•  Edina Nordic Ski Team Races FAQ

    What is a typical Nordic ski race like?

    A "typical" race will be a 5 kilometer long race with an interval start.  The race will be designated as using either the skate (sometimes referred to as "freestyle") or classic technique.   For an interval start, the skiers will start in groups of 1-5 racers at 15 second intervals with the winner of the race determined by the fastest time. It is not unusual for races to have variations (e.g. length of the course, number of skiers per interval, length of the interval) from one race to another.

    Who does Edina race against?

    Most of the races are Lake conference meets competing against Eden Prairie, Hopkins, Minnetonka, and Wayzata. The Lake conference schedule typically consists of a relay race, two 5K skate races, two 5K classic races, one varsity sprint race, a JV championship race, and a varsity championship pursuit race.  Other varsity races in the schedule are the Mesabi East Invitational, the Section 6 race, and hopefully the Minnesota state championship race.  In some years there have been additional junior varsity races scheduled.

    Where are the races?

    Edina Nordic ski races have been held at the following locations:

        Baker Park (Baker National Golf Course)

        Elm Creek Park Reserve

        Giants Ridge

        Hyland Lake Park Reserve

        Murphy-Hanrehan Park

        Theodore Wirth Park

        Troll Hollow

    Use the maps on this web page for directions, as other maps may not be quite correct.  For example, if you enter “Baker Park” on your GPS, you will probably end up at a location around 5 miles from the race. Google maps and Mapquest sometimes like to direct you to the park's maintenance facility. 

    Do all skiers race?

    Most of the Lake conference races are open to all skiers on the team.  Lake conference meets will be labeled as "Varsity Only" or "Junior Varsity Only" if they are not open to all skiers.

    Should new skiers race?

    It is more than perfectly acceptable for new skiers to wait until they are comfortable on their skis before they race in a meet.  Typically, it is the first race in January that the majority of new skiers will race at their first meet. Each skier is different, so a skier may decide to race before or after that time.  One a skier is ready for racing; they are encouraged to race in all of the races they are eligible to compete in.

    Don’t I need a ski trail pass to race at a Three Rivers or Minneapolis park?

    No, ski trail passes are not needed when skiing at the meet.

    How does a skier know they are racing in a race?

    For Lake conference races, the skier must inform the head coach that they intend to ski in the upcoming race. This is typically done two days before the race, with the exact information being communicated at practice.  The cut off is a hard deadline because the names of the racers need to be sent to the race timer to create the start list times.   If a skier misses a practice during a race signup, then it is their responsibility to email the coach to let them know they intend to race.   It is also important to note that the skier list is given to the schools, so those students on the list are excused from class.

    How do skiers know their school release times?

    The time that students are released from classes for a meet are communicated via an email.

    How do Southview skiers get to the high school for a meet?

    A bus will pick up Southview students and transport them to the high school.  Unless it is stated differently in an email, the students can assume the bus will pick them up at the same location as the activity bus. 

    Any suggestion to parents attending the meet?

    It has been said many times, but it bears repeating: Dress Warmly!  The fact that you are standing on snow and exposed to wind coming across snow covered fields will make it colder (This is especially true at Giants Ridge where it always seems ten degrees colder than the actual temperature). Also, it is important is to allow plenty of time for parking and walking to the course.   Frequently, you will need to park in an auxiliary parking lot and will need to take a shuttle or walk a longer distance to get to the course.

    From a spectator standpoint, races at Elm Creek and Theodore Wirth are the best places to view a race as you can easily see the skiers multiple times during the race.  At other race courses, the skiers will enter woods at the beginning of the race and then exit the woods at the end of the race.  For these races, walking or skiing out to a location on the course may be a better choice then staying at the start/finish.

    What do parent meet volunteers do at the races?

    Parents of returning skiers should volunteer for at least one meet.  Each job is very easy, but important to make sure the meet goes smoothly. Opportunities include:

    ·     Blanket Holder/Bib Wrangler  -- Give skiers a blanket to keep warm while they are waiting to start.  Help collect racing bibs after the end of the race.

    ·     Start Organizer – Gets a copy of the start list and helps make sure skiers start at the correct time.

    ·     Timing Assistant – Assist the meet timers with duties such as helping to keep the finish are clear of spectators and skiers

    ·     Food Brigade Helper – Assist with setting up the food at the team table.

    ·     Photographer – Take pictures at the meet and upload them to the team’s Shutterfly site.

    ·     Video  -- Take video of the meet that will be used in the end of season video.

    ·     Waxers – At classic races help apply kick wax to competitors’ skis.

    May I drive my child home from a Nordic ski meet?

    Ideally, skiers should take the bus home with the rest of the team to the high school.  If a skier needs to leave the meet for another event that evening (i.e. band concert), then a parent/legal guardian may drive their child from the meet.  The skier must inform a coach that they will be riding with their parents.

    May I drive another skier besides my child home from a Nordic ski meet?

    No, unless you have filled out the Edina schools Driver Release Form that has been approved by the Activities Office.   It is better to give the form to the Activities Office at least one day before the meet. Only parents or guardians are allowed to drive a student home without completing this form.  For example, without a completed form, an older sibling cannot drive a student home or a parent cannot drive their niece/nephew that is also on the team.  The coaches kindly request that you are respectful of this rule.

    What’s JV1 and JV2?

    In the Lake conference skiers are divided in to three groups:

    ·     Varsity – The top level skiers are varsity skiers, with up to 14 skiers racing as varsity.

