In the past, this was a two-day affair, with the time set in the first half used to set the starting order and lead time of the second day. To liven things up, they've combined the two halves in a single race, with a "pit stop" midway where the racers have a specified area where they change skis and poles with the clock running. I like this idea.
The men's race was further enlivened by a pile up at the start, with a bunch of racers going down in a heap, and one of them breaking his ski and having to change to a fresh one. He somehow managed to come back and finish second to take the silver medal. Longer story here.
They've managed to make cross country skiing more like an auto race. Clever of them.