.: Ski XCOttawa.ca :: Skiing in Ottawa and Gatineau Park

XCOttawa 2011/2012
By:  Team XCOttawa   (2007/04/05)

A couple of years ago, we provided a review of XC Ottawa and its history which gives a bit of a background on our team.† We are looking for talented, committed, and determined athletes for our team. Application forms will be available on our web site in early April . The team will be selected by a committee including one outside representative, two current team members, and the XC Ottawa Head Coach.

As background, here is our current mission statement and goals:

XC Ottawa is an elite racing team developed to help athletes achieve their goals and to promote cross-country skiing. We are committed to integrity, sportsmanship, and team success. XC Ottawa is a non-profit, athlete-driven initiative.

Our Mission is to develop athletes for national and international competitions, to help make Ottawa a training area of choice for elite cross-country ski racers, to promote active lifestyles and contribute to the overall growth of cross-country skiing.

Since the teamís inception in 2001, XC Ottawa has gained respect and recognition through top performances and contributions to the ski community.

For the 2012-13 season, we have several specific goals relating to the organization of our team:

  1. Provide coaching/waxing support to all NorAm level (World Junior/U23 Trials, World Cup Trials, NorAms, National Championships etc) races at which XC Ottawa team-members wish to participate. In other words, if you are part of XC Ottawa, and you plan to be at a major race, we will do everything possible to make sure that coaching/waxing support is available, no matter how many members of the team are going.

  2. Provide an optimal environment for the development of University-age and older skiers. If you are a committed racer and are considering Ottawa as a place to continue training seriously we invite and encourage you to apply to our team. Our policy for the coming season will be to consider applications from people who are old enough to be attending first year University or the equivalent. Nobody who is part of the XC Ottawa Racing Team will be required to be part of the XC Ottawa club. Being a member of the XC Ottawa club will remain possible for those who choose.

  3. Significantly increase financial support available to team members. It will be a major focus of the organization to make significant fund-raising gains. These will be used to assist with travel expenses for team members and the coach.

Why choose XC Ottawa?

There are many good reasons for choosing XC Ottawa as an excellent environment for developing into a top-level skier.


XC Ottawa offers year round service from a qualified coach. In addition to individualized training plans and feedback, the coach is present at two group sessions per week during the months of June, July, and August, and 3 group sessions per week during September through March. A team size limited to 14 ensures that each athlete gets required individual attention.

Team Environment

XC Ottawa believes strongly in the benefits of training together and from learning from every team member's experience. Among our athletes are skiers that have competed at the highest international level, and many athletes with decades of high-level racing and training experience.

Technical Support

The XC Ottawa coach provides advice with equipment, as well as waxing services at all major races. XC Ottawa has strong relationships with various companies in the ski industry and is able to provide assistance negotiating sponsorship contracts, etc. While some companies support the team as a whole, other arrangements are made on a skier-by-skier basis.


The Ottawa area is an excellent location for training for cross-country skiing and is also home to a vast array of school and employment opportunities.

With respect to skiing, XC Ottawa trains at both Nakkertok (www.nakkertok.ca) and Gatineau Park. Nakkertok is fast developing into an extremely important racing and training facility for the Ottawa area. Nakkertok has about 15kms of regularly groomed racing trails and a 3km lighted trail. Nakkertok is located roughly 20 minute drive from downtown Ottawa in Cantley, Quebec.

Gatineau Park is one of the finest cross-country skiing destinations in all of Canada. Gatineau Park has roughly 180kms of both groomed and wilderness trails. Driving time from downtown Ottawa varies from between 10 and 25 minutes depending on exactly which location you are going to.

Frequently asked questions

How fast do you have to be to be a member of XC Ottawa?

Generally speaking, XC Ottawa athletes are expected to be competitive at National level races including NorAms, major selection races, and the National Championships in the OPEN category. To a degree, our selections are determined each year by the team-size limit, which has been in the area of 10-14 athletes.

While individual ski racing ability might vary considerably, everyone is expected to commit to serious training and racing. Team members are expected to follow a year-round training program for cross-country skiing, attend practices regularly, and compete frequently at major races as outlined above. More specific selection criteria for this year will be made public when applications become available in April.

Being a good skier, however, is only part of the story at XC Ottawa. All members are expected to make a significant contribution to the organization ( For example: sponsorship relations, website duties, ski community volunteering, etc.) If you have a special skill that would be of value to us, we would like to know about it.

Potential XC Ottawa/Carleton skiers.

XC Ottawa and the Carleton University Nordic Ski Team enjoy an excellent relationship and we have certainly had many athletes who have competed very successfully while being members of both teams. There are, however, several important things to keep in mind while you are considering being a member of both teams.

XC Ottawa is an elite racing team and our mission to compete at the highest level in Canada and beyond, as well as to develop up and coming racers to race at that level. The main focus of our racing schedule is the NorAm series and the National Championships. We do attend Quebec and Ontario Cups occasionally, but these races are of secondary importance for our team. Our organized team training sessions run throughout the summer (2 times/week), the fall (3 times/week) and winter (2 times/week and on weekends when there are no races). We expect team members to be training specifically for cross country skiing year round and to attend roughly 2/3 of our training sessions while they are in Ottawa. Our coach, John Suuronen, designs training plans with input from the racers and also keeps tabs on us using Ilog.

The Carleton University team competes primarily on the University calendar including OU qualifiers, OU's and usually, the Nationals. They practice during the fall and winter only, usually about 3 times per week. Our current XC Ottawa/Carleton team members generally attend our practices and follow XC Ottawa training plans. They attend Carleton practices on days when we do not have organized workouts. It is particularly important that these skiers do not start compromising their overall training plans by doing things like performing workouts that were not prescribed, particularly ones involving high intensities. Carleton's strength workouts have been popular with dual team members as well as technique sessions and sprints. As for uniforms, they wear the Carleton suit for the University races and relays and the XC Ottawa suit for everything else.

It is important that you consider whether being on both teams is the right arrangement for you. This really depends on your goals as a skier. If your plan is to compete mainly in the university race, racing uniquely for the Carleton team is probably the best choice. If you would like to race at NorAms and are interested in making a real priority out of ski racing, you will probably find that XC Ottawa is a better fit. XC Ottawa and Carleton co-operate relatively well with each other, though they usually work separately at races.

Another consideration is that XC Ottawa will require you to make a measurable contribution to the organization. We expect athletes to put a significant amount of time back into the team - through specific tasks such as organizing trips, finding sponsors, coordinating practices etc., and broadly, through being a responsible member of the ski community. Potential applicants should consider whether or not they are prepared to make this commitment.

How much does it cost?

Ski racing is expensive, and XC Ottawa does its utmost to keep costs low. That being said, we donít have, at this point, significant funds available to pay athletes any kind of salary or to subsidize trips.

Our membership fee is $750, which covers coaching services (including the coachís travel expenses) and race waxing.

You will be expected to purchase about $300 worth of personal wax during your first year with the team, