Long-term Athlete Development (LTAD)

We like to think of cross-country and para-nordic skiing as Canada’s “sport for life”. It’s the top outdoor sport for fun, health and fitness for people of all ages and abilities. Whether you’re a weekend skier or a competitive masters skier, our nation-wide network of Divisions and clubs provide the leadership, support and resources to make sure you find your own greatness in the sport.

A lifelong model

LTAD is an inclusive model that encourages all individuals to be involved in lifelong physical activity. It emphasizes the need for all children, particularly those who have the capacity and interest to become elite athletes, to be given a solid foundation in physical, technical, tactical and mental capacities.

Eight key stages

Each stage of Nordiq Canada’s LTAD model reflects a different point in athlete development. The first three stages encourage physical literacy and sport experiences for all, while the next four stages are more focused on development and competitive excellence. The final or overarching stage encourages lifelong physical activity and informed, healthy lifestyle choices.

1. Active Start (0-5)

Develops fundamental movements and links them into play. (Bunny Rabbits)

2. FUNdamentals (6-9)

Builds all fundamental movement skills, overall motor skills and all basic cross-country ski skills. (Jack Rabbit)

3. Learn to Train (10-12)

Refines basic cross-country ski skills and further develops fundamental movement and fundamental sport skills. (Track Attack)

4. Train to Train (11-16)

Establishes an aerobic base and develops speed and strength.

5. Learn to Compete (15-20)

Develops aerobic capacity and power, sport-specific and individual-specific skills, and self-awareness and independence.

6. Train to Compete (20-23)

Optimizes fitness preparation and masters both individual and sport-specific skills.

7. Train to Win (23 +)

Maximizes preparation for high performance results.

8. Active for Life (any age)

Transitions high performance athletes into a participatory role and encourages everyone – whether competitive or recreational athletes – to remain active for life.

Our Competition Model

The Nordiq Canada Competition Model reflects the optimal development of an athlete from Active Start through to the Training to Win stage. The guidelines are based on typical athletes of the corresponding age ranges. Athletes, coaches and parents should take into consideration each athlete’s specific needs and actual stage of development in determining appropriate competition levels. Find the Competition Model in the Document Centre.