From Alaska to the Southeast !

If you had told me, a few years ago, that I would have been giving remote support for winter events and summer events during the same weekend, I would have had a hard time believing you. But this weekend, it happened!

This weekend was the Alaska High School State Ski Championship and in Tennessee we had the first Mountain Bike events for the XC Southeast group and for the Go Nuts Biking Enduros.

At this time of year, the average temperature in Alaska are still well below freezing, the days are getting longer and it is prime conditions for skiing. In Tennessee, temperatures are around 15-18 Celcius and the dirt is in prime condition to rip your mountain bike around!

That being said, we had an amazing weekend of events, from Alaska to the SouthEast!

The 2021 Alaska High School State Championship

The Alaska High School State Championships were a 3 day event: 2 individual start races and 1 relay race.

The organizers had to limit the numbers of racers to under 200 because of the current Covid-19 situation. The timing team on site did an amazing job using the Zone4 timing software following FIS homologated rules.

With the good wifi at the Matsu ski club, we were able to offer live timing all weekend! You can see on the picture above that everyone was wearing a mask except the racers! Great job everyone!

Lori (Head Timer) and her amazing team on site!

The Matsu Ski Club did an amazing job with the event and we were happy to be there to help from Canmore! Looking forward to many more events with that crew!

XC SouthEast

Our friends from Downhill SouthEast started a new series this year, now known as XC Southeast. This Cross Country Mountain Bike race was the first event for them timing with our GoChip system. They had just under 150 racers!

Photo from the xcsoutheast instagram: https://www.instagram.com/xcsoutheast/

Everyone enjoyed the amazing trails from Ride Kanuga Bike Park and the live timing offered lap times for everyone!

Photo from the xcsoutheast instagram: https://www.instagram.com/xcsoutheast/

It was all smiles for the weekend and everyone is looking forward for their next event!

Go Nuts Biking

Go Nuts Biking is a new member of the Zone4 family. This past weekend, they had their first Enduro of the season which was a 5 stage Enduro with just under 250 racers. The conditions were challenging during the race with lots of mud caused by heavy rain in the days prior to the event.

Everyone was ready to conquer the trails and give it all they got!

Photo from the thenickwalkins instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/CL4dnX9n3XN/

The challenge for timing was that the event was mostly offline with no cell coverage. That meant that the times were getting uploaded on Zone4 only when racers would come back close to the main staging area where they had wifi access. What is great about our system is that the chip records the times as the racer rides around the course, and carries them with the riders until they come into wifi range. That make us feel very confident timing a race even in a dead wifi zone like this event experienced.

Photo from the thenickwalkins instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/CL4dnX9n3XN/

A big thank you to our friend Mickey who took care of timing on site and did an amazing job. From setting up the gear, handing out chips and making sure times were coming in smoothly, he did a great job! Looks like everyone had a good time out there and we hope to time events with Go Nuts Biking again soon!

We are really excited to have many “in person” events on our calendar coming up! We’ll keep you guys posted!

Have a great week!

Etienne and the Zone4 Team

Virtually “literally” very cool!

Here we are, already at the start of February 2021 entering the middle of the Canadian winter. “In person” events will happen soon but for now, we are hosting many very cool virtual events! Here is a quick overview of how creative race organizers have been over the winter so far.

The Nordiq Canada Challenge

Using our newest virtual event platform, Nordiq Canada are hosting a most km skied challenge. Participants from all over the country are entering their kms. Here is the current top 5, pretty impressive with over 1000 km skied for number 1 ! The challenge is open until February 28th.

https://next.zone4.ca/challenge/2021/nordicdistance/

Lake Louise to Banff Virtual event

This beautiful loppet that goes from Lake Louise to Castle Junction following the bow river is pretty legendary. This year, the organizers added the “Corona Challenge” which is doing the full distance round trip for a total of 72 km! Over 40 people completed the corona challenge which is very impressive! The participants were also encourage to costume for the chance to win a prize! See on the photo below some of the great styles you could find on the trail!

