Alpine Insurance Alberta World Cup Academy

Full Athlete Development – Join The Academy

Developing, Supporting & Coaching future Olympians and World-class Racers.

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 make changes that we feel represent our athletes’ needs, our community, and to no small part our financial landscape.


Full-time, year-round high performance coaches

World-Class Facilities

On Snow October – April

Roller Ski Treadmill

Extensive Roller Ski Tracks

High Altitude Training

We offer year-round programming  as well as summer programming for athletes training individually or with other clubs / training centres. See all options below

Academy Selection Criteria

Many factors play a role when considering all applications for the Academy training programs.
The application process is fairly competitive, with over 20-30 applications annually.
Decisions are based on Nordiq Canada and Nordiq Alberta guidelines and our mission and vision.


– National team status.
– World Junior Championships, U23 Championships, and World Cup results.
– Trials results.
– Nationals results.
– Nor-am/Supertour results.
– FIS points
– Club coach recommendations.

(This is not an exhaustive list of factors we would consider, but this is where we place priority. If applicants have race results outside this list, internationally or domestically that are of note, they should be included in the application.)

All Academy athletes will have to re-apply for a team spot every two years. This will allow athletes to focus on their development and personal goals, but also keeps the program competitive to allow the team as a whole to train with other athletes whose goals are very much aligned.

Option 1

Full Athlete Program – Canmore based

Weekly programming, designed for athletes pursuing athletic excellence.
Program Length: 11 months, May 2024 – March 2025.
Coaches: Nikki Gilman, Tormod Vatten
Team Fees:
Returning athletes: $5,500 + GST
New Athletes $6,000 + GST
*A portion of NST athletes’ fees are funded by Nordiq Canada.


  • Annual Individual Training Plan including group and individual sessions
    2 – 4 team sessions weekly plus individual sessions
  • Year-Round Program:
    2024 Local Training + Camp Program
    2024-25 Competition Program – individually designed based on goals and objectives
  • Ski fleet testing
  • Daily monitoring using up to date technology
  • Discounted Lululemon summer training clothes
  • Discounted Team Uniform (Swix – Race Suits, Team Jackets, Pants)
  • Sauce team headwear


  • Camp and competition costs (Travel, Accommodation, Food, Shared Cost of Staff Travel)
  • NC/FIS race licence, race registrations, race wax, trail passes
  • Gym membership – Strength planning is done on an individual basis
  • CSI consulting costs for physiological tests, nutrition, psychology, etc.
  • Personal Equipment – we can help source equipment at team pricing

Do not hesitate to reach out if you have questions:

Option 2

TRAIN & STUDY PROGRAM – Calgary based
University of Calgary campus

Weekly programming designed for U20 and U23 athletes pursuing athletic and academic excellence.
Program Length: 11 months, May 2024 – March 2025.
Coach: Jouni Pitkänen
Team Fees:
Returning Athletes: $5,500 + GST
New Athletes $6,000 + GST
Add-on: Transportation Fee (Calgary – Canmore return) $1,000 + GST
*A portion of NST athletes’ fees are funded by Nordiq Canada.

INCLUDED: (in addition to Option 1)

  • Weekly training schedule designed around school schedules (see below).
  • Minimum 3 team sessions per week plus individual sessions:
    2 – 4 sessions in Calgary | 1-2 sessions in Canmore
  • Early access to University of Calgary class registration
  • Administrative help navigating enrolment, classes and exam schedules
  • Team van transportation for local training can be obtained as an add-on, see fees above
  • Use of xc rollers treadmill, located on campus at University of Calgary.


  • Camp and competition costs (travel, accommodation, food, shared cost of staff travel)
  • NC/FIS race licence, race registrations, race wax, trail passes
  • Gym membership – Strength planning is done on an individual basis
  • CSI consulting costs for physiological tests, nutrition, psychology, etc.
  • Personal Equipment – we can help source equipment at team pricing

Our summer program runs from May 20 – August 31, 2024, and includes participation in all team sessions. Fees: $ 1,500 + GST.

Coaching and Consultants

Nikki Gilman – Program Director

Nikki will be leading all athlete program for the 2023 – 24 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 – High Performance Coach

Grew up in Surnadal, Norway
Years with the Academy: 2nd year
Education: BS in Exercise Physiology and MSc in Sports Pedagogy specializing in Cross Country Skiing, PE from Norwegian School of Sports Science.
Coaching Background: 12 years of coaching, with 5 years  full-time, mostly in Kjelsås IL, Oslo, and one year coaching in Iceland.

Coaching Achievements:

– Coached during 5 Junior World Championships
– Eleven athletes in Top 10 Results at World and World Junior Championships


Jouni Pitkänen – Development 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

alberta world cup academy coach
Julia Mehre Ystgaard
Julia Mehre Ystgaard

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!”

Tim Wintoniw – Lead Wax Tech

Originally hailing from Manitoba, and one of the co-founders of Downtown Nordic,  Tim has been a wax tech with AWCA since 2013.  Currently living in Kimberley, British Columbia, Tim has done waxing tours with Biathlon Canada as well as Nordiq Canada.  Most recently Tim was one of the commentators for the 2023 FIS Jr and U23 World Championships.

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.


University of Calgary Sports Medicine 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.

Do not hesitate to reach out if you have questions: or 

Academy Partners & Sponsors


Cross Country Alberta


Alpine Insurance
Alpine Insurance
The Grizzly Paw Brewing Company
Rundle Nordic Logo


Rundle Nordic Logo
lululemon logo