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Full Athlete Development

Together we help athletes chase their dreams.

Alpine Insurance Alberta World Cup Academy

Welcome to the 2022-23 Alpine Insurance Alberta World Cup Academy program.  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.  14 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.

As we turn the page on COVID (fingers crossed), the Academy ventures into new territory and new challenges.  As many know, I am leaving at the end of this year to take on the role of High Performance Director with Nordiq Canada, and we have hired a supremely talented Head Coach, Nikki Gilman, who is originally from Wisconsin, USA, but has previously worked as a coach with Kimberley in BC.

Returning as a high-performance coach, and to maintain consistency in our program’s training philosophy is Tormod Vatten.  Tormod joined our coaching team last spring 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 cemented himself this year as a proven coach who is able to help our country’s best athletes succeed at the highest international level, and is excited to work collaboratively with a new team of coaches.  Currently we are advertising for two coaching positions, and hope to announce the new team in April.

But the program’s success 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 the whole, not a single person. The current culture of the Academy is one of diversity, inclusion and passion for the sport.  Led by a group of veteran athletes yet driven by a core of U23 and U20 skiers, it is this group that gives me the confidence to say that the Academy is only just getting started.

We are not expecting any major changes to our program for next year, but small tweaks as we review what has worked and what can be improved on. But given the opportunities presented in our two training locations, there are many reasons why the Academy is a great place to train; access to 3 rollerski treadmills, on-snow training October 20 thru mid-May, 7.5+ kilometers of rollerski track, and limitless high altitude adventures.

With that said, the following is our updated program guidelines for 2022-23, as we continue to navigate the Academy forward towards 2024 and beyond.  If you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Go Canada!
Chris Jeffries – Former Program Director

Option 1


The Academy Program
Canmore based

All athletes that join one of our programs will have access to our 11-month services, May 2022 to the end of March 2023.

Coaches: Nikki Gilman, Tormod Vatten

Biathlon: Partnership with Biathlon Alberta Training Centre for shooting and race support.

Team Fees: $3,500.  Additional coaching fees for biathletes to BATWC apply, based on shooting needs.

*National Senior Team athletes: discount available please contact the Program Director

Program Includes:

  • Annual Periodized Training Plan
  • 2022 Training Camp Program (see draft below)
  • 2022-23 Competition Program – individually designed based on goals and objectives
  • Customized local training in addition to team camps.  Minimum 2 group sessions per week plus individual opportunities
  • Ski fleet testing
  • Daily monitoring using up to date technology
  • Lululemon summer training clothes
  • Sauce team headwear

Program Excludes:

  • Camp and competition costs: airfare, ground transport, accommodation, food, shared cost of staff travel
  • NC/FIS race licence
  • Race registrations
  • Trail passes
  • Gym membership – note we do not run a team strength program.  Strength planning is done on an individual basis
  • Race wax – approx. $30/race
  • CSI consulting costs for physiological tests, nutrition, psychology, etc.
  • Team clothing by Swix – you will not be required to purchase new clothing year to year, we use clothing on a 4-5 year cycle
  • Personal Equipment – we can help source equipment at team pricing


Do not hesitate to reach out if you have questions:  



Option 2


The Academy Program Calgary based


New in the fall of 2018, this innovative program has brought the training centre model directly to the University of Calgary campus.  If you are a student athlete, this extra program will offer you consistent weekly programming designed for U20 and U23 athletes who are committed to the highest pursuits of both academics and sport.  All athletes that join one of our programs will have access to our 11-month services, May 2022 to the end of March 2023.

Coach: Jouni Pitkänen

Biathlon: Partnership with Biathlon Alberta Training Centre for shooting and biathlon support

Team Fees: $3500. There are additional coaching fees for biathletes BATC based on shooting needs.

*National Senior Team athletes: discount available please contact the Program Director

Program Includes:(in addition to the Academy Program components listed in Option 1)

  • Weekly training schedule designed around school schedules (see below).  Minimum 3 group sessions per week plus individual sessions.
  • First access to University of Calgary class registration
  • Administrative help navigating enrolment, classes and exam schedules
  • Team van transportation for local training can be obtained – cost $1000
  • Use of xc rollers treadmill, located on campus at University of Calgary.

Program start-up:

Local training in Canmore and Calgary are available to athletes May through the end of the season.  Our fall programming will start this year on September 2, 2022.

