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. Cooldowns 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. There are a few ways to start a 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.
Classic technique races permit only diagonal stride and double poling. Freestyle races allow any technique including skating. Distances are given in kilometers. To convert to miles multiply by 0.62. For example 10 km is 6.2 miles. Men and Women usually race the same distances with juniors usually racing a shorter distance. There are three race costs listed: 1. Entry received at a certain time before the Race; 2. Late Registration entry fee; and 3. The cost for Juniors. The junior cost might be missing when it is the same as any other racer.
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….
This is a great video that explains many of the specific FIS rules that apply to classic-technique races.
In races that have a separate start for men (open) and women, women who start in the men’s start will not show up in the women’s results. For Far West scored series—Fischer Cup, Masters Team, and Sierra Ski Chase — women who choose to race in the MEN’S wave will score the points calculated by her placement in the MEN’S Wave, but those points are applicable to her overall series score.