USST Announces XC National Development System

FasterSkierJune 13, 2005




The U.S. Ski Team is proud to present the National Development System for
2006. The 2006 NDS is a system aimed at supporting top athletes, clubs
and coaches in their effort to develop world-class athletes.

Contents of Summary




Residence program?

Future build-out

2006 Projects

How-it-works details




To initiate a development system, which impacts our top-tier development-level

To use the system to create partnerships with development clubs, which will
enhance and expand their programs while simultaneously providing opportunities
for athletes from other programs to plug into the development-level projects
they are managing in conjunction with our current U.S. Ski Team program.

To leverage those partnerships into a broad and common training philosophy,
and to bring information about that philosophy into regional/local clubs.


USSA will use top-level coaches, who are operating top-level clubs, which
include top-level athletes, to manage additional athletes in key projects.

Top-level athletes, as identified by the U.S. Ski Team Development Coordinator,
will be invited to participate in key U.S. Ski team projects. These
(existing) projects are effective for developing World Cup and Continental
Cup competitors, and with additional support staff, can accommodate this dual


The U.S. Ski Team, within the framework of its existing projects and also
including SuperTour and Europa Cup competitions, will provide the additional
staff to accommodate a larger volume of development-level athletes than it
has in its model of the past seasons. This group of athletes will include
members of the U.S. Ski Team from the previous season (women and men), members
of the development team from the past season, and will accommodate additional
athletes, who have been identified as top talents, but who were not accommodated
within the team due to capacity restrictions.

The NDS, at this initial level, will help to enhance club programs where
top athletes are training, and/or help them to expand their programs by relieving
their team budgets of certain project-related expenses.

This cross-club approach will necessitate a common training/competition philosophy
among the clubs, which choose to be a part of the NDS.

This common philosophy will be brought into local and regional clubs by coaches
who are actively engaged in this tier of the NDS through coachesÕ education.
This step is also in the direct interest of the development clubs, who will
aim to develop local/regional skiers who can grow into their own elite-level

Why not a residence program?

Our long-term goal is to re-initiate the residence program for development-level
athletes, as this is a model with which we have seen success in the past.
However, we do not currently have the capacity to fund athletes in a residence
program. With the new occurrence of Òdevelopment clubsÓ, or clubs, which
are focused on high-level development and which have the funding capabilities
to pay athlete expenses at key projects, top athletes will clearly gravitate
toward those clubs, as they are doing now. Therefore, we believe our
best strategy at this moment is to support and enhance those clubs as a first
step, as this will forge a system through which our top athletes can attend
various development projects and operate under a consistent training and competition

Build-out in the future:

The development club level described here is just one level of the NDS, and
is an appropriate and effective first-step given our current resources, both
within the association and within the ski community. Additional levels
are necessary to create what we envision as a complete NDS, which will completely
unlock the potential of cross country development. These additional
levels are:

Residence program — a group of top-level development athletes training
and competing day-to-day with the World Cup skiers and coaches, and with a
dedicated Continental Cup coach and technician.

Regional — project-based opportunities for junior and college skiers,
organized coaches education, development of athletes into development clubs.


Project Date

USST July Camp
July 13 to 27

New Zealand Camp
July 27 to August 21

Lake Placid Camp
Sept 12 to Sept 25

USST Oct Camp
Oct 3 to Oct 25

Fairbanks Camp
Oct 27 to Nov 14

West Yellowstone Camp Nov
21 to Nov 29

Canada World Cup
Dec 8 to Dec 19

Midwest Super Tour
Jan 16 to Feb 6

Feb 28 to Mar 21

How-it-Works Details:

Athletes and coaches shall be recruited for projects by the U.S. Ski Team
Development Coordinator (contact info below).

The Development Coordinator actively recruits coaches into projects.
This necessitates a direct dialogue between the U.S. Ski Team development
coordinator and coaches, athletes and regional directors. This helps
fulfill one goal of the development project and that is forming partnerships
and relationships between the U.S. Ski Team and clubs nationwide and working
together to create future NDS build-out.

The number of athletes invited to a project determines the number of coaches
needed to attend the NLP with the goal of having 3 athletes per coach.

Recruited club coaches are financially supported by the U.S. Ski Association
to attend these projects.

Athletes attend the NLP supported by their club.

Recruited club coaches attend the NLP as guests of the U.S. Ski Team.


The athletes benefit by being able to participate in national level training
opportunities and national and international level competition.

Participating clubs benefit from having a club coach involved and supported
at these projects thus enabling that club to expand their development efforts.
This enhances the NDS partnership.

The club coach benefits by being involved in the NLP — thus gaining
hands-on coaches education.

Because the NLP will be attended by coaches from both National team and other
clubs, clubs can benefit if they have an athlete invited to a NLP but do not
themselves have a coach able to attend that NLP because another coach from
a different club will be in attendance to help care for their athlete.
(athlete to coach ratio will be kept close to 3:1)

This aspect also enables coaches from different clubs to cooperate and communicate
with each other and the National Team staff thus building relationships that
will greatly strengthen the U.S. ski community.

Clubs with athletes and coaches attending National Level Project benefit
as the experience gained by both the coach and the athlete is brought back
to the club.

Other clubs in the region will benefit from the experience gained by coaches
and athletes who have attended National Level Projects as they bring this
experience to their regional and local level projects.

The attending athletes and coaches benefit by training/coaching/competing
with the best athletes in the nation or if the NLP is an international competition,
they benefit by competing with the best athletes in the world who are at the
Junior, U23 or OPA cup level.


Pete Vordenberg

U.S. Ski Team Assistant Coach

U.S. Ski Team Development Coordinator


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