong there was an AP discussion a few months(?) ago. I got the impression there was a LOT of interest for this, but as a mass start rather than interval start format. There again there are a lot of existing events, just not with "National" sanctioning status.
I agree with fossil. Most orienteering happens at the local and regional level for various disciplines. We shouldn't expect a series of national events for each discipline before thinking that a national championship could be worthwhile. A week of championships could be good (at least in those parts of the country where summer orienteering is lovely, and where organisers are interested in that much work). But an ultra long could stand well as a single event.
"and it seems that most everyone in the Canadian community prioritizes going to this event."
Except look at this year where most of the top National team members weren't there.
US Team Champs in the Spring
Day 1: Relay Champs (IS, IC, Club)
Day 2: Individual Race (IS & IC individual medals, team scoring for IS, IC, Club)
US Individual Champs in the Summer or Fall
Sprint, Middle, Long + other sanctioned non-champs events if organizers feel so inclined
Create a National Ultra Series with all of the events that already exist all over the country (Billygoat, Traverse, etc). No need for a single championship, just like golf or tennis. This is what we're doing with sprint festivals like Vancouver Sprint Camp and SART, starting in 2017.
Definitely would like to see a mass start goat-style race series.