XC Development

Athlete Development Pipeline

The USSA's "Athlete Development Pipelines" have been a cornerstone in its program design for over a decade.  During that time, pipelines were developed to illustrate how an athlete moves through the USSA competition system, and who is primarily responsible for the development of athletes at those different stages (clubs, divisions, U.S. Ski Team).

This spring, USSA undertook a revision of its pipelines to also illustrate the other factors that influence athlete development at each stage, including training, technical and tactical markers.  This further development of the pipelines places an appropriate emphasis on fun, fitness and fundamentals at each of the various levels, as these are all core factors of recruitment, retention, participation and athlete development.

The pipelines are are intended to define the pace of development, to lead program design both at the club and national level, and to educate stakeholders such as parents and athletes about program design at the local level, through the national team.

Click here for the USSA XC Development Pipeline


Development Pipeline Information:


Points List Information    

USSA Ranking

To start up the Athlete Development Pipeline, you should begin competing in USSA scored events. These events are scored to a USSA National Ranking List which will be used for advancement. And you can monitor your ranking here.



International Ranking (FIS)

As you advance up the pipeline with your USSA points, you may be eligible to participate in international events (including events in the USA) and be scored on the International Ski Federation (FIS) ranking list (alpine, cross country, freestyle, snowboard). Check with your USSA Club coach or divisional contact for more information.


FIS registration is available through USSA.

You can monitor your FIS ranking here.


Team Nomination Criteria

The USSA has developed a systematic athlete advancement plan illustrated in its Athlete Development Pipeline diagram. Once you've started competing at the local level, you'll have an opportunity to advance up through the system through participation in scored events. And, who knows, someday you might make it the Olympics!

Junior Nationals

One of the highlights for athletes ages 14-19 is participation in the USSA Junior Nationals. Athletes qualify through their USSA division to compete in regional or national Junior National competitions.

The Junior Nordic Championships (JI Scandinavian Cup) are an excellent introduction to international championship competition, bringing the best young athletes from the Scandinavian nations and the United States together for an effective development experience.

U23 and Junior Teams

The annual FIS World U23/Junior Championships provide a unique opportunity for the best 15-22 year-olds of the skiing world to compete together. The World Junior Championships are important competitions in the development of future World Cup contenders, and World Cup skiers are usually found on the official entry lists.

World Championship and Olympic Teams

The ultimate in sport is to represent the USA in the World Championships or Olympic Winter Games. Athletes are named to those teams based on objective criteria, generally through FIS ranking and results in international competitions.

The next FIS World Nordic Ski Championships will be held Winter 2013 in Val di Fiemme, ITA.

The next Winter Olympic Games will be held in 2014 in Sochi, RUS.


World Cup Teams


Team Nomination Criteria

The U.S. Ski Team is nominated each year based on objective criteria, generally through FIS ranking and results in international competitions.



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