Things are humming around Zone4 these days. Hundreds of new GoChips have been built to meet the demand for x-country ski races and loppets happening across Canada and the US.
In the fall we created a tutorial series to help clubs brush up on their Zone4 timing skills. We go over testing timing points at home and in the field, setting up timing loops in the snow, testing your chip batteries, trouble shooting and more.
Get ahead of the game and check out this tutorial series hosted by Zone4 timing experts before your next event!
‘Cross Country Skiing, in particular Sprint Heats, are by far the most challenging races to time. You have to be perfect and have results published within moments of each heat, so the right athletes can get advanced on to the semis and finals. That puts such a high bar on the performance of the equipment, the timing team, and all the procedures around the event,’ says Dan Roycroft, founder of Zone4. ‘It’s great seeing coaches tracking our live results on their phones, gathering data on where athletes are gaining and losing time in each heat’.
Zone4 race timers take you behind the scene at this years NorAm Super Tour x-country ski race at the Canmore Nordic Centre. 700 atheletes, sprint heats, race set up and live timing are featured in this video.
Zone 4 was timing the Biathlon Canada, Biathlon Selection Trials earlier this month at the Canmore Nordic Centre. Over the three day event, athletes had to contend with a wide range of temperatures, snow and variable winds.
Matt Strum (part-time Zone 4 staff) skied fast and shot clean during his final race and made the IBU Cup tour in December. Now he has a chance at a World Cup spot after Christmas. You can chip in and help Matt realize his dream here. Go Matt!
Enthusiastic volunteers were on course working out their systems for the rest of the season. Zone 4 staff got to see our timing system in action allowing athletes, coaches, and fans to check live results during the event! Remember when you had to check the paper results at the end of the race? Learn more about our timing system for Biathlon here.
Click on this fun video to catch some of the early ski season excitement in the Zone 4 hometown of Canmore, AB.
There’s a lot of stuff on Zone4 lately! And with ski season about to start, there’s going to be even more soon. This means you have to scroll a bit sometimes to find what you’re looking for on our homepage.
To make things easier, we’ve enabled location filtering on Zone4.ca: just click the little place marker in the search bar to only display events within 200km of your location.
We use your IP address to detect your location, so the location we detect for you might be off by a bit depending on the location your internet provider reports, but for most people it should be roughly accurate.
I’m an event organizer. How do I set the location of my event?
We use the “City” field from your settings to determine the location. If your event isn’t showing in the search results for the correct area, find the City field in your race, registration, event, or organization settings and make sure it is set to the correct city.
As we’ve expanded into new sports and met new customers, we’ve found new requirements and learned new patterns that our tools need to support. So today we’re updating the start list tools with a few new features, a bit more intelligence, and a new layout with a bit more space for the new features to live in.
Start Time Order
This feature is the main motivator of today’s changes. Up until now, in an individual start race the racer numbers and start times needed to be assigned in the same order. Racer #1 started first, racer #2 started second, and so on. This doesn’t work for races where the top ranked racer gets to wear #1 but the start list needs to be ordered slowest to fastest.
You’ll now see a Sort By option under the Assign Racer Numbers section, and another Sort By option under the Assign Start Times section. By default, start times are assigned in order of ascending racer number – the existing behaviour that you’re used to if you’ve built a start list in Zone4 previously. However, if that behaviour doesn’t work for your race format, you can now change the sort to any other racer field.
For an example of how this can be useful, some cycling races issue number plates that racers keep for a whole season, but want to run a time trial with racers starting in order of series points. After importing both the racer numbers and points, the start list can now support that ordering.
A bit of reorganization
If you’ve clicked on that “Assign Separately for Each Group” button before, you may have been confused when you had to scroll back up to the table at the top of the page to access the options it exposes.
With this change, when you switch between the group-by-group interface or the whole race interface, it will switch in-place so you don’t have to scroll back up to the top to access it.
This change also gives us a bit more room to work with – we have space here now to show a sort order option in the Assign Racer Numbers section, and another sort order in the Assign Start Times section.
