2023 Ski-O Nationals – Empire State Games

Logistics & Course Notes

Race Numbers

You will receive 2 race numbers in your registration packet at check-in. Please pin one number to each thigh before each event. They will help the Start crew line you up for the Sprint and Long interval starts. They will also help you find your start position for the Middle event as well as locate your maps on the map exchange board.

Tips for Cold Weather Racing

  1. wear face protection: a balaclava covering the face or a buff pulled up over your head are ideal. Be sure to cover your ear lobes – they are quick to freeze but often don’t feel cold;
  2. use a thick layer of vaseline to cover any skin in danger of becoming exposed, like ear lobes or nose;
  3. wear full or lobster mitts instead of gloves. Pin your SI stick to your thumb;
  4. fingers and toes will stay warmer if you have room to move them around inside your mitts and socks/ skiboots;
  5. wear breathable underlayers (not cotton) to avoid building up too much sweat;
  6. you may have trouble with glasses fogging up, especially if your nose and mouth are covered. Try using an anti-fogging product beforehand; it will be impossible to wipe the lenses clear at such cold temperatures;
  7. use chemical hand and foot warmers (ie HotHands brand) – they’re thin, light and very effective.

Start Procedure for Sprint and Long Events

Revised Sprint Start Procedure (as of Jan. 30); Start Time 12 noon

Racers MUST wear a face covering in order to participate in the Sprint event!

Because of the cold weather predicted the Start procedure for the Sprint on Friday has changed. To the left of the field behind the lodge is a small equipment building where there will be a large propane heater blasting out towards the overhead door.  The start officials will be just inside the door and racers can wait close by to catch some heat, with odd numbers on one side of the door and evens on the other.  We plan to stay with the published start order with one racer leaving alternating from each line every 30 seconds. Please note the race start time will be 12 noon.

Your time starts from the equipment shed.  You will be asked to punch before putting your map into your holder. Start triangle is in the field as marked on your map; there will be a flag but no SI box.

Please note there will be race officials lodge checking every racer for frostbite as they ski by. If any symptoms are noted you MUST stop racing immediately and go indoors to warm up.



The Sprint event on Friday and the Long event on Sunday will be interval starts. There will be 2 lines – Call Up and Start – and 2 lanes – one for even race numbers and the other for odd. Please get to the call up line 5 minutes before your start time. Because racers are starting every 30 seconds it will be difficult to fit you in if you’re late for your start and you will probably have to wait around until everybody else has started. This will not be pleasant in the cold weather that’s predicted for the weekend!

Clear and check at the boxes situated near the line. If you are using a SIAC chip wait a few seconds after clearing until the chip stops flashing before inserting it into the Check box.

After clearing and checking you will be lined up by the Start officials in your start order.  Note that racer numbers are not in start order. The officials will move you down to the start line about two minutes before your start. Racers will start at 30 second intervals with each lane alternating by one minute. We are limiting the number of racers in each lane at the start line to 3 in order to minimize noise.  Please keep the talking down in the call up area and stay quiet at the start area so everyone can hear the start officials.

At your start time you will be given your map. Please hold it in your hand by your side and punch the start box before placing your map in your map holder.  As soon as you punch the start box continue to move forward to clear the area for the next starter. You can take as much time as you want to get your map into place but please keep advancing to make room for the next starter. Since you will be on the clock as soon as you punch the start box, it will help to have mastered the art of using a map holder ahead of time!

The start triangle is at the start line.

Start Procedure for Middle Event

Middle Event Start Time changed to 12 noon

The Middle event on Saturday will be a Mass Start, with all racers leaving the line together. To expediate the distribution of maps, take your map board and SI stick to a race official inside the lodge when you’re ready to head out for your warm up and race, between 11:00 and 11:30. Clear and check your SI stick, and then hold your map board open so a race official can insert your map upside down.  Close your map board and advance to the warm up area, which is in the big field between the big brick armory building and the map exchange area. The indoor map distribution is to save you standing and waiting for it out in the cold, so please return the favor by not peeking at your map before the race!

Please be in the field by 11:45 and line up with lowest race numbers at the front and highest at back. Race numbers have been assigned by course – Blue, Red, Green, Orange and White. You should find yourself among others in your class but slower skiers are asked to stay towards the back or off to one side so they don’t impede faster skiers around them.

The command of “Maps” will be given 30 seconds before the start; at this time turn over your map in your map holder. At the “Start” command you will charge off towards your first control. If you feel intimidated by the start please avoid potential trouble by lining up off to one side.

There will be a double pole only zone marked in the Start area – this will be strictly monitored and is there for your safety to avoid spills, broken poles etc. Please observe it carefully and don’t start skating until you’re beyond the zone!

If you miss the mass start you will be permitted to start whenever you arrive at the start line; however your time will be calculated from the mass start time at noon.

Please note there will be race officials near the map exchange area checking every racer for frostbite. If any symptoms are noted you MUST stop racing immediately and go indoors to warm up.

Map Exchange

Map Exchange Board with racer numbers at the top of each column and holes for maps 2 and 3

Since most courses have several maps, there will be map exchanges where most racers will discard their used maps and pick up the next one. The White course will NOT have a map exchange but all other courses will. When you are headed to the big field for your warm up, take a look at the map exchange boards. At the top are racer numbers that correspond to bib numbers; locate your number on the board so you’ll know where to head when picking up your next map. The map that you start the race with ends at a control near the map exchange area. BE SURE TO PUNCH THAT CONTROL BEFORE EXCHANGING MAPS, discard the map on the ground and then head to your race number on the board. Grab your next map, which will be the top most one, double check that it is the correct map and then head out for your next control. Most racers will come back for a third map which will end at the finish control.
As soon as you pick up your map please ski away immediately from the area to make room for other skiers coming in. You can insert your map into your holder as you’re moving away.
Discarded maps will be picked up by race attendants and will be available after the race.

Blue course: 3 maps total, 2 map exchanges
Red course: 3 maps total, 2 map exchanges
Green course: 3 maps total, 2 map exchanges
Orange course: 2 maps total, 1 map exchange
White course: 1 map total, 0 map exchanges

Each course is designed with butterfly loops so that racers on the same course will do it in a different order. For instance 1/3 of Blue racers will race on map A, 1/3 will race on Map B and 1/3 on Map C. So remember it may not be to your advantage to start out following the fastest skier in your class!

Please ensure you don’t take another racer’s map at the exchange, and be sure to check carefully that you pick up your correct map in order. There are two ways to do this; first, as you discard your first map keep the control number sequence in mind and make sure your next map starts with the next number in sequence. Second, check the letter on your map label – A, B or C – and make sure it matches the letter on your next map. There will be attendants at the map exchange area along with sets of duplicate maps in case of mixups.

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