Grand Tours

Several ski clubs are publishing a new course each week and participants have a week to complete the course. They give prizes for each week and there will be a prize for the total time it took to complete all stages. That is super fun! Here are two links from Sovereign Lake and Prince George:

https://zone4.ca/event/2021/CD6C9760/

https://zone4.ca/event/2021/1513A19A/

Coming up

In the following weeks, we will host the Canadian Ski Marathon Virtual event and the Birkie Virtual Race! It will soon be on Zone4 but for now, you can visit their website to find out more info! You can participate to those legendary events from your own region.

Birkie: https://canadianbirkie.com/virtual-birkie/

CSM: https://skimarathon.ca/fr/home-fr/

We are super excited to see you all at “in person” events and for now, we are enjoy seeing everyone staying active in virtual events!

More information on how the summer is shaping up coming up soon!

Enjoy the winter!

Etienne and the Zone4 Team

“Keeping the mountain biking racing World going”

Image from the Crankworx Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/CDjUNAelI44/

Since the month of March, the sport World has been shaken by the pandemic that is still currently hurting most countries today. Most organizers had no choice but to cancel their event for this year and reschedule them for 2021. This is when the world of mountain biking, with the contribution of Zone4 Timing, came up with imaginative ways to have events this summer.

With border closures, social distancing, and non essential travel restrictions, Zone4 Timing technology really came up to make it possible for events to offer the best experience to their participants and fans in different parts of the World.

The Zone4 Timing system is Web based which means that a Zone4 employee doesn’t need to be on site to support timing the event. This is a huge game changer in todays reality. Most of the events this summer such as Downhill Southeast and Big Mountain Enduro (coming up in August) are timing the events themselves and receiving help from the Zone4 office in Canmore.

A podium picture from a Downhill Southeast race this summer

“The timing system allows me to see the live data coming in from the event site on my computer screen here in Canmore. It makes it easy to support the event remotely. With great communication with a volunteer timer on site, we can make sure together that everything runs smoothly during race day” says Zone4 timer Etienne who is supporting several events remotely this summer.

“Logan Mulally learned to use the system with our help documents and Youtube videos. We have a ritual on race day, he is texting me once a timing point is ready and tested so I can confirm that I can see the times coming in live from Canmore. This way it makes him confident and comfortable feeling like he is well supported by us” also mentioned Etienne.

Another amazing opportunity came to us this summer when we received a phone call from the legendary Crankworx organizer from Whistler BC. They asked us to time all the Enduro events of their Summer Racing Series. It is a first time for them to organize such events and it has been a blast! For those events, Crankworx found a very unique way to respect the national COVID regulations. Our timer and software developer Kyle was assigned the job and he has done amazingly with them. 2 events already happened and one more Enduro to come Tuesday at Sun Peaks Resort. Follow all the Enduro events at http://www.zone4.ca and on the Crankworx website https://www.crankworx.com/.

We are very thankful and happy to have some events to time this summer! It shows us that even in difficult times, races can happen safely.

Thank you everyone for the support and hopping to get more live results out there shortly!

Zone4 Team

Zone4 raised more than $800 towards Protect Our Winters Canada!

Last June, while the restrictions to flatten the curve related to COVID-19 were at its highest, Zone4 decided to be creative and work on a project.

The project was simple. The goal was to get people motivated to stay active, stay connected to their sport community and to get involved in a great cause!

The Zone4 team worked on the development side to get a virtual platform to host virtual challenges. Within a few weeks, the platform was ready and the first ever Zone4 challenge was launched. Etienne Richard, the organizer and Zone4 employee, decided to keep it simple so that people from all over Canada and the World could participate. The challenge was to run a “socially distanced” solo 4km course and to enter their times on the Zone4 event page.

To add on to the event, Etienne contacted Protect our Winters, it is a great fondation that shares the same values of the company. Click here to find out more about POW. Participants who decided to donate to POW Canada had the chance to win prizes from Patagonia Banff, Buff Canada, Ski UpHill and Auclair Gloves. We are thanking those supporters who made the virtual challenge even more rad!

“We are really pleased with how the first ever Zone4 virtual challenge went” says Etienne. “More than 70 people from all over Canada and 5 countries participated, and we collected over $800 towards Protect Our Winters!” mentioned Etienne.

Now, different organizers who are users of the Zone4 Timing System and Registration platform, are launching virtual events! In most parts of the country, it is still complicated to organize “in person” sport events.

We are happy to offer the virtual event solution in those challenging times and help people stay motivated and active. It is super important for us!

We keep on following the situation closely and will be ready to send our timing system to events once the COVID-19 situation will get in control. Patience is key and keeping active and positive during those times is making all the difference!

We are wishing a great summer to everyone!

Keep in touch!

Zone4 Team

Downhill Southeast to kick start the summer !

Lots of excitement this week at Zone4!

Over the past years, we have had a lot of success and have been rapidly growing. We were originally getting ready to have our busiest summer ever, 10-15 events per weekend! With the arrival of the Virus (Covid-19) as you can imagine, the summer now looks quite different.

This is why we are extremely excited to have a first timed event this weekend since March! The event is happening at the Windrock Bike Park in Oak Ridge Tennessee! We sent the timing gear to the organizers, Downhill Southeast, last week so that they have some time to practice before race day. No Zone4 timers will be on site but we are used to this. With our GoChip Web based timing system, we are able to give excellent support online and over the phone!

Downhill Southeast has already practiced this week with the gear and they are ready for the weekend races! We will be live and riders will enjoy having a split at the mid point of the downhill to see where they won or lost time.

“Downhill mountain biking is the perfect event to start with while respecting health recommendations due to Covid-19. Being able to send one rider at a time with enough distance between each rider makes it easy to respect social distancing” says Zone4’s Etienne Richard who is giving support for the race from Canmore. “We have also discussed with the group several procedures that we will have in place to respect the national government recommendations such as cleaning all the chips with bleach at the end of the event and all workers on site wearing gloves and masks.” mentioned Etienne.

One event does feel like 10 for this weekend which is great for Zone4! We hope other groups will be inspired by Downhill Southeast and host some secure and “social distancing” events during the summer! Downhill Southeast will have a total of 4 weekends of events this summer, all timed with the Gochip System by Zone4.

Follow live at Zone4.ca this weekend !

Have a great weekend everyone!

Zone4 Team

Zone4 Virtual Challenge Platform

Any great news starts with a great video. Watch the video below before continuing your reading !

The Zone4 Team is super excited to offer a new platform available on our main website! Whether you are an old time user with us or you just created an account today at http://www.zone4.ca, you will have access to our new Zone4 Virtual Challenge platform!

We designed this Virtual platform to help the sport community keep people active and involved during these difficult times! We want everyone to be able to stay motivated and to be part of really cool challenges while practising social distancing!

What does the Virtual Platform offer?

  • Create any type of Virtual races or challenges which our timing software already offers. (Running, Triathlon, Mountain Bike and more!)
  • Transfer your registrants to a virtual race with a simple click
  • Live results
  • Photo upload
  • GPS Files Upload (Garmin, Suunto, Strava-> coming soon!)
  • Share results to Facebook
  • Event pages integration

Build your first Virtual event today! Here is an information document from our Help menu to get you started: http://help.zone4.ca/kb/creating-a-virtual-challenge/

Stay tuned! We will be launching a Zone4 Virtual Challenge soon which you can participate in! It will be a great way for everyone to get to see the software in action!

Stay positive everyone and thank you for supporting Zone4 for so many years!

Zone4 Team

BREAKING NEWS: Zone4 to time the Olympics!-April Fools :)

April 1st 2020

Breaking news for the Canmore local timing company. After a of negotiations, the Olympic committee made the decision to contract the Zone4 crew to time all the events of the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. “This is wonderful news for the team. I cannot wait to be in Tokyo and show the World the best timing solution that the Olympics will have ever seen in its history!” says founder and owner Dan Roycroft.

Zone4 crew just after their arrival at the Olympic site. Tools in hand they are already starting to get everything ready on site. They are even helping to finish building the stadium!

The Zone4 has already begun their work in Japan. A part of the team landed a few weeks ago and brought their tools to help finish building the stadiums. “In these challenging times in the World, it’s the least we can do” says the team.

