Alpine-Level 400

The Level 400 coach is the highest domestic coaching designation. Level 400 certification is designed for coaches who are or aspire to be lead coaches in programs, who lead divisional, regional and national development projects, and who are active in elevating the level of ski racing in the United States. The curriculum and requirements for the Level 400 coach require a high level of coaching experience and performance as a coach as well as focused training and a pursuit of specialty knowledge in a subject relative to alpine ski racing. Level 400 coaches are highly competent coaching at any level, with specific expertise in a certain area.

Level 400 pre-requisites:

  • Level 300 certification completed
  • Current USSA coach member in good standing

Application process:

The following must be submitted to USSA Sport Education (email, fax 435.940.2790, mail P.O. Box 100, Park City, UT 84060).

  • A vitae or work history containing racing and coaching experience and education related to coaching position
  • A letter of application stating coach's goals in ski coaching
  • Two letters of recommendation from established coaches

Acceptance into the Level 400 program will be based on candidate qualifications, goals and room within the program. Specific attributes reviewed include:

  • Ability to affect positive change in elite athletes, though may work with primarily with juniors or children
  • Strong leadership
  • Current lead position within club or on track to lead coaching position
  • Creative and innovative approach
  • Divisional/regional involvement through committee participation or divisional/regional/national projects staffing

Candidates will declare a specific area of study (self-study) within one of the following major categories:

  • Elite performance
  • Strength and conditioning
  • Equipment
  • Mental skills training
  • Child development
  • Sport management

Upon acceptance, the Level 400 candidate will begin the Level 400 education path. Applications must be received by April 10 to be considered for the Level 400 track of the Alpine National Coaches Academy for that year.

Level 400 Education Track:

The Level 400 coach is one with breadth and depth of knowledge and experience in alpine ski racing. The breadth will be expanded upon during the Level 400 Coaches Academy track while the depth will be explored during their self-study.

Level 400 Coaches Academy track: Active participation in the Alpine National Coaches Academy Level 400 track, held in late April/early May annually in the western U.S. This weeklong educational event features on-snow and classroom presentations, workshops and group learning with national team staff, USSA high performance staff and additional sport experts. This track is separate from the Level 300 track, but is held concurrently.  More information on that event here.

Self-study: Within one of the self-study areas above, the candidate will work with the USSA Sport Education staff and two additional advisors of the candidate's choosing to define and guide the candidate along a custom learning plan. A specific area of emphasis within the category and specific goals for learning will be identified. An internship, if appropriate, may be included for the candidate to get more in-depth experience and work beside experts in their topic. Outside certification or diplomas may be part of the curriculum, such as NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, USA Weightlifting, PSIA certification, etc.

Level 400 Evaluation:

Upon completion of the educational track, the Level 400 coach candidate will need to demonstrate and share their expertise. Avenues may include:

  • Presentation of self-study findings at divisional, regional or national coach education event
  • Presentation at USSA Club Excellence Conference or Club Education Workshop
  • Presentation at a specialty clinic
  • Written article published in USSA Excellence newsletter coaches section, Ski Racing magazine, or other
  • Video submission for Center of Excellence TV

USSA Sport Education and the self-study advisors will review all work completed and approve the candidate for Level 400 certification or recommend additional study or training.


How long does the program take?

Depending on the self-study track chosen and the prior experience and education of the coach, the Level 400 track could take one season or it could take several years. The self-study advisors and USSA Sport Education staff will set a timeline with the candidate based on their custom learning plan. Some coaches may have completed much of the self-study work prior to applying for the Level 400 program. Others will be starting fresh.

When do I need to apply?

Application can be made at any time. Acceptance is on an annual cycle, concluding on April 10. Applications received after April 10 will need to wait until the following year to be accepted into the Level 400 track at the Alpine National Coaches Academy.

What are the costs involved?

There is no cost to apply for the program. There is a registration fee for the Level 400 track at the Alpine National Coaches Academy. Additional costs may include various certifications, courses, travel, etc. based on the candidates learning plan.

Level 400 Coach

Level 400 coaches are the top coaches in the U.S. with in-depth knowledge and a record of successful skier development.


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