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Guide to Using Zone4 Timing Software for Cross-Country Ski Races

This is a guide to timing all types of Cross-Country ski races. This guide will cover how to organize seeding based off of points (CPL), ski specific Start List building tools, and guidelines to building results sets for ski races.

Keep in Mind: This is not complete Zone4 Timing software documentation. It assumes you know how use most aspects of Zone4’s timing software and only goes into detail about ski specific settings. The exception to this would be creating Start Lists which is more of a step by step guide. Links have been placed throughout the documentation to find more complete guides for many tasks, but it is recommended to use the documentation in the link below to gain a good overall understanding of how the system works before learning about ski specific settings. Click here to go to the full race timing system help index

First select “Time a New Race” and choose “Cross-Country Skiing”  as your sport template.

Picking Your Event

When you create your race (link: https://help.zone4.ca/kb/create-a-race-2/) in Zone4 timing, it is important to properly select the type of race (individual, mass start, sprint) that you’re timing. Doing this will ensure that default settings (such as how seeding is done) will be properly selected for your event. This should make your tasks of creating a start list and timing much easier.

Fill the “Race Information” and select a “Race Format” 

Then Import racers using the relevant method. Most often this will be the “Get Racers from Zone4 Registration” option.

Creating a Start List

Once you have created your race and imported racers, the next step is to create a start list. First you will need to do is to navigate to the Start List page of Zone4 Timing as is pictured below.

Creating Start Groups

What are Start Group?: Start Groups are groups of racers who start together in mass start races or who start in the same sequence for an individual start race. They are usually sorted by racer category or race distance.

Once on the Start List page you will have two options; “All Racers in One Sequence” or “Create Custom Start Groups”. Most often in ski races you will choose the custom group option since it is very rare in xc skiing to have all racers start in one group or sequence. Loppets are one possible exception to this.

Sorting Racers Into Start Groups

If “Create Custom Start Groups” has been selected you will then need to select the racer field(s) to use to sort racers into start groups.

What field you will use will depend on how your registration has been set up. Often the field chosen will be category, or since races take place over two days the field chosen will reflect a particular day of racing such as “Saturday Events”. In some cases you will need to select multiple fields to sort by such as Age and Gender. Once you have chosen the correct field(s) to group racers with, select the Create these Groups button.

Example of Racer Groups. You can unselect racer groups that are not needed such as the one shown above.

Keep in Mind: You can merge, delete and re-name groups after they have been created. In xc skiing multiple categories will often be bunched together in start groups. This is often the case with the Junior and Senior categories which can be bunched together as Open. This will be covered below in “Modifying Start Groups”

Configuring Start List

Once you have created start groups you will need to configure your start list. This involves; modifying groups, assigning bib numbers, assigning chip numbers (if chips are being used) and assigning start times.

Keep in mind that changes made to the Start List need to be applied or assigned in order for them to take affect. This is done by selecting Assign or Apply buttons placed throughout the “Configure Start List” page. You can also select the View Start List button at any time to view the changes that have been made. This is shown in the image below.

Modifying Start Groups

The first thing you will want to do is merge any groups that may need to be joined on the start list. Again this is most often the case for junior and senior categories which are often merged into one Open category. To merge groups select the Tools button the Merge Start Groups option.

Then Select the Groups to merge.

Once this is done use the drag handles to re-order start Groups based on their start order, putting the first to start at the top. You can also re-name groups. This may be needed for groups that have been merged. You can also delete unwanted groups using the Edit button and the More Options button in the “Edit Start Group” Window.

Assigning Racer Numbers

Once you are satisfied with your start groups you will need to assign racer numbers (Bib numbers). What bib numbers you choose will depend heavily on what you have available, but generally the first group to start will have the lowest bib numbers and the first racer to start in a group will have a number that ends with 1.

There are two ways to assign bib numbers. Either using the default Assign Racer Numbers tool which will bulk assign the numbers for every group or using the “Assign Separately for Each Group” option. Selecting the assign separately option allows you to edit directly in the start groups table as shown below. 

Whichever tool you choose to use it is highly recommended to leave a gap of a few bibs between start groups (this allows for some flexibility with last minute registrants) and to start each group with a bib number ending in 1 as is shown in the example above.


What is Seeding? :Seeding is the logic that is applied to the order that racers will start in or where they will be placed in a mass start grid. Depending on the level of race you’re timing you may have very specific requirements as to how seeding is done. 

In Zone4 Timing, the seeding type will be preset to a default setting depending on the type of event (Individual, Mass Start, Sprint) you’re timing. The default setting uses Cross-Country Canada rules (based off of FIS rules) and CPL points to create the seeding. Default settings should cover what is required for the majority of cross-country ski races at the Provincial and National level.

Local races rarely use CPL points for seeding. In their case you can use the “Random” or “Custom” option. Custom lets you choose a racer field to use for sorting such as last name or first name.

Assigning Timing Chips

If you’re using GoChip for your race you will assign timing chips once racer bibs are done. Assigning timing chips is very straight forward simply select the letter(s) corresponding to the chip rack you’re using and select the Assign Timing Chips button as is shown below.

Zone4 Timing will automatically try to match up racers chip numbers with the last two digits of their bib numbers. Depending on the chip numbers and bib numbers available a perfect match is not always possible so having a start list printed off at chip handout is highly recommended.

Once the chip assignment is done you can select the View Start List button to review the chip assignment.

Assigning Start Times

As with assigning bib numbers there are two ways of assigning start times. Either you can use the Start Time assignment tool pictured below to bulk assign start times for all start groups, or you can select Assign Separately For Each Group button to manually assign start times for each group in the start groups grid.

