Rules For Sprint and Mass-Start Races

There are special rules for the conduct of competitors during sprint competitions and during mass-start competitions. The most important of these rules are the rules for overtaking and for interference or obstruction. I urge all coaches to review these rules, which are in the USSA/FIS rules section of the USSA Competition Guide, with their athletes. It is important that athletes are not just familiar with the rules, but understand them well enough to compete fairly and legally without having to think about whether what they are doing is within the rules or against the rules.

Qualifying and heat size:
• All heats will have six (6) competitors
• The number of Competitors who will qualify for the J1-OJ-SR-M1-M2 elimination round will be announced prior to the race (typically 30 qualifiers in 2010)
• In classes with a quarterfinal round, the first 2 finishers in a heat plus two “lucky losers” from the five quarterfinal heats will advance to the semifinal round.  The two lucky losers are the third finishers in their heats with the lowest bib numbers (highest seeded athletes).  Timing will not be used determine ranking of 3rd place competitors.
• In the semi-finals, the first three finishers will advance to the “A” final and the next three finishers will advance to the “B” Final

Some of the most important USSA/FIS rules are listed here:
Sprint:
New for 2010 – In the sprint qualifications, the track must be given when requested by an overtaking skier (this is not applicable in the marked finish corridors).
• Disqualifications during quarterfinal and semifinal rounds will be made by a majority of not less
than three members of the jury. These decisions are not protestable.
• The only protestable disqualification decisions are disqualifications made in the “B” or “A” finals

Mass-Start:
• In the mass-start, competitors must stay in their assigned start tracks until the break in the tracks at the end of the start zone
• Skiers are required to give way to skiers who request track, even when there is more than one track. PLEASE NOTE: When there is a long “train” of skiers, competitors in the train must use common sense when requesting track. For the 7th skier in a 10-skier train to ask for track when all the skiers in front of him are skiing tip-to-tail is not a reasonable request.
• In a classic event, competitors must use classic techniques during the competition. V1, V2, V2-
alternate and herringbone with a glide phase are not classic techniques. Use of those techniques can result in disqualification.

Both Sprint & Mass-Start:
• A competitor can be disqualified for intentionally obstructing another competitor
• When competitors enter the finish zone, they must remain in the finish lane that they choose unless they have to leave the lane to overtake a competitor in front of them. However, when they leave the lane they are in, they must not in any way impede or obstruct another competitor. The best course of action is to choose an empty lane when entering the finish zone.
• Order of finish is determined when the competitor’s first foot crosses the finish line. In practice, this means that judgment is made when the toe reaches the finish line

Warming Up and Wax Testing on the courses:
• For the sprint, the course will be closed to training during the competitions, both the qualifying
round and the elimination (heat) round.
• For the mass-start, the course will be open for warming up and wax-testing during the competition
so long as the athletes and coaches who are warming up are not interfering in any way with the
competition. This means that athletes and coaches can be on the course behind the competitors who
have mass-started, or can be on the course well in front of the first competitor in a mass-start group.
However, athletes and coaches who are warming up and testing should not be on the course from the
time the first competitor in a mass-start group passes until the last person in that mass-start group passes.
• Under no circumstances is skiing against the direction of traffic permitted at any time during the
competition day.
• All electronic wax-testing devices must be removed from the course not less than 30 minutes prior to the start of the first event of the day. When wax testing is done on the course, no one may ski on the course in a direction against the flow of traffic.

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