NSCF FXC Comp & Comp/Bridge
Program Information (U16/18/20)
The NSCF-FXC Comp Team provides training opportunities for high school and post-graduate (i.e. college-age) skiers throughout the year.
Please note the early registration deadline for year-round programs is April 27, 2020! Deadline for initial review of scholarship applications is April 30!
The program is built around high school skiers who are looking for a full-service junior ski program. The program provides year-round training opportunities for skiers with goals that range from making the varsity team at their high school, to success on a world stage. The program is designed to work in conjunction with local high school ski programs, so skiers are provided with year-round continuity in their training and are also able to a be an intrinsic part of the local skiing community. Regular workouts throughout the year provide the opportunity to develop fitness and improve technique. In addition, ancillary aspects of skiing, such as individual goal-setting, training planning and review, physical testing, and assistance with ski selection and preparation are all part of the program. Opportunities for training camps and competition trips are provided during both the summer and winter season.
The Comp Team is built around a year-round training program, but within that program there are a variety of options that appeal to skiers for various reasons. Below are descriptions of a few of the more popular ones.
- Comp Team Year-Round: Year-round training provides the support, continuity and structure for skiers looking to get the most out of their involvement in the sport of cross country skiing. Thus, this set-up provides the core structure for Comp Team training. This program includes year-round coaching and multiple weekly training sessions on a schedule that varies by time of year, plus individual follow-up for goal meetings, training review, personalized strength training program, assistance with ski selection, support at Besh Cup races, etc. This is a full-service, year-round junior ski training program. See the seasonal options below for details on the training schedule as it varies by season (this option includes all options below).
- Comp Team Bridge Summer and October thru Winter: Formerly the U16 year-round program. This is our year-round option for skiers that are better fit by the Comp Team Bridge Summer program – typically these are skiers entering high school or those who have been in high school and are starting their first summer of ski training (particularly roller skiing). We encourage U16 skiers to compete in complementary sports at this age, so this program includes a break during the fall during the high school XC Running season. This program meets at different times in the summer than the full time program (see Comp Team Bridge), but at the same time during the school year. This program includes individual goal meetings, individualized strength training plan, training review, etc.
- Comp Team Summer Full-Time: This is essentially the same as the year round program, only for just the duration of the summer. Access to all training sessions (seven in a typical week), individual goal setting and training planning meetings, personalized strength training program, training follow-up, and training log review are all part of the program. A typical training week includes: Monday 8-10 AM Intervals, 6:30-8 PM Strength and game; Tuesday 8-10 AM Rollerski distance; Thursday 8-10 AM Speed training, 6-8 PM Intervals; Friday 8-10 AM Strength and distance or game; Saturday overdistance run/hike adventure.
- Comp Team Bridge Summer Program: Designed for the skier who is looking to step up their dryland training for skiing to new levels. This includes both high school skiers who are relatively new to dryland training (particularly rollerskiing) and Prep Team skiers who are transitioning into high school. The goal of this program is to give skiers an optimal foundation of skills and fitness before transitioning to the full-time Comp Team summer program. As such, skiers should expect to spend 1 to 2 years in this program before transitioning to the next level. Access to all training sessions (4 to 5 in a typical week), individual goal setting and training planning meetings, personalized strength training program, training follow-up, and training log review are all part of the program. A typical training week includes: Monday 5-7 PM Strength and game or speed; Tuesday 6-7:30 or 8 PM intervals or distance; Wednesday 5-6:30/7 PM Distance or Intervals; Friday 5-6:30 PM Strength and game or run; Saturday overdistance run/hike or bike adventure two to three times per month.
- Fall Full-Time: Meets for the first four full weeks of the school year until we take a two-week (program-wide) break from training in the end of September. Because many of our skiers run high school cross country, group size is often very small during these sessions, allowing for excellent coach to athlete ratio to make significant gains in fitness and technique. There are typically six training sessions each week: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 3 to 5 PM, Saturday 8-10 or 9-11 AM and 4-5 PM, and Sunday 1-4:30 PM.
- Fall Runner Supplement: Designed for the high school cross country runner as a way to sustain their ski training through the fall running season (program meets for the first four full weeks of the school year). Training includes Wednesday evening rollerski sessions 6-7 PM (or as earlier as works around high school running practice times), Saturday strength training 4-5 PM, and a Sunday rollerski session from 1-3 PM.
- Fall/Winter Transition: Meets between high school running and skiing season covering the transition to on-snow training. Practices: Monday thru Thursday and most Fridays from 3 to 5 PM. Saturdays 9-11 AM and 4-5 or 6 PM. Sundays 1 to 4 PM. Additional sessions may be held during days off from school.
- Winter: The winter training program includes training from November thru early to Mid-April and support at all Besh Cup races. Program training times are built around the high school schedule. A typical week during the high school season (November to February) includes sessions from 5-6 PM on Tuesday and Thursday, Saturday afternoons, and Sunday from 12-3 PM. Additional training sessions may be added when there is time off from school. The training program after the high school season (March and April) resembles the Full-Time Fall program, although weekends often include races or other events.
