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FAQs

What is Far West Nordic?
What is the difference between Far West Nordic and Auburn Ski Club?
What is a Ski Club?
What is USSA?
What is the difference between an interval start, mass start, wave start, and pursuit?
What is a master, a senior, and a junior?
How can I subscribe to or synch the Far West Google Calendar?
Emails communications
What are the different age classes?
What is a Duathlon?
What is a Biathlon?
What are ‘Citizen’s Races’?
What is ‘Classic Technique’? What is ‘Freestyle’?
What is rollerskiing?
What does CNISSF stand for?
What are Far West Bucks?
What is the American Ski Marathon Series?
What does OJ, J1, and J2 mean?
What is a Loppet?

What is Far West Nordic?

Far West Nordic Ski Education Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote the sport of cross country skiing and facilitate competitive XC skiing for juniors (under age 20), seniors (ages 20-29) and masters (age 30 and up). Far West Nordic is particularly active with juniors, bringing coaching and a variety of training programs to our younger generations. By joining Far West, you’ll be helping kids stay healthy and active, and you’ll be supporting cross country ski athletes of all ages and levels of ability.

Far West Nordic is a division within USSA (United States Ski and Snowboard Association).

What is the difference between Far West Nordic and Auburn Ski Club?

Far West is the ‘umbrella’ organization. Far West promotes and supports XC ski clubs, such as Auburn Ski Club, within the Far West Region as part of its mission to promote, develop, and expand XC racing. Far West then sends the best from all the clubs within its region to national and world events such as the Junior Olympics, Masters Nationals, and Masters World Cup.

Far West Nordic is the division within USSA, while ASC is a club within the Far West division.
All camps and trips are through Far West Nordic and require Far West Nordic membership.
Daily training for the Comp and Devo teams are through Auburn Ski Club.

What is a Ski Club?

Far West is a small Division, but is supporting a growing number of Clubs interested in promoting cross country skiing.

A Club can be anything from a group of enthusiasts who declare themselves a Club to a long established Nonprofit Organization such as Auburn Ski Club

Clubs in The Far West include:

  • Auburn Ski Club: A USSA affiliated Club with its own Training Center on Donner Summit. Offers year round Teams, programs and competitions as well as winter recreational ski facilities and clinics. A nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation
  • Eastern Sierra Club: Based in Mammoth – provides year round training for junior athletes.
  • The Tahoe Cross Country Ski Education Association – a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation established to promote and develop the sport of cross country skiing through educational activities. Owns & runs Tahoe XC ski area
  • Tahoe Donner Nordic Ski Club in Truckee, California, was created by a group of cross country skiers to enlarge their circle of ski buddies & improve their skiing and mountain activity experiences. Skiers, hikers & bikers are welcome to join.

A USSA Club is affiliated with the US Ski Team promoting high level racing at local, National and International levels.
Auburn Ski Club, based at their Training Center on Donner Summit, is Far West’s only USSA Club at present.

What is USSA?

The United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) is an Olympic Sports Organization dedicated to fielding the best skiing and snowboarding teams in the world. Far West Nordic is a division of USSA. A USSA license is required for participation in the Junior Olympics, the REG (regional elite) camps, and other USSA sanctioned events.

What is the difference between an interval start, mass start, wave start, and pursuit?

great race

  • Interval Start – Racers are started individually, usually with a 15 or 30 second interval between racers
  • Mass Start – everyone lines up and starts at once. Remember to watch those poles.
  • Wave Start – like a Mass Start but the field is divided up into groups (usually men/women, or adult/junior).
  • Pursuit Start – starts are based on a previous race finish time. The Winner of the previous race starts the pursuit race first. Second place starts behind the first place by the time difference between them in the previous race. Third, forth, fifth and so on are started based on their finish relative to the winner. Usually there is a cut off time when everyone slower than the winner by a preset amount is mass started.

What is a master, a senior, and a junior?

Juniors are under age 20; Seniors are ages 20-29; and Masters are ages 30 and up.

How can I subscribe to or synch the Far West Google Calendar?

Never miss a race or Far West event. You can subscribe to the Far West Google Calendar and have your iPhone or other mobile phone, Apple iCal, Microsoft Outlook, or Mozilla Sunbird synch events. You can also get event reminders via email or text message.
At the bottom of our calendar click the google calendar button and you will be taken to the Google Calendar sign in page. You need a FREE google account which you can create from that page. Sign in and select which Far West calendars (Far West Nordic, National Races, or International Races) you would like to subscribe to. Learn more about Google Calendar.

The google calendar is also printable. Print print either a weekly, monthly, or list (agenda) view.

Emails communications

Far West Nordic never sells its email list!

We send emails to our current and former members as well as to those who have joined our mailing list from our website. You can tell us which emails you would like to receive: Monthly Newsletters, Upcoming & Special events, Masters Clinics &Programs, Junior Camps & Trips, Race Info, or All by clicking on the “update your profile” at the bottom of any of our emails.

What are the different age classes?

Generally speaking, cross country ski races have age classes in either a 5 or 10 year age grouping for adults (age as of 12/31 of the competition season).

10 year age groupings are:
Senior 20-29, Master 1 30-39, Master 2 40-49, Master 3 50-59, Master 4 60-69, Master 5 70-79

Junior Classes are generally in 2-year increments:
J5 8-9, J4 10-11, J3 12-13, J2 14-15, J1 16-17, and OJ (Older Junior) 18-19.
New Junior Age Group Nomenclature as of 2013-2014 season
The “J” age groups have been eliminated in favor of a “U” system, which is more common across junior sports. OJs are now U20s, J1s are U18s, J2s are U16s, J3s are U14s, J4s are U12s, and so on.


