Friday, 26 September 2014

Current Alberta Ski Team Policy - as approved by Cross Country Alberta Board of Directors

In the next couple of months, the Technical Committee of Cross Country Alberta will create the Alberta Ski Team and Alberta Development Team (AST) programs for the 2015-16 competitive season.  The Technical Committee is made of the following voting members: Alberta Ski Team Director, Events Director, Youth and Athlete Development Director, and Leadership Director.  As per CCA job descriptions ( ), this work is being led by the Alberta Ski Team Director in consultation with CCA sport manager and coaches and other interested stakeholders.  This blogpost is meant to create some clarity around the current set of policies that will guide the process and provide important guideposts and structural supports for the development of the program.   The AST programs (here referring to both the Alberta Ski Team and the Alberta Development Team programs) need to fit within the current policies and directives as approved by our provincial sport organization's board of directors.  These documents can be found at by contacting

As a starting place in the process of designing the 2015-16 CCA AST programs, it is good to be familiar with the policies that will guide the work.  Here is a summary of the relevant pieces of CCA AST policy:

What age groups is the AST aiming to serve? (policy 4.4.1) - this policy directive informs stakeholders that the AST program aim to 'support competitive athletes aged 17-23...who are in pursuit of excellence"

What will be provided to AST athletes? (policy 4.4.1) this policy goes on to describe the type of educational experiences that CCA will ensure provision of  ' support the athletes' education focused on technical, sport science, training, and competitive preparation'.'

Furthermore, CCA policy describes a level of quality of these programs (policy 4.4.2) '...ensure provision of competitive opportunities that will prepare athletes for national and international cross country skiing'

What is the purpose of AST program? (policy 4.4.2) this policy descibes as one of the aims to'...identify and recognize athletes who aspire to CCC programs ... education focused on technical, sport science, training, and competitive preparation... to encourage long term  participation in competitive cross country skiing... to develop understandings about the demands of becoming a 24 hour athlete who would participate in nationally administered athlete development programs.'

What are the directives of CCA in developing and administering the AST program?
 (policy 4.4.2)  The directives describe the actions that CCA will take to ensure a quality AST program.  The directives include '...sustainability..consistency...communication with club coaches and CCC coaches...alignment with CCC annually allocate resources to facilitate a quality program.

What process will be used to create the AST programs? (policy 4.4.2) This policy describes the process that CCA will use annually to create the AST programs.  These processes include: '...the AST Committee, in consultation with clubs, coaches, CCA staff, CCC/CODA (winsport) will develop the AST program'

How will CCA ensure that the selection process will be fair? (policy 4.4.3)  This policy lays out important procedures to ensure fair selection opportunities.  '...athletes will have an equal opportunity to attend selection races...the selection process will be published by Aug 31 of each year for that upcoming selection year.'

What characteristics of athletes are required for them to be eligible to be selected to AST programs? (policy  This policy provides descriptors of eligible athletes.  '...Alberta resident.'  This policy also describes what obligations are present of selected atheltes.  '...athletes must sign a contract.'  This policy also describes what happens if an athletes decides not to accept or withdraw from AST program.

What appeal procedures are in place in the event that an athlete feels that they should have been selected to the AST programs but were not selected? (policy  This policy describes the appeal process.

It becomes evident that CCA AST policies provide details about what the AST programs are all about.  Having an understanding of what those policies are, are an important first step in designing the 2015-16 AST programs.

Consultation with clubs and coaches is an important piece of the work of designing the 2015-16 AST programs.  As the AST Director, and the person responsible for leading this work, it is my goal that the AST programs for 2015-16 reflect both CCA policy and the expressed needs of clubs across the province.  In the next couple of weeks, you can expect to be invited to some form of consultation.  I encourage you to participate in this important work so that we can ensure that the 2015-16 AST programs reflect what is important to the members of our provincial sport organization.  If there are things that are very important for you to share, I encourage you to contact me at

I want to hear from you.

I was very pleased to have had the chance to talk with club coaches from 18 clubs from all corners of Alberta over July and August, 2014.  It gave me a good sense of the vibe and priorities of clubs across the province.  It was somewhat surprising to me the consistency between the priorities of many, many clubs, small, large, urban, or rural, with volunteer coaches or professional coaches - there was alot of consistency in the messages that were shared.

I'd like to thank so many of you who took the time to respond to the coach's survey that I distributed in early september.  The results are found at

The results show strong consensus about a number of ideas that will be used to guide the creation of both the selection criteria and the 2015-16 AST programs.

I look forward to continued dialogue with the goal of creating strong, meaningful Alberta Ski Team programs that reflect the expressed needs of AB xc ski clubs and CCA policy.

2014-16 AST Director
Canmore, AB

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