There is an organizational meeting for parents at the beginning of each winter season in early November, as well as one in May for the dryland season.
Training Times and Locations
Training times and locations for the Comp Team vary widely through the year, but we endeavor to provide a wide-range of opportunities to fit the diverse needs and goals of skiers involved in this program. During the school year, training sessions are scheduled after school and on weekends in a manner that avoids conflict with high school ski teams.
It is rare that we cancel a practice due to weather. However, it is not uncommon that we will alter practice plans – sometimes on very short notice – due to conditions such as extreme cold, smoke, or anything else that could affect safety or long-term health. It is essential that skiers are prepared for changes (i.e. bring running shoes) each day to practice.
It is no secret that consistent practice is essential to improving technique, fitness, and knowledge in skiing. However, we recognize the value in maintaining balance in life and that skiers will have to miss practice at times due to school work, music lessons, family commitments, etc. We believe it is up to each individual and their family to find the right balance for them. As such, the NSCF-FXC race teams do not have a required attendance policy. As part of our goal-setting process, we aim to help Comp Team athletes establish how much training is appropriate and consistent with their goals.
The Comp Team is coached by the NSCF’s certified professional coaches.
- Skiers are expected to abide by the Comp Team code of conduct which is signed by both the skier and parent before training with the team.
- Skiers must have the skiing skills, physical fitness, and desire to keep up with the group or a subgroup during training in order to assure safety of all members. Modified training programs can be established on a case-by-case basis.
- Skis: Skiers should have at least two pairs of skate and two pairs of classic skis. One pair for each technique should be for games or marginal conditions where damage could occur to the ski, and at least one better pair in each technique should be reserved for races and training in good conditions. U18 and older Comp Team skiers who are aiming to be competitive on a national level should strongly consider developing their ski ‘quiver’ to include multiple pairs of racing skis that are optimized for certain snow conditions.
- Boots: Skiers should have one pair of classic and one pair of skate boots.
- Poles: Skiers should have one pair of poles for classic and one pair of poles for skate technique, as well as a pair of dryland poles for ski-walking and bounding. Skate poles should come up to the lips, classic poles should come up to the tip of the shoulder, and dryland poles should ideally come up to the middle of the chest. Special tips for your skate and classic poles are essential for effective rollerski training and can be purchased from local retailers.
- Clothing: Skiers should come to practice with appropriate clothing for training in the day’s conditions. In winter time this means adequate clothing and layers for skiing in subzero temperatures for extended periods or completing multiple practices in a day.
- Mountain Bike: The Comp Team Bridge Program uses mountain bikes once every week or two to add in athletic variety, to develop leg strength, balance, and coordination. Skiers should have a mountain bike that is in good working order. We recommend purchasing a mountain bike from a reputable bike shop in town as those bikes are typically assembled with greater care and knowledge and are built with components that are able to last through the rigors of trail riding. Be sure you bike is in good working order with shifting gears, functional brakes, and tires that hold air well in advance of the first session so you can get a tune up if needed.
- Other: Skiers should bring a training bag with them to practice which should always include running shoes, water, and a snack, as well as a change of clothing for after practice. Good recovery and good health are essential for success on the snow! Skiers should also obtain roller skis, ideally one pair each of skate and classic. A team rollerski order is organized early each May.
The NSCF’s junior racing programs view competition as an opportunity to apply the skills one has learned during training, much like a test in school or a recital for a dance class or a concert for a music group.
At this level, we feel 15-30 races is an appropriate number over the course of a ski season.
The Comp Team provides waxing support at Besh Cups, Senior Nationals, and local races where skiers are not supported by their high school team.
Special Events and Activities
- Training Camps: Traditionally, we run team training camps in Southcentral Alaska each summer and Christmas break. These provide an opportunity for skiers to learn to live and function in a group of their peers, while devoting themselves to their ski training for a week.
- Racing Trips: We organize various racing trips during the winter, depending on schedules and interest. Frequently this is a trip to the Senior National Championships, but, depending on group interest, may also include other options such as spring trips to Europe, ‘spring series’ races in North America, or to other Alaskan races. Skiers are responsible for securing their own transport to Besh Cup races, although we encourage athletes to stay at the team hotel to simplify pre-race waxing and organization.
How Can Parents Help?
A significant level of funding for the FXC program comes from various fundraising efforts. As such, we ask all families in the program to volunteer for our various fundraising efforts when they are available, and we ask each family that has been involved in the program for a year or more to take a leadership role in a fundraiser or other task that helps the program. Further details are available at semi-annual organizational meetings.
Cost and Refund Policy
Please see the 2019-2020 Comp and Comp Bridge Application for up to date information on cost and refund policy.