Mass-start cross country ski races is increasing in popularity. Many skiers find themselves in unknown territory when they end up skiing with a small or large group of skiers – a “pack” – during part of, or for the entire race. Here are some suggestions for how to approach pack racing, enjoy the experience and avoid some common mistakes.
It’s less energy demanding to ski behind someone in a race – especially on the flats where the speed is high. The skier in front breaks the wind and energy is conserved by “tucking in” behind the front skier(s). The advantage is greatly reduced in uphills. Skiing behind someone in difficult downhills increases the risk of being taken down or crashing if someone in front or next to you is not a good downhill skier.