• Alex 50km Lahti Champion
    • Cross-Country Ski de fond Canada Summary of 2016 High Performance Review, Recommendations and Implementation Process

      February 17, 2017

      The Review Process

      In April 2016 CCC and Own the Podium (OTP) agreed to engage in a High Performance Review. The objectives for the review were to:
      1. Provide a 3rd party independent examination of the current high performance structure, systems and programs to determine what is and is not working and what needs to be in place to ensure sustainable future success beyond 2022.
      2. Make recommendations to CCC for building a high-performance structure that will ultimately need to be in place for future success.

      OTP engaged Debbie Muir to perform the review and make specific recommendations. Ms Muir is an internationally respected leader, one of Canada’s greatest coaches and an expert in creating high performance environments where individuals, teams, and organizations achieve their best results.

      Ms Muir sought valuable and broad input from a sizeable cross-section of CCC’s HP community. The review took place from August to September, 2016. The final report was delivered to CCC on November 22, 2016.

      The review process included the following information-gathering activities:
      1. A documentation review, including but not exclusive to Strategic Plan 2018, Business Plan 2016-17, OTP documents, LTAD-CCC, English version of the Norwegian LTAD, organizational charts, and HP leadership roles.
      2. Interviews (in-person and phone) with 30 people with various roles in high-performance programs, including several former and current athletes.
      3. Interviews with key international individuals from Norway and the USA. (Trond Nystad, Tor-Arne Hetland, Chris Grover)
      4. A long-answer survey completed by 15 people.
      5. Several visits to Canmore to discuss the review process with CCC staff.


      To achieve success, the Canadian cross-country ski community must come together and collectively raise the bar on delivering high-performance programs capable of getting every athlete to reach his or her full potential. This requires,
      • working synergistically,
      • long-term commitment from all parties involved in the HP system,
      • starting now.

      The key recommendations, listed below,
      1. Move to a program-based model that aligns coaching and leadership with one of four programs (Olympic Team, Senior National Team, Junior National Team, Club and Coach Development).
      2. Ensure strong support and programming for the 2018 Olympic team.
      3. Reinstate a Junior National Team Program as soon as possible.
      4. Advance and support club and coach development in the context of high performance programming.
      5. Reassess each of the National Development Centres (NDC) and clarify each NDC’s mandate and relationship with CCC.
      6. Assess the current coaching/IST/technical leadership pool to determine strengths and weaknesses and identify what roles need to be filled.


      CCC has accepted the recommendations and overall direction of the report. CCC’s High Performance Director (HPD) is responsible and accountable for developing and executing an implementation plan. A small working group is formed to assist and monitor progress: Jen Tomlinson (Chair, Ontario HPC; CCC Board member), Christine Hicks (HPC), Jake Weaver (HPC), Stephane Barrette (CCC Coach and Athlete Development Director), Libby Burrell (OTP – HP Advisor), Shane Pearsall (CCC – CEO).

      High Level Implementation Plan

      2017 targets: Design the overall HP program structure, assess current competencies, define roles and develop the long-term implementation plan. Initiate the collaborative process and start implementing the junior team program. 2017-18 funding, confirmed in June, will impact what is possible this year.

      2018 and beyond: Implement the new HP program structure, in phases, over the next 6 years.

      Key Principles
      • Get started: we will begin with a small set of specific initiatives that change the direction now.
      • Be collaborative: we will continue to create communities that work together.
      • Be inclusive: we will involve Divisions, NDCs, clubs and coaches, and other partners in planning and implementation.
      • Learn and build: we will add more detail and initiatives as we demonstrate success; we will implement in phases; we will not try to do everything at once.
      • Communicate: we will let the community know where we are, what has changed and how they can help.
      • Be patient: we acknowledge it will take about 8 years to see the positive results of the changes.

      For more details on the High Performance Review and Process, please contact CCC’s High Performance Director, Thomas Holland tholland@cccski.com