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What Blue Squad Offers Skiers
Blue Squad provides skiers with opportunities for personal growth in the sport of cross country skiing through training and competition. Head coach, Alain Masson, brings years of experience as an athlete and a coach to help Blues Squad members achieve the best results possible. He is assisted in his duties both in Whitehorse and on the road by other dedicated and qualified coaches.
Blue Squad is a year-round program. It's emphasis is on preparing athletes for racing, whether it is at the local, national or the international level.
In the spring, summer and fall the emphasis is on training. During this time there are two to four workouts per week as well as a number of training camps, which are between 2 to 7 days in length. These training camps are open to all Blue Squad athletes and are an important part of the training program.
In the winter, the workouts increase to four to five per week. The focus of the program switches from training to competing. A number of time trials and other competitions are staged to provide all athletes opportunities to qualify for competitive meets outside of the Yukon Territory, including the Besh Cup races in Alaska, Arctic Winter Games, Western Canadian Championships, Canadian National Championships and the World Junior Trials.
Some of the benefits you can expect from being a Blue Squad member are:
- working on mental training which can be applied to your other sports if you are a multi-sport athlete
- learning training principles which apply to other sports as well as skiing
- learning how to train
- improving your technique and fitness and becoming a better skier
- training with all levels of athletes
- participating in training camps
- exposure to competition appropriate to your abilities
What You Need To Become A Blue Squad Athlete
If you are an athlete who has previously participated in the Green Squad or in a similar program, you can expect to see some significant differences if you decide to accept the nomination to the Blue Squad.
Athletes must be able to endure the additional weekly workouts, which can be intensive.
In general, all athletes are expected to:
- be self-motivated
- have a positive attitude
- like training and be interested in racing
- have a keen interest and commitment to cross-country skiing
- be able to follow direction and accept advice
- be sufficiently physically mature to withstand the added hours of training, both weekly and year-round
- be sufficiently mentally mature to work with less supervision and to seek assistance when needed
- be able to care for yourself during training camps. This includes getting up independently, cooking, cleaning and helping out
As well, in the winter months when coaches are traveling to meets outside of the Yukon with other athletes, those athletes who remain cannot be guaranteed to have coaching support therefore it is expected that athletes will be sufficiently mature and motivated to train independently or in small groups.
The Blue Squad welcomes and encourages athletes who are involved in other sports to join the Blue Squad. However, these athletes may need to adjust their goals in skiing to reflect their other training and competitive commitments.
Age Requirement and Fees
The minimum age requirement is 14 years of age. From time to time, thirteen year old skiers are nominated based on their physiological capacity to handle training as well as their level of maturity and ability to look after themselves in camps and during trips. The High Performance Committee makes that decision.
Team fees for the Blue Squad skiers for the 2011-2012 ski season are $900 for skiers living in Whitehorse year round and $500 for skiers based outside of the Yukon.
There are also costs involved for training camps and competitions.
The team fees, as well as travel costs, can be offset by fundraising. Opportunities exist to raise money by fundraising. Furthermore, most ski equipment is available at cost through the team. In the past some athletes have been able to cover most of their team fees and expenses by fundraising.
For most training camps and races, a subsidy may be available through the grant applied for by Cross Country Yukon (CCY) to the Yukon Recreation Advisory Council (YRAC) or through other organizations. Top performing athletes may be eligible to receive High Performance Athlete Assistance funding which can range from $500 to $6000.
Nominations to Blue Squad are done by Cross Country Yukon’s High Performance Committee in the spring each year. The High Performance Committee is a sub committee of Cross Country Yukon which makes recommendations on trip selection criteria, athlete nomination and coaches selection. Skiers are nominated in April each year and they have a month to accept or decline their nomination.
For more information call Alain Masson at 334-9220. Alain is the Head Coach and Sport Coordinator for the Yukon Ski Team program.