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November 16 - Plans for the Summer

March 30 - Jobs at Falls Creek

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Summer 2006 Updates

March 30 - Jobs at Falls Creek

Interested in working at the snow this winter? The YMCA Windy Corner Nordic Centre at Falls Creek is looking to fill the following jobs this season:

Cross Country Ski School/Hire Café Manager
This role will manage the YMCA Windy Corner ski school facility, ski hire & café. Applicants must have previous experience with ski school & ski hire. An APSI instructor qualification is desireable. This is a temporary 4 month position commencing June 1, 2007 until September 23, 2007 (finish time may change pending 2007 snow conditions).

Cross Country Ski School/Hire Instructor
This roles includes ski hire assistance & café support. Applicants must have previous experience with cross country ski instruction & ski hire. APSI instructor qualification is desireable. This is a temporary 4 month position commencing 7th June 2007 until 23rd September 2007 (finish time may change pending 2007 snow conditions).

Café Attendant
The successful applicant will have previous experience with café work, food handlerís qualification preferable & have experience in the hospitality industry. We are seeking a friendly personality committed to providing quality service & products. This is a temporary 4 month position commencing 7th June 2007 until 26th September 2007 (finish time may change pending 2007 snow conditions).

For further information contact Brendan Smith on (03) 5758 3228. Applications close 13th April 2007 to Brendan Smith, Howmans Gap Alpine Centre, Bogong High Plains Rd. Falls Creek VIC 3699 or brendan.smith@ymca.org.au .

November 16 - Plans for the Summer

As the attention of the Aus tralian skiing community turns to the northern hemisphere regular news reports of Australian cross country skiers competing overseas will be posted in the 2006/2007 Team Report section on this site. To follow news reports from other nations try the links on the top left section of this page.

To provide a preview of Australian team plans for the coming season, the following report is an edited excerpt from the National Team report published in the recent Spring 2006 edition of Australian Cross Country News:

The Australian Team is shifting focus back onto our developing skiers as we enter this next 4-year cycle leading into the Vancouver Olympics in 2010. A five week Development Tour will be held in Silver Star in Canada from the start of December. Most of the athletes taking part are juniors, with a couple of the younger members of the senior team thrown in for good measure. The main objectives for the period in Silver Star are to improve skiing technique and develop good training routines, with the older athletes also preparing for major international competitions in Europe later on in the season. Jacinta O'Neill and J-C Legras will be joining the Australian Team in Silver Star for the first time as assistant coaches on an international tour, with J-C continuing on to Europe with the team in January.

Most of the senior members of the team will be following individual training programs and competition schedules over the summer. For some examples Paul Murray will be returning to Sweden with new National Team member and Swedish club Falun-Borlange team-mate Leon Spiller; KT Calder will be back in Switzerland again possibly racing for one of the Swiss factory teams; Ben Sim will head back and forth to competitions from his Russian training base with coach Nick Almoukov; and Chris Darlington is taking on a whirl-wind trip to Canada in November to tackle a handful of NORAM Continental Cups. For most of these athletes (and others) the only time they might come together with the rest of the team will be at some of the major competitions covered below.

The 2007 World Championships are in Sapporo in Japan, which will be a new experience for everyone on the team including the coaching staff. At present five athletes - Ben Sim, Paul Murray, Esther Bottomley, KT Calder, and Clare-Louise Brumley - are qualified and intending to compete. Other athletes hoping to qualify include Chris Darlington, Leon Spiller, Duane Butcher, and Andrew Wynd (who is still in Canada training with XC Ottawa). The opening event of the championship, the Classic Sprint, will take place in the Sapporo Dome, which was used (for the England-Argentina match amongst others) during the 2002 FIFA World Cup. The qualifying round for this sprint is in the afternoon before the opening ceremony, with the finals of the Sprint kicking off straight away in the enclosed stadium after the ceremony. Similar to 2005 our aim is to get people into the top 30 at this championship, which for the Sprint means a place in the finals. We expect to field both men's and women's teams in the Team Sprint, however at this stage any entry in the 4-person Relay events seems unlikely. Athletes will start arriving in Japan from February 12, with all the team expected to be into the athlete's village by February 19. The support team is still being finalised, however at minimum the team will have two coaches (Finn Marsland and Nick Almoukov) and one wax technician.

Australian participation in World Cup in the coming season will be quite limited, partly because of financial restraints and also to allow athletes to cut down on travel and have solid training blocks during the season. Ben Sim will compete in the Scandinavian openers in Sweden and Finland in November, then return to Russia with NSWIS coach Nick Almoukov to train through until Christmas. Other Australians will not compete in World Cup until well into the New Year, and no athletes will compete in the inaugural FIS Tour de Ski which has 8 competitions in 10 days. The current plan is for KT Calder to compete in Davos at the start of February; a couple of athletes to head to China prior to Sapporo; and then in March possibly we might have a larger team in the Scandinavian events if form and finances are going well.

The 2007 World Junior and U23 Championships will be in Tarvisio in the north-east corner of Italy. Some athletes are already qualified, with others aiming to make the qualification during the season. This year in addition to the normal FIS point qualification standard set by Ski Australia Cross Country, two international events have been specifically identified as qualifying events. These are the Canadian World Junior/U23 Trials in Rossland in Canada, and the Swiss Championships in Steg in Liechtenstein (yes not a typo, the Swiss Champs are not in Switzerland), all between January 4-14. Our athletes will need to finish within a set percentage of the winners in these races to make the grade. The current plan is for half of the Junior/U23 team to assemble in Tarvisio two weeks before the races start, with the rest of the team to arrive directly after the World University Games. Our competition goals for the WJC are high; the year after the last Winter Olympics we had two athletes make the top 30, and the aim is to get back to that level again.

The World University Winter Games are in Torino, with the cross country events on the Olympic tracks in Pragelato. The Australian Team has a large cross country contingent with seven athletes constituting over half the team. The WUWG has often been a tricky event for Australian cross country athletes, with a high occurrence of illness but also some very good results - including Andrew Mock making the World Championship qualification in 2005. This time we have decided to fully embrace the event and provide coaching support for the entire event; hopefully also with improved medical support through sports physician Larissa Trease we will be more successful with staying healthy than we were during the Olympics back in February. With additional events to the competition schedule - there are now four individual events for men and women - the WUWG should provide good experience and high quality competition for all involved.

It should be noted that financial support for the World Championship Team will be the highest it has been since 1997 and the days of the Australian Ski Institute. Thanks to additional support from Ski & Snowboard Australia, the Towards 2010 project (including substantial fund-raising from the Sundeck Hotel), and increased International Competition Grants from the Australian Olympic Committee, all athletes starting at the championships won't have to put their hands into their pockets to get there. Support staff costs for the international season are underpinned by Falls Creek, without whose support it would have been difficult to have had any program at all in the past few years. Yes, the athletes will still have to cover their training costs and all other competition costs apart from World Cup, which can be up to $5,000-$10,000 each.

Look to the 2006/2007 Team Report section for regular updates from the team training and competing overseas.

XC is the official website of the Skiing Australia Cross Country Committee. It is produced with the assistance of the Australian Sports Commission and the Kangaroo Hoppet. The editor can be contacted via info@hoppet.com.au.