    ·     JV1 – The next level of skiers are the JV1 skiers. Up to 14 skiers will be chosen as JV1. 

    ·     JV2 – The remaining skiers are JV2 skiers.

    Based on performance, a skier may change during the season which group they race in.  For example, it is possible that a skier races well as a JV2 skier and then in the next week race is a varsity skier.

    One important distinction between JV1 and JV2 is that JV1 will use the same technique designated for the varsity race.  Therefore, if the race is a classic race, the varsity and JV1 skiers will race using the classic technique, while the JV2 skiers can choose to either skate or classic ski.  Skating is a faster technique than classic, so it is important to note that when comparing race result times of JV2 skiers that skate with other skiers that classic ski.

    How do I know when to start?

    A coach or team manager will tell the skiers their start time before the race.  The start time is the time on the clock at the starting line the skier will start the race.  Using the example of a meet that is scheduled to start at 3:30 PM and of a skier that is given a starting time of 44:15, here is what happens.  The meet’s clock will start at around 3:30, with the first skiers starting a minute after the start of the clock.  A skier with a time of 44:15 will start their race when the clock at the starting line reads 44:15 (44 minutes: 15 seconds).  The approximate time the skier will start their race is around 4:14 PM. 

    Gopher State Events will make the start lists available online on the day of the race.  To get the start list, go to gopherstateevents.com and under “School Nordic” click on the appropriate race. A new window will pop up and it should have a link to “Start Order”.

    What if I miss my start time?

    Tough luck.  Your race begins at the start time, so you can start the race late, but the clock for your race has already started.  Skiers will usually only make this mistake once during their career.  The parent volunteer start organizer is key to helping prevent this situation from happening.

    Where can you find race results?

    For Lake conference meets, the results can be found on the Gopher State Events web site (old timers will call this site by its former name "MyVIRA"):


    Mesabi East Invitational results are on the Superior Timing website:


    Section 6 meet results are on the Apple Raceberry Jam website:


    Minnesota state championship results are on the MSHL website:

        MSHSL Boys Nordic ski

        MSHSL Girls Nordic ski

    Results can also be found on the Skinny Ski high school racing website:


    What is a good time for a 5K ski race?

    Snow and weather conditions have a very large factor on race times, so it really is misleading to compare times from a race one day to another race held on another day.

    How is the team scoring decided?

    Team scoring for Nordic meets is a little tricky.  A number is chosen, typically a 100 (but not always), to be given to the first place skier. The second place skier is given one less than that number, and the third place skier two less than that number, and so on.  In the Lake conference the top six skiers make up the team score, the section and state meets will use the top four skiers, while other conferences will use five skiers.  Here’s an example, if a team’s top skiers in the Lake conference race finished 1, 10, 11, 28, 37, and 53; then the team score would be 100 + 91 + 90 + 73  + 64 + 48 = 466.   Another way to calculate the Lake conference team score is 606 – (1 + 10 + 11 +28 +37 + 53)  = 466. 

    Why isn’t team scoring like cross-country running?

    The Nordic scoring method allows teams that don’t have a full squad to still compete in the team competition.  In cross country running, these teams are marked as “incomplete teams” and are not eligible for team competition

    What is a mass start race?

    A mass start is where a large group of racers start a race at the same time.  Usually, mass start races are not true mass starts, as the skiers will start in waves of around 25 skiers.  Since, the top skiers for each team are paced in the first wave, the first skier across the finish line in this wave will usually be the winner of the race.

    What is a sprint race?

    A sprint race is a shorter race of about 1.5 km.  Skiers will first race in an individual qualifying race to determine their seed. The top 16 skiers qualify for a bracketed tournament where they race three additional races in groups of four to determine their final placement.  Those skiers falling outside the top 16 will have a sprint race in groups of six to determine their final placement. For example, seeds 17-22 will race in one group, while seeds 23-28 will race in another race.  Sprint races are exciting in that they involve both a competitor's speed and racing tactics.

    What is a pursuit race?

    A pursuit race is the second part of a two race meet.  The first race is 5 km skate or classic interval start race.  The second race, usually around three hours later is a 5 km pursuit race,  The technique used in the pursuit race will be whatever was not used in the first race. The race is a "pursuit" in that the skier's starting time is determined by the results of the first race,  For example, if the first race is a skate race and a skier finishes with a tine that is 1:36 behind the leader,  then this skier will start the classic pursuit race 1:36 after the leader starts the race.  The winner of the meet is determined by first skier to cross the finish line of the pursuit race. The conference championship, section meet, and the Minnesota state championship are pursuit races.

    What is a continuous pursuit, skiathlon or duathlon?  

    Continuous pursuit, skiathlon, and duathlon are all names give to a race where competitors start the race using one technique (almost always classic) for the first part of the race and then change their skis and poles midway through race and ski the second part of the race using the other technique (usually skate).  

    Why should I race?  

    Obviously racing is the whole point of the high school Nordic ski sport, but even if you don't expect to finish as a top skier there are several reasons why you should compete in races: 

    A good way to mark your progress during the year, and from one year to the next.

    Racing will show where you need to improve.  For example, if competitors are passing you on the downhill, you know that you need to work on your downhill technique.

    Gain experience: you always learn something that you can use in future races.

    After a race there's nothing like relaxing in the chalet and sharing the post meet food and drink with your fellow Nordic friends.