Some races have 5-year age groupings for adults, broken into Senior 1 20-24, Senior 2 25-29, Master 1 30-34, Master 2 35-39, and so on….

What is a Duathlon?

In XC skiing, a duathlon is an event in which skiers compete in both classic (diagonal striding) and freestyle (usually skating) technique. Skiers change their skis and poles (and sometimes boots) in a pit stop between the two skiing forms. The first official winter duathlon took place at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championship in 2003 in Val Di Fiemme.

You can try our skills at a duathlon at the Sierra Nordic Duathlon held at Auburn Ski Club in December.

What is a Biathlon?

mammoth biathlonBiathlon combines cross country skiing and rifle shooting. Some trace biathlon back to Scandinavian cave paintings dating back to about 4000B.C. The Scandinavian militaries patrolled on skis and according to US Biathlon, the earliest biathlon competition took place in 1767 between army regiments that guarded the border of Sweden and Norway. The combination of skiing and shooting was demonstrated at the Olympic Winter Games in 1924 but it was not until 1960 at the Squaw Valley Olympic Games that biathlon finally became an Olympic sport. The word ‘biathlon’ comes from the Greek for ‘two tests’.

All cross country techniques are permitted in biathlon. A biathlon consists of a race in which the total distance is broken up by either two or four shooting rounds, half in prone position, the other half standing. Extra distance, usually in the form of a penalty loop, or time is added for every missed target.

In the Far West Region you will find the Mammoth Winter Biathlon at Tamarack Lodge and the 10th Mountain Division Biathlon held at Auburn Ski Club both usually in April.

josWhat are ‘Citizen’s Races’?

These races open to anyone. There are usually 10 year age groups except for some of the larger races, which use 5 year groups. Prizes donated from sponsors are usually awarded based on age group finishes. The cross country resorts that put these races on charge an entry fee which partially covers the insurance and grooming costs. On the other hand the entry is accepted as a trail pass the rest of the day and since most race entries are cheaper than a trail pass its a deal. After the race the socializing starts. Cool downs are great times to tell stories about that wicked downhill or those long series of climbs. Many race sites provide food and drinks after the race – another instant gathering site.

What is ‘Classic Technique’? What is ‘Freestyle’?

Classic technique races permit only diagonal stride and double poling. Freestyle races allow any technique including skating.

What is Rollerskiing?

rollerskiingRollerskiing replicates the experience of cross-country skiing when there’s no snow. Instead of skis, you “ski” on pavement on a pair of rollerskis. , Each rollerski consists of a shaft a few feet in length with a wheel at each end, and a XC binding attached to the shaft. The “skier” uses traditional ski poles, fitted with carbide ferrules designed to provide a secure contact with pavement for poling . Rollerskis are available in skate, classic, and “combi” versions that can be used for striding or skating. Some models are available with speed reducers and/or brakes. If you’re skeptical about rollerskis, you are not alone – questions such as “why”, “how do you stop those things”,and “what about the downhills” are all common and very reasonable concerns. The trick with rollerskiing is finding terrain that you’re comfortable with, e.g. a long flat road with little traffic, or a gentle uphill. Good tips for this sport include not falling, wearing protective gear (especially a helmet), and not getting your pole stuck in a crack in the pavement while you’re zooming down the road. Rollerskiing can be very fun — it’s a great way to improve your balance as well as maintain your ski conditioning in the off-season. If you’re curious, there are several good rollerski videos you can find on youtube.com (search “rollerski”).

What does CNISSF stand for?

California/Nevada Interscholastic Ski & Snowboard Federation.

What are Far West Bucks?

This program is designed for athletes who wish to sell tickets for our annual fundraiser Auction/Raffle. 75% of all the money they raise goes into their Far West Bucks “account.” These credits may be used for any Far West sponsored trip (such as JO’s) or camp. This is a great way for athletes to help out their families by defraying much of the cost of these activities.

What is the American Ski Marathon Series?

“North America’s longest-running and largest citizen’s racing and touring series. Featuring thirteen premier ski marathons and winter festivals stretching from Vermont to Alaska.” This “Great American Ski Chase” was founded in 1978. The California Gold Rush is an American Ski Marathon Event. For more information and a list of ASM events visit xcskiworld.com

What does OJ, J1, and J2 mean?

In Nordic racing, age categories are referred to as J6- OJ, which means they are junior skiers. Each category involves 2 years, so you can be a first or second year J6, J5, J4, J3, J2, J1 or an OJ. Your child’s group is dependent on their age after January 1st. Therefore J3s are 12 and 13, J2s are 14 and 15, J1s are 16 and 17 and OJs (Older Junior) are 18 to 19.
New Junior Age Group Nomenclature as of 2013-2014 season
The “J” age groups have been eliminated in favor of a “U” system, which is more common across junior sports. OJs are now U20s, J1s are U18s, J2s are U16s, J3s are U14s, J4s are U12s, and so on.

What is a Loppet?

The word “lopp” means run and race in Swedish. It is used to mean a long distance cross country ski race. The Vasaloppet, a 90 kilometer classic race held annually on the first Sunday of March in northwestern Sweden , began in 1922. It is the oldest, longest, and largest cross country ski race in the world attracting more than 14,000 skiers.