Zone4 crew on an evening walk in the busy streets of Tokyo. “Much different than Canmore” software engineer Linden says.
The Zone4 team on a walk to a famous temple on one of their “very rare” off days. Used to the snow of Canmore, they are always dressed ready for the weather to come in.

The team is happy to escape Canmore which is still in full winter conditions at the moment.

The Zone4 team also wants to wish a happy “April Fools” to everyone and wants to make sure everyone keeps on smiling!

Have a wonderful day!

Zone4 Team

Dear Zone4 Family, 

From all the members of the Zone4 Team, we wanted to connect in these challenging times. We continue to be guided by the advice of our public health officials and, like each of you, we are making decisions each day with the health of our employees and our community in mind.

We understand that this  is a difficult time for event organizers in Canada and most places in the World. Things are changing quickly so it is important to stay well informed. Each province is issuing its own rules in terms of social gatherings, here are the ones for Alberta. Now is a good time to check your own province/state websites for updates.  We need to work together to flatten the curve, so we can all get back to enjoying the sports that bring us together. From all accounts this Covid-19 crisis is not a sprint, it’s a marathon, so we need to pace ourselves accordingly. 

Short term solutions

If your event was going to happen soon, there is a good chance that you had to cancel or postpone. 

Refunds: Depending on your merchant account, you may or not be able to refund your participants directly on their credit cards. If you are not sure on how to refund, send us an email at support@zone4.ca or call us at 1-888-444-0199.

Give people credits for next year: You can cancel the event and give a free entry to everyone who has already registered for next year’s edition. 

Long term solutions

Put your registration on hold: If your event is happening in a long enough future. You can put your registration on hold so you don’t accept any new registrants. You can do this under the “publish” section of your registration by changing the close date to today. You can then change the dates again in the future to reopen the registration. 

Be creative: The government doesn’t allow gatherings of more than 50 people at the moment. Be creative and find ways to have people complete the event individually so that they don’t get in contact with people.

Go virtual: If you are able to get your participants to complete the challenge on their own, you can have them complete the event virtually. 

Zone4 is here for you

Zone4 will always be passionate about  helping organizations to be more efficient with both registration and race timing. In these challenging times, Zone4 is thinking outside the box and coming up with ways to still offer people a safe way to practice the sports they love. We are taking this time to rest and recharge after a very busy winter, work on development, and create online training tools that can be used by clubs and aspiring Zone4 timers in the future.

If you have any questions or concerns  about your event, or if you just want to brainstorm some ideas or solutions, we would love to hear from you. You can email us at support@zone4.ca or call the office at 1-888-444-0199. 

Stay positive out there!

Take Care,

Zone4 Team

Downhill South East- Snowshoe Mountain WV

Last weekend was a really fun one! I got the chance to go down at the Final weekend of the Downhill South East Series. The finals were happening at Snowshoe Mountain Resort in West Virginia. It is a very remote location for the East coast but somewhere that all the mountain biking and especially downhill fans will know about. It will host its first ever Downhill Mountain Biking World Cup this coming September.

After a few hours of driving, I finally made it in Wild and Wonderful West Virginia !

The night before the event, I had the chance to watch Neko and a few of his friends sending hard on a big jump that they built for the World Cup track. It was at sunset and you will see from the images, it was breath taking! 

Neko Mulally and his friends showing no fear when hitting one real big jump at sunset at SnowShoe Mountain

More pictures of the sunset session can be found here

Founder of the Downhill South East series and USA DH World cup member, Neko Mulally, invited Zone4 to come down and show them how easy it is with our system to set up timing splits down the mountain on the DH course. This is huge for DH events because riders loves to know where they gained or lost times on the way down. With the current system that the downhill events are using in most of the venues, it is currently really complicated and almost impossible to offer split times. There was a lot of excitement within the riders and the organization to have Zone4 on site!

Riders at the top getting ready to start their race!

The day before the events, we walked the race track and decided on the location of the 2 splits. Each of them were easy and fast to set up. The setting up is simple, it is just a wire loop that is put either under the dirt or covered up with mats like you will see on the next picture bellow. Then, our activators (the split timing device) runs wireless and on batteries. They are about the size of your hand so they are easy to bring in a backpack.

On top of being able to set up 2 splits down the hill, we were able to have a TV at the bottom of the course to show live splits as the racers were coming down. This created a huge excitement for the crowd and the racers who could watch live, just like World Cup style, the ranking of the racer coming down the hill. 

A rider just starting their descent!

Overall, it was a really fun and an exciting race! Since it was a demo, we timed 50 competitors and offered live timing for them. Results can be found here. Expect to see the Downhill South East events using Zone4 in their next year’s events!

See a really cool article about the event here !

More info on the Zone4 chip timing system can be found on our website at www.zone4.ca

A Busy Winter At The Ski Resorts

About a year ago, I was sitting in front of my desk at the Zone4 office and Canmore when my phone rang, I could see it was a call coming from the province of British Columbia. I answered the phone and started a wonderful conversation with someone who had a dream to help her sport to become more accessible to everyone and to do so, she needed a timing solution that would allow her easy and the most accurate timing possible. The person on the phone was legend and Olympic Gold medalist Nancy Greene!

This was the beginning on the most wonderful project I have been part of to date with Zone4. Together with Nancy, against some of the older Alpine skiing thoughts that Alpine skiing can only be timed with photocells, we started making a plan to improve our timing software to make it excellent for Alpine skiing.

On the image below you can see Olympian legends Nancy Greene Raine and Kathy Kreiner

img_2324

After many discussions on the phone and development from our programmers, we had an Alpine Timing Software ready to use. With stars in her eyes, Nancy Greene’s really believe in our system and her vision that chip timing is the future for the sport. Sun Peaks Resort then went ahead and purchased our GoChip timing system. With local volunteers and resorts staff, the team at Sun Peaks took no time to become professional Zone4 Timers and got their Friday Race Series going!

Friday Race Series wrote on their Facebook: ” The new “chip-based” timing system by Zone 4 (Zone4.ca) out of Canmore has proven to be a winner. To date, a timing system for cross country skiing, road races, bike races and other similar sports, the Sun Peaks initiative has proven the potential for Recreational Alpine Ski Racing…As the first application for this system in Alpine in Canada, we can certainly say that we are impressed. Thanks to Nancy Greene-Raine for initiating this innovation at Sun Peaks and just as importantly, congratulations to the FRS Team for making it work (Jim Alix in particular). Other recreational racing programs…take note… this system rocks!”

Full post here

They also used the system for other events such as cross country skiing and their Snowboard Banked Slalom:

They are also planning on using the system in the summer for biking events, enduros, running and more.

Thank you sun Peaks for having seen an opportunity with us and to have believed in our product!

The Sun Peaks Wave

Many people went to Sun Peaks this winter and were able to see our timing system in action. It is the case for Big White Ski Resort, they also just did purchase of our system after trying it out this winter at their Telus Kelowna Cup event. They have just successfully timed their Ken Mitchel Memorial Cup event this weekend and we are looking for many more events to come in both winter and summer! Thank you Big White !

The photo below is from the Ken Mitchel Memorial Cup on the Big White Ski Resort Facebook here.

sunpeaks snowboard

4th Annual Baked Salmon

The 4th Annual Baked Salmon also used our timing system for their event. First, they used our registration platform and they sold out 200 spots in less than 9 minutes! That is an event that is unbelievably popular!

Then, they accepted up to 300 participants and with our GoChip system, they were able to give everyone 1 run and half the racers a 2nd run (If you were taking a second run, your first run was automatically not counting for awards).

Thank you Mt. Seymour and Baked Salmon for the great event!

Watch the Mt. Seymour Baked Salmon video below:

 Marc-Andrew Memorial Banked Slalom: Presented by Kicking Horse Mountain Resort and Darkside

This year was the second annual Banked Slalom at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort and we were really excited to part of the event and we are looking forward to many more !

Last year was our first time ever timing a Banked Slalom with them and now it is becoming one of our main sport! Thank you to Kicking Horse Mountain Resort for our partnership!

Here is the video from this years edition!

It has been a great winter at the Ski Resorts and we are looking forward to many more to come! Thank you for the great winter and we are ready to kick off the summer season soon!

Enjoy your events!

Zone4 Team.