Pipelines have been a cornerstone in Alpine program design for over a decade, with the ultimate destination being a member of the U.S. Ski Team. During that time, pipelines were developed to illustrate how an athlete moves through the U.S. Ski & Snowboard competition system, and who is primarily responsible for the development of athletes at those different stages (clubs, regions,, U.S. Ski & Snowboard).
The alpine pipeline is 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 to the national team.
Athlete Pipeline Philosophy And Implementation
- Win at every level of international competition
- Design a clear path for achievement in the sport of alpine ski racing
- Raise the level of achievement in our sport by doing a better job with content and racer management
- Encourage multi-event athlete development
- Integrate the country into one system by empowering clubs, and regions to develop athletes
- Identify the talented coaches and athletes in the country, develop and retain them
- Create an American system that provides sustained success in the sport of alpine ski racing
The U.S. Ski Team is the sport's national team, consisting of A, B, C and D teams nominated annually. The objective of the U.S. Ski Team is to field teams that are capable of national and international success. This success is measured by winning at the Olympic, World Championship, World Cup, World Junior Championship, Europa Cup and NorAm Cup events.
The Development Team or "D Team" operates under the umbrella of the U.S. Ski Team, representing the top of the junior development pipeline. Like the A, B and C teams, the D team is also nominated annually, but D-Team athletes remain under the management of their local club. D-Team programming is designed to provide value-added projects for nominated and invited athletes beyond what clubs and regions can do. The goal of the Development program is to advance athletes to the top of the NorAm Cup and field a team that is "Best in the World" at the World Junior Championships.
The NorAm Cup is the North American continental cup and is the level of alpine competition just below the World Cup. The series is the proving ground for U.S. and Canadian athletes, who compete head-to-head at multiple times through the season for World Junior Championship qualification and World Cup start rights. Top U.S. athletes can also meet U.S. Ski Team criteria for the following season.
The National Performance Series (NPS) is a cornerstone of the national development system. The NPS brings a broad group of the best young athletes together at multiple times during the season for high-quality head-to-head training and racing to stimulate their progress toward elite-level international competition and qualification for the U.S. Ski Team.