Long Term Athlete Development

Nordiq Canada has developed a sport-specific Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) model that is consistent with the generic Sport Canada version but customized to our sport and the structure of our sport system. The LTAD concept has become the touchstone against which the relevance and effectiveness of all operations, functions and supporting systems within Nordiq Canada are measured. As such, Nordiq Canada coach and athlete development programs are fully aligned with this new doctrine.

Cross-country skiing’s Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD) model consists of eight stages:

  • Active Start (M, F 0-6) – Develops fundamental movements and links them into play.
  • FUNdamentals (M 6-9, F 6-8) – Builds all fundamental movement skills, overall motor skills and all basic cross-country ski skills.
  • Learn to Train (M 9-12, F 8-11) – Refines basic cross-country ski skills and further develops fundamental movement and fundamental sport skills.
  • Train to Train (M 12-16, F 11-15) – Establishes an aerobic base and develops speed and strength.
  • Learn to Compete (M 16-20+/-, F 15-19+/-) – Develops aerobic capacity and power, sport-specific and individual-specific skills, and self-awareness and independence.
  • Train to Compete (M 20-23+/-, F 19-23+/-) – Optimizes fitness preparation and masters both individual and sport-specific skills
  • Train to Win (M, F 23+/-) – Maximizes preparation for high performance results.
  • Active for Life (M, F any age) – Transitions high performance athletes into a participatory role and encourages everyone – whether competitive or recreational athletes – to remain active for life.

Athlete Development Matrix

The Athlete Development Matrix (ADM) is Nordiq Canada’s athlete development model. It provides specific guidance on how to develop each performance factor at every stage of development, corresponding benchmarks and recommendations for a large number of additional considerations and factors affecting performance. Nordiq Canada’s competition model is also integrated to the Matrix for parents, coaches and club program directors to have a full picture of all the factors to consider when developing athletes.

Competition model

Nordiq Canada’s competition model provides all the sport-specific, LTAD aligned, guidelines per development stages pertaining to racing, from the Active Start to Training To Win stage. Those guidelines include appropriate race distances, race formats, number of races per year and other considerations affecting our athletes’ competitive experience.


Sport Canada’s and CCC sport-specific LTAD materials.