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What is Cross Country Ski Racing?


What is Cross Country Ski Racing?

Cross Country Ski Racing

Copyright Getty Images/Jonathan Ferrey/Stringer
Question: What is Cross Country Ski Racing?
Cross country skiing races are contested in twelve events which consist of both men and women individual and national team races.

Team Races:

Team Sprint races consist of semi-final heats and a final medal race. The semi-finals are relay races with ten (or more) teams of two competitors skiing the course in relay fashion three times. The best five teams race in the medal round.

Team Relay races are teams of four skiers with each skier skiing one leg of the race ( i.e. in the 4 x 5km relay each of 4 women skis 5km). Relays began from a mass start and the first skier across the finish line has the winning team.

Individual Races:

Sprint races have time trials where each contestant skis the course in interval starts. The fastest sixteen skiers advance to elimination rounds. The first two skiers in each of the eliminations move on to the semi-final races, which consist of two heats of four athletes each. The medal sprint is one race with the top two skiers from each semi-final heat.

In pursuit races, the skiers use the classic ski technique for the first half of the event and a free style technique for the second half. Pursuit races begin with a mass start. After a halfway break for equipment changes there is a restart to the finish distance.

Women's Events

  • 5km Pursuit
  • 10km
  • 30km
  • 15km Mass Start
  • 4x5km Relay
  • 1.5km Sprint

Men's Events

  • 10km Pursuit
  • 5km
  • 50km
  • 30km Mass Start
  • 4x10km Relay
  • 1.5km Sprint
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