Calgary Student/Athlete Weekly Program Schedule:

Monday 4:30-6pm – Strength based session
Tuesday 8-9:30am – Technical focus Group 1  4:30-6:00pm
Technical focus Group 2 *depending on class schedules, athletes will be grouped accordingly

Wednesday – Intensity
Thursday – Long distance/biathlon combo Calgary/Canmore based on school schedule
Friday 4-5:30pm – Speed/Distance
Saturday 9-11:00am – Intensity or Distance (in Canmore)
Sunday – Distance on your own

Coaching and Consultants

Nikki Gilman – Head Coach

Nikki will be leading all athlete program for the 2022 – 23 season.  About to embark on her second year with the Academy, Nikki brings a tremendous enthusiasm for athlete development to go along with his wealth of experience.

Hometown: Manitowish Waters, Wisconsin, USA
Years with the Academy: 1st year
Education: BS in Exercise Physiology and BA in Philosophy from The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN.
Coaching Background:Bogus Basin Nordic Team (Boise, ID) Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (Sun Valley, ID) Kimberley Nordic Club (Kimberley, BC).

Tormod Vatten – Coach

Grew up in Surnadal, Norway
Years with the Academy: 2nd year
Education: BS in Exercise Physiology and MSc in Sports Pedagogy, and PE from Norwegian School of Sports Science.
Coaching Background: 12 years of coaching, last five full-time, mostly in Kjelsås IL, Oslo, and one year coaching in Iceland.


Jouni Pitkänen – Coach

Grew up in Toivala, Finland
Years with the Academy: 1st year
Education: BS in Sports Studies, December 2022
Coaching Background: Finnish U18 National Team, University Program Coach at Lapland Sport Academy

Chris Jeffries
Julia Mehre Ystgaard
Julia Mehre Ystgaard
Jess Kryski – Physiologist

Originally working for the CSI Calgary as the lead physiologist for the cross country able and para and biathlon national teams, Jess moved to Revelstoke, BC in 2018 and is continuing to support programs as a consultant.  We feel very fortunate to have Jess as part of our team, providing critical support in developing athlete training programs and supporting our monitoring and testing.  Jess’ experience includes leading programs through the 2014 and 2018 Olympic cycles.

Matt Wiley – Physiotherapist

Former Alberta World Cup Academy member, Matt graduated with a Master’s of Science in Physical Therapy from the University of Alberta after completing an undergraduate degree in kinesiology at the University of Calgary. Originally from the Okanagan, Matt was drawn to the mountains in Alberta to pursue competitive cross-country skiing, staying in Alberta to pursue his education. Matt grew up playing many different sports including volleyball, basketball and tennis. Matt’s experience with a variety of sports anchors his active approach to therapy, combining the right balance of exercise and hands-on manual therapy.

Lahav Wolach – Lead Race Service

Having grown up in the ski hotbed of Israel, Lahav is famous for his attitude that if he can make skis glide on sand, then snow is not a problem.  Lahav started waxing skis for Foothills Nordic and Rocky Mountain Racers as his kids navigated the high-performance system.  With his kids grown up and no longer racing, Lahav’s love of the sport and the challenge waxing provides sees him back working with us and other Canadian international trips.  Best representing the impact he has had on our team can be best summed up by a pre-trip athlete question; “Is Lahav coming…good!”

University of Calgary Sports Medecine Centre

We continue to partner with the University of Calgary Sports Medecine Centre. Athletes attending our program and attending the University of Calgary are provided with timely services when medical concerns arise.

Canadian Sport Institute (CSI) Calgary

As a national team development centre, we are partnered with the CSI in Calgary to help us deliver support via the most up to date sport science in Canada and the world.  All our testing is conducted by the CSI as well as most of our IST services: psychology, nutrition, physiotherapy, osteopathy, sport medicine.  These services can be coordinated by Chris Jeffries on a cost recovery basis.

Judy and Mike Mappin – Canmore Nordic Sport Services

Judy and Mike have been working on and off with the team in the ski service side since the early days of the Academy.  Both are equally passionate about their own training and racing pursuits as they are about fast skis.  With the help of The Grinders in Canmore, Judy and Mike have had a big impact on our team with ski identification and selection, as they help our skiers manage their ski fleets.  This is tireless work that begins in the spring and continues through the early winter season as they help our team make sense of this complex and always changing technical area.

Additional Coaches/Consultants

We are currently reviewing our needs in order to best staff our programs for the 2021-22 season to meet our core objectives; meeting athlete needs and financial sustainability. We will publish an update in late April/early May.

Do not hesitate to reach out if you have questions:  ngilman@albertaworldcup.com or info@albertaworldcup.com 

Academy Partners & Sponsors

Cross Country Alberta
Alpine Insurance
Alberta World Cup Society
The Grizzly Paw Brewing Company
Biathlon Alberta Training Centre