Depending on which race format you select, you might be taken directly to either the simplified race ui or the group-by-group interface. You can always switch between them with the toggle in the options menu:
Auto-fill for less typing
We’ve brought the convenience of the whole-race interface over to the group-by-group interface. As you enter the first racer number, or the first start time, for the first group you’ll see a first racer number or start time auto-populate for all the subsequent start groups. You can type overtop of this greyed out placeholder value if you don’t like it, or you can leave it in place if it works for your race.
The Publish Button is now Always Available
At the bottom of the start list builder, you’ll see two buttons: Publish & Print, and View Start List. Previously, the Publish button was only available on the View Start List page, but to help out anybody who couldn’t figure out how to publish their start list, the button is now available on the configuration screen too.
We still recommend clicking “View Start List” first and having a good look through it before actually clicking on that publish button though – once you’ve published the start list, it’s a really bad idea to make changes to it.
A note on terminology
Coming from skiing, we’re used to the term “Bib Number” for the number assigned to a racer. However, in cycling the racers have a “plate number” and in triathlon it’s a “body number”. We’ve been gradually updating the terminology we use in our software and our help documents to always use the sport-neutral “racer number” instead of any sport-specific language to avoid any confusion.
Also coming from skiing, we’ve been using “seeding” as the terminology for the order that racer numbers are assigned in. This terminology is foreign to many new racer directors, and with this change we’re moving to the more understandable “Order By” label when choosing how racer numbers are assigned.
You might still see a few references to “bibs” and “seeding”, but they’ll be going away in time.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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
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!”
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.
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!
Zone4 was founded in 2001 by Canadian Olympic cross country skier Dan Roycroft while he was still an athlete. At the time, Dan could see that there was an opportunity to improve timing and online registration in order to allow clubs and organizations to better manage their memberships and events. His mission in 2001 was to offer an inexpensive registration and timing solution that would make life easier for club administrators and event organizers.
18 years later, the Zone4 mission hasn’t changed, and in fact, neither have our fees! For close to two decades Zone4 has been creating world class technology and providing best in class customer support for the same low price. Given the demands for higher levels of customer service, increasing exchange rate costs and the desire to continue to be innovators and leaders in the timing and registration space, we can no longer sustain 2001 pricing in 2019. Moving forward the per-person portion of our processing fee will be increasing by $0.50. Although not a big change, we feel it is enough to allow us to invest in the people and technologies that we need in order to keep offering the best service possible.
Details about our price changes:
The per person cost on a race registration will go from $1.50 to $2.00. This includes the per person cost to use the Zone4 timing software.
The per person cost on any other registration will go from $1 to $1.50. This cost applies to any registration that will not go on to use the Zone4 timing software.
Note that the credit card percentage fee and the per transaction cost will remain unchanged. For example, on a $200 membership registration for 2 people collecting credit card payments using the Zone4 merchant account, processing fees would be calculated as:
$200 x 3% = $6 (Credit Card Merchant Fee)
Per transaction fee = $1 (Credit Card Merchant Fee)
$1.50 Per person fee x 2 = $3 (Zone4 Fee)
Total Processing fee $10 (vs $9 previously)
As always the credit card companies take the vast majority of fees, so the effect of our increase on your registrants is minimal as a percentage of fees.
The new prices will take effect on all new registration forms going live after February 1, 2019. To maintain budget considerations, registration forms that are already live before this date will remain on their existing rate.
Thank you so much for the many years of support. We can’t do it without you, and we look forward to working with you for many years to come.
Stay in touch with us. Register for the Zone4 newsletter to receive updates on the latest feature releases, customer service offerings, educational material, and general news on what we’re up to.
X Warrior Challenge Calgary- A first ever for Zone4!
At Zone4, we love challenges and we are always looking for the next level we can achieve in the timing World! A few months ago, we received a phone call from the organiser of what is called the X Warrior Challenge events. Right away, I could get the picture in my mind that we were talking about an obstacle course event!
