Join our 2023-24 Alpine Insurance Alberta World Cup Academy Team
Having started in the spring of 2008, the Academy was an idea born out of a need for something different, a program that catered to athlete’s needs.
15 years have passed, and there have been a lot of changes to how our program has operated since our first year.
Over 100 athletes have passed through our doors as well as many great coaches, volunteers, wax staff and countless other contributors. Every person has helped shape who we are and what we do. Every year we try to take a critical look at how we operate our training centre and look to make changes that we feel represent our athletes’ needs, our community, and to no small part our financial landscape. Not every idea or change is successful, and just like everyone in sport, we keep looking to tweak things to find the ideal balance.
A very big part of our success are our partners, big and small, who have continued to support our Academy program through the pandemic, and without whom we would not be able to provide athlete development programming.
2022-23 has been our busiest and most successful year yet, with 27 athletes in the program, and almost half of them being enrolled in post-secondary educational studies while training with the academy. Over 50% of our athletes qualified to represent Canada on the international stage at FIS Cross Country World Cup Races, FIS Nordic Junior/U23 Cross-Country World Ski Championships , FISU World University Games, IBU Cup Races, and the IBU Junior World Cup. Our athletes have been – and are – racing in Canada, Europe, in the US, and in Asia.
With that being said, a big shout-out and thank you(!) is going to our main partner Nordiq Canada
for continuous funding and support of our national training centre, and to our title partner Alpine Insurance & Financial
for their financial and operational support.
We are very thankful to Basecamp Resorts
for providing us and our athletes with affordable accommodation, Winsport
for sharing their facilities, Grizzly Paw Brewing Company
for their financial support, Lanctôt
for providing affordable clothing and ski equipment to our athletes, and Sauce
, for providing free headwear to our team.
Thank you also to Swix, Brubeck
for their support, and last but not least Skratch Lab
for helping to keep our team hydrated, recovered, and powered up for more sessions to come.
Our highly talented coaching team will stay the same for the 2023/24 season, which will ensure stability and continuous athlete development:
Nikki Gilman – previously our head coach – will have an expanded role as our program director going forward.
Tormod Vatten is our high performance coach. Tormod joined our coaching team two years ago after serving as Head Coach for the Kjelsas Ski Club in Oslo, Norway, the country’s top ranked club at the time. He also spent time coaching in Iceland, gaining valuable international experience. Tormod has been instrumental in helping our academy athletes succeed at the highest international level, and is excited to continue his work.
Jouni Pitkänen has joined our coaching team last year as our Development coach from Finland. He will focus on our Calgary component, training with athletes who are enrolled in post-secondary educational studies. He was part of the Finnish U18 National Team, and has been a coach at the Lapland Sport Academy before coming to Canada.
The program’s success however is ultimately determined by our athletes. The most successful teams are a collective that have strong cultures and shared values and become great because of their support for each other. The current culture of the Academy is one of diversity, inclusion and passion for the sport.
The Academy offers high performance training facilities in two training locations, access to three roller ski treadmills, on-snow training mid/end October through to mid-May, and over 7km of roller ski tracks, and, of course, limitless high altitude adventures.
We are still in the process of updating our program guidelines, so please keep an eye on this page, and please forward this information to anyone who might be interested in joining our program.
Your AIAWCA Team