Start Time assignment tool. The “Time Gap Between Racers” window not exist for Mass Start Events.
You can assign start times separately for each group by manually entering start times into the Start Groups grid and pressing the Assign Start Times button. This also allows you to control the interval between racers on a group by group basis for interval start races.

Start Time Tips

  • Leave a gap between start groups in order to allow volunteers to make necessary course changes.
  • Although it is possible to change the interval between racers on a group by group basis it is recommended to choose a time (either 15 or 30 seconds) and stick with it throughout the day. This will simplify the requirements for volunteers

Configure Display

Here you will be able to add racer fields, banner images and header information to your start list.

Racer Fields to Display

You will set the fields you want to display on your start list. This is done using the drop down menu pictured below.

Fields will be displayed as shown below. Note that CCC Lic, FIS Lic and points are displayed by default if they are being used for your event.

What you choose to display will depend on the demands of your race, but usually for xc ski races you will wan Club and Team to be selected. Be sure not to select any fields that will display personal information. You can change the order they’re displayed in using the drag handles pictured below.


This is where you can add a section at the top of your start list that gives information such as Jury (Technical Delegate, Chief of Competition) and weather. First select add a header. You will then have the option of adding a section title.  Pictured below is an example of what this would look like on your start list and results.

Headers are divided into sections which you can choose whether you want to add a title or not. In the example above both sections have been given a title (jury and weather). Each section can then have multiple lines of information (chief of competition, Technical delegate in the example above).  Below is an example of the admin side of the same results set displayed above.  Again here you can re-organize sections and lines using drag handles.

Publishing Start Lists

Cross-Country Skiing events usually require that the Start List be posted the night before the race after the coaches meeting (if there is a coaches meeting). In order to publish a Start List select the View Start List button and the Publish button as shown below. 

Publishing a Seeding list

For higher level events you may need to publish a seeding list before the Start List. This is done in the same place as shown and described in the image below.

Courses Setup

There are two important tasks performed on the Course Setup page.  First you will divide racers into “course groups”, and then you will select which timing devices should be used for each course group, and what order the racers in that course group will cross the timing devices.

It is highly recommended to set up your courses before setting up results since changes made to courses can erase changes made to results. 

The timing requirements and what types of devices are used will vary significantly depending on the tier of race and the availability of timing equipment. Use the following links to learn how to setup the courses for your race.

  • Course Setup: This is general documentation on how to setup Courses in Zone4 Timing. Though it is not specific to XC skiing it will provide you with the base knowledge necessary for setting up courses and assigning timing devices.
  • Connecting Summits: Many ski clubs have Summit Timers at their disposal. There are two ways of integrating these with Zone4’s web based software. The recommended method is to use a Local Server (ServerBox). This allows for very simple integration with Zone4 software as is documented here. Alternatively you can use a bridge function using Zone4’s legacy PC based software as is documented here.
  • Using Photocell times with Chip times or Summit data: This outlines how you can effectively use Photocells, Summits and GoChips in an XC ski race. This may be required for higher level races.
  • Equipment Setup: This is an overview of various equipment setups that can be used for various types of ski races.

Setting up Results

Cross-Country ski racing has some unique requirements and norms when it comes to how results are displayed. This is a general guide to what those requirements are and how to configure them within Zone4 timing. Before continuing it is recommended that you read the general guide to setting up results linked to here: https://help.zone4.ca/kb/setting-up-results/

Course Descriptions

These appear both on your start list and results just below the group name. This is where you can enter information about the course that was completed. Note that for all CCC sanctioned races course descriptions must display the course distance. An example of a course description on the public side of results is pictured below.

Entering course descriptions is done in the “Courses” page of Zone4 Timing. First navigate to the “Courses” page, then select the Configure button and enter a course description as shown below. 

This step needs to be repeated for each group.

How to display Category Rankings on Overall Results

Often in ski races Junior and Senior categories are combined into one Open category on results with category rankings being displayed as well for each racer.

To do this you will first need to make two different results sets (Guide on how to do this can be found in the  of the following documentation: https://help.zone4.ca/kb/setting-up-results/) as is pictured below . One results set where categories have been merged to display the Overall results (Senior & Junior combined into one category) and a second that displays Category results. Keep in Mind that you do not need to publish both these result sets.

Once this is done, category results will become a racer field that can be displayed on Overall Results. To do this, navigate to the Configure Results page of Overall results as is pictured below.

Once there use the drop down menu in “Racer Fields” to add category results as a field. This is pictured below.

Keep in mind that you will only be able to see this field on your results set once racers have times. An example of what this would look like once racers have times is shown below.

Result Configuration

Here is a quick overview of the settings recommended for Cross-Country Skiing races.

Public Notes

This generally where information such as “official” or “unofficial” is added to results as is often required in provincial and national level races. Text added here will be displayed next to the result group name as shown below.

Header Options

Usually these will have already been set on the start list so generally you will only need to “display Banner/ Headers from the start list”.

Lap Rankings

It is highly recommended to display lap rankings if lap times are being recorded. This is information that racers like to see.

Creating an Event Page

Cross-Country skiing races tend to have a lot of results sets. For any race where more then one results set is published it is highly recommended to create an event page. This make it easy for participants to find the results that they’re looking for. To find out more about event pages go here.

Applying Time Penalties, Sanctions and jury decisions

For Tier 1 or tier 2 races you may need to apply sanctions or jury decisions. Find complete documentation here.

Updated on 2018-11-12

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