I was so excited! I had participated in similar events in the past and I knew how exciting and fun they are! Right away, I wanted to make it happened for them and offer them the World leading timing that we offer with our active chip timing, GoChip. I knew our system would work perfectly for them but I also knew of the challenges we would face. The two biggest challenges were handing out the chips and collecting them at the end of the race. We were expecting 1600 racers! We had to handout all the chips in only a few hours and limited volunteers and collect all of them at the finish line!
I have to say, it was not the most relaxing day! With only 3 computers and volunteers, we were able to deliver more than 1500 chips to all the competitors in only a few hours with dynamic handout! I was so impressed we pulled it off! And at the end of the day, only 2 chips went missing and we were able to find them later in the week!
Overall it was an amazing event with amazing people! At the end of the day, that is what it comes down to! Having fun and delivering industry-best service and quality timing! We will be doing more of this type of obstacle course in the future! Thank you to X Warrior Challenge for giving us the opportunity to give out a great show out there!
To all the X Warriors out there, have a great summer and get ready for the next event coming up in June!
Wow! What a winter we just had! We certainly kept ourselves busy, and every single event was memorable. As we get started on the summer season here are some of the stories that made the winter special!
XC Skiing events
For 17 years, Zone4 has been the primary online registration and timing provider for most cross country skiing events in Canada. Once again, it was an amazing winter filled with fantastic races and some great success! We were happy to be on site for most of the Norams in the country but we’re especially excited about the National championships in Thunder Bay who were able to time the entire event themselves with remote support. This made us very proud! Cross-Country skiing events are complicated and It proved that we are on the right track with making our products simple to use and eliminate the need for third party timing. We are thankful to be trusted in the country and can’t wait for next season!
Here is a great video we made from our very first event of the season on November 1st 2017 in Canmore.
That was a first for us this winter. Both Revelstoke Mountain Resort and Kicking Horse Mountain Resort reached out to us for timing for their Banked Slalom events. They were both great partnerships and we are excited to do more of these events in the future! Revelstoke was amazing and did all the timing themselves. We were able to send them the gear and give them support over the phone and they had a hugely successful weekend!
Kicking Horse had a very unique course in a bowl at the top of the mountain where there was no cellular service. It was the perfect time for us to get up there and showcase our offline chip timing system while getting to know this sport. We had an amazing time and enjoyed the great atmosphere of the event! On the timing side, it was another hugely successful weekend for us! All the riders were really excited to be able to cross the line and have their times displayed immediately. This made it for a great competition and a lot of fun!
CSC Gopher Attack- Boston Marathon Qualifier, timed the race themselve!
This event was a perfect example of our goal at Zone4. The organizer from the CSC Gopher Attack did an amazing work and they made a beautiful story! Being not satisfied of their previous timing company, the CSC Gopher Attack organizers reachout to us and they were intere sted in saving money and timing the event themselves with the Zone4 Timing System and Zone4 remote support. First we sent them a free test kit for them to get used to the equipment prior to the event.
With practice, they were ready and did it all themselves. They were prepared and needed almost no support from us during the race and had an amazing event! It was artic cold temperature in Regina that day with -20 and a strong wind. Congrats to everyone who braved the cold and the runners who were selected for the 2018 Boston Marathon ! Thank you again CSC Gopher Attack!
First ever snowmobile event
One of the most rad events we have been a part of. The first ever backcountry snowmobile race ever! We were so proud to be part of it! It was organized by local legend Riley Suhan in the middle of the backcountry outside of Golden BC. The format was a team event with teams of 4. We were calculating each teammates lap and also an uphill section. There were awards for the fastest hill climb, fastest lap, and fastest team overall time! Once again, we were completely out of service in the middle of the backcountry. Our GoChip system with the offline server worked perfectly! We were able to rapidly set up the timing points and the chips did the rest of the work! We were able to enjoy the BBQ and joke with the announcer known as mister poz while timing the race! Can’t wait for next season event!