Timing an Alpine Ski Race

Alpine ski races are fast and intense which can make them hard to time. However, with Zone4’s equipment and software timing these races becomes a breeze. Here is a guide to help get you set up for success on race day.

Timing Hardware

For an alpine ski race it recommended that you use GoChip to time your race, since the racers are traveling at very high speeds. GoChip is also easy to set up and very accurate.

Start: The start timing device for your race should be an activator. If the race is individual start then you can also use a start wand and freeze time cable for increased precision.

Laps and Splits: All your laps and splits should use an activator as a timing device.

Finish: Again the finish timing device should be an activator. Adding a PhotoCell to your finish provides an automated high accuracy time source but can be unpredictable and provide inconsistent data with large packs of skiers.

Race File Setup

Create a Race

First login to your Zone4 account, and select Time a Race.

From the list of sports select Alpine Skiing.

Fill out all the necessary race information: Race Name, Organization, Location and Race Date.

Next choose your race format. You have two options:

  • Multi-Run: In this race format, racers will complete multiple timed down hill runs, while the time between runs is un-timed. Results will be calculated based of each individual’s fastest segment time. For example, if there are 5 segments only the fastest one will be used to determine where an individual is placed in the results.
  • Point to Point: In this format the racer’s time is calculated on their total time from start to finish. You are able to add laps and mid-lap splits in this type of course.

Once you’ve chosen your race format click Next: Import Racers.

Here you can enter the race name, date and location. You can also make sure you are under the right organization. The click on Next: Racers.

In the Import Racers section you can choose how you want to import racers into your race file. It is easiest to import racers from a Zone4 registration, but select the option that applies to you.

Then click Create a Race.

Now you are in the overview page of your race file.

Go into the Settings page of your race file by clicking the Settings button at the top of the page.

In this page you can change many of the race settings you have already set in addition to many other settings .

Scroll down to Race Time Window. Here you can set the time frame where racers will be assigned times. The default times are 6:00:00 to 18:00:00, but if your race is occurring outside this time window you will need to change these times. To do this simply type the desired time into the text box.

You can also change the date of your race by selecting the date from the calendar.

For more details on creating a race file, the Settings page and Racers page click here.

Creating a Start List

Navigate to the Start List page by clicking the Start List button at the top of the page.

Here you will be given two options for how to separate your start groups:

  • Split Racers into Start Groups: Allows you to create custom start groups based off racer fields. To learn more about how to do this click here.
  • Keep All Racers in One Start Group: Creates one start group, so that all racers can start together.

For alpine skiing the racers will usually have an individual start time so you can generally Keep All Racers in One Start Group. However, you can make start groups that are separated by gender or age, in order to have more specific start times.

Once your start groups have been configured you can assign bib numbers and chips for all your racers. To learn how to do this click here.

The next step is to assign start times to your racers.


For this race format you will be able to assign a separate start time for every group you created. If you have more than one group you can also set a gap time between start groups.

To assign times simply type them into the correct text box and click Assign Start Times.

How to assign individual start times

Under “Settings” go to the bottom and turn on the “Experimental Settings”.

Then, go to the bottom and click on “Change Template Settings”

Under “Start Options” choose Interval Start.

You will then have access on your start list to select the interval time between each racers.

Important to note that the timing software will ignore any start times assigned before the start list scheduled start time.

Point to Point

For a point to point course you will be able to assign a start time for each group along with a time gap between each racer. This allows you to easily give each racer an individual start time.

To assign times simply type them into the correct text box and then click Assign Start Times.

You are also able to assign different time gaps between racers to different start groups by changing them individually in the Start Groups list at the top of the page.

Be sure all the times you assign are in 24hr clock format.

To learn more about creating a start list click here.

Course Setup

Navigate to the Courses page by clicking the Courses button at the top of the page.

You are given two options:

  • Split Racers into Course Groups: Allows you to separate your course groups based off of racer fields. To learn more about how to do this click here.
  • Keep All Racers in One Course Group: Selecting this option means that all racers will do the same course.

Generally, if all racers are doing the same run(s) and are therefore starting and finishing at the same points, you would Keep All Racers in One Course Group. However, if there are different courses for different groups of racers, then you can split racers into multiple course groups.

Once your course groups have been created, you will be able to setup your courses in your race file and assign timing devices.


Under the heading Segments & Timing Devices you will see that the template for a course segment has been added.

You can add additional segments by clicking the Add a Segment button at the bottom of the page.

You can also change the name of each segment by typing the name into the area above the segment template. For example, you could call it “Run 1”.

Point to Point

Under the heading Timing Devices you will see that the template for a point to point course has been added.

You can change the number of laps for each group, by typing the desired number into the # of Laps column.

If you add multiple laps to one course group a lap timing point will be added to your course template. Groups not doing any laps will ignore this timing point and go straight to the finish timing point.

You can also add split timing points to your course by clicking the Add a Mid-lap Split button.

Assigning Timing Devices

To assign timing devices click the words Select a Timing Device on the desired timing point.

Then pick the desired device from the list of timing devices.

The name of the assigned timing device will now be on the timing point

Once you have finished setting up your course, you can get one of the Zone4 staff to review your course setup. To do this click the Request Review button at the bottom of the page.

To learn more about the Courses page click here.

Setting Up Results

Navigate to the Results page by clicking the Results button at the top of your page.

On this page you will see three result set templates that you can configure for your race:

  • Age Group Results
  • Overall Results
  • Gender Results

You can hide any of these results if you don’t want to use them by clicking hide beside the desired result set.

Click on the name of a result set (for example Overall Results) to configure it.

This will open the Create a Result Set window. Depending on the template you selected, this will show you the fields that will be used to create your result groups. You can change which fields are chosen and add more, but your result set will always be separated by course groups.

Once you are happy with your result groups, click Create this Result Set.

You will now be in the result set configuration window. Here you can change the settings of your result set and publish your results. To learn how to publish your result set click here.

To see how your results will look on the public side, click View Results.

Once you’ve closed your result set, you can view it or edit it by clicking View Results or Configure respectively.

These results will be updated live during your event and can be a useful tool to monitor each racer’s progress.

Show more decimal places and time behind on results

If you want to show more decimal places on your results, activate “experimental settings”.

Then go to “Change template settings”

Under “Results Options” go to “Decimal places to show” and put 2.

You can also show time behind on the results by choosing “Display as an Extra Column”. See image above.

To learn more about the results page click here.

Next Steps

Now you have setup your race file you are ready to learn about timing a race and setting up your timing equipment. The following documents contain useful information that will keep things running smoothly on race day:

Good Luck!

Updated on 2019-11-02

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