WinSport’s Snow School Continuum – LTAD approach to developing snow lovers

If your child plays hockey or swims, most parents would agree the sport system is relatively easy to navigate as there is a defined system or path for parents to follow. The levels are progressive and instructors often refer you to the next level.

However, other sport systems are challenging. Skiing and snowboarding programming has no governing body that clearly defines the levels and progression.

Each resort sets the progression levels and does their best to build a progressive scale that outlines pre-requisites and the skills that your child will learn in each class.

WinSport creating a clearly defined path of progression for skiers and snowboarders

WinSport has tapped into their sport scientists to build snow school levels to meet the age and physical development of children. The system is rooted in the Long-term athlete development model (LTAD).
WinSport has tapped into their sport scientists to build snow school levels to meet the age and physical development of children. The system is rooted in the Long-term athlete development model (LTAD).

The LTAD is a sport framework that is designed to ensure children – beginning before puberty – do the right things at the right time in sport activities to develop a life-long love for sport and successfully participate at elite levels, if they choose to do so.

Snow School at WinSport is quite simple to understand. Our website displays the levels outlined by age. It indicates the skill set your child needs to have so you can place them in the appropriate level. If you need help, our guest services staff is available to guide you through this process. Even if your child is placed in the wrong level on the first day of lessons we will quickly place them in the appropriate group. The instructor will check off the prerequisite skills your child has achieved on their progression card which you will find attached to their jacket. At the end of your lessons, we encourage our instructors to connect with you and share with you the next steps for your child.

We would love to tell you that progression is linear and your child will move easily from one level to the next. However, that’s not always the case. Your child may need to repeat levels to ensue that they gain the appropriate level of mastery over specific skills. Our priority is twofold – ensuring that your child can navigate the terrain safely and that they have the confidence to perform specific skills.

As a parent your child has progressed through lessons and they love being on snow. Their skill set will certainly improve as they spend more time on snow. It is at this moment that parents seek out more information on what is next. They go online, talk to friends and try to find out how they get their children to the next level.

Progressing to the next level – WinSport Club programs

Parents who have grown up in the sport understand that the next step is either recreational or competitive club programs. Club programs are long-term, ranging between 11 weeks and season-long opportunities. They include multiple sessions per week and your child has a coach instead of an instructor. Our recreational club offerings are different than most clubs.

  • The first type of club is all-mountain. This is rooted in exposing your child to multiple disciplines (alpine & freestyle) so they can determine which discipline works best for them.
  • The second type of club is focused on one specific discipline.

How our clubs differentiate

WinSport clubs are different than other ski teams that you see across the province. Most of these groups are operated by volunteers and do have paid coaches. Our recreational club program is operated by the same leadership team that guides our snow school. We have them linked to ensure the progression and development is rooted in appropriate stages of the LTAD model. We work closely with both provincial and national sport organizations to ensure that we are incorporating the latest progression in each discipline so that your child is learning the latest skills. In addition, we have a training environment where your child can practice specific skills at a specific progressive level. We also search for opportunities to introduce your child to competitions.

The next step: Performance teams

As your child progresses through our system and have a passion and natural aptitude for a discipline, your recreational club coach will take the time to identify them to our performance coaches. Our performance coaches and administration team will have a discussion with you and your child to determine if they would like to move to a competitive level club. If there is an interest and fit, an invite will be extended to your child to join one of these teams.

The performance teams are where we develop the next generation of Olympians. These are year-round programs where your child will take part in dryland training, international training and participate in high-level competitions. We are proud to have had more than two dozen athletes and coaches graduate from the performance teams to national programs.

Our most successful recent graduate, Cassie Sharpe, had an exceptional performance at the Games in PyeongChang, taking home gold in the half-pipe.

We are proud of the progressive LTAD-based system we have built at WinSport because of the foresight from the founders of the 1988 Winter Olympic Games.

Get involved

Let us help you navigate your snow journey. Our team in Guest Services and snow sports are available to connect with you and answer any questions you may have.

We look forward to seeing you on the slopes this winter.

Fore more information, contact our Guest Services team at 403-247-5452 (ext. 4) or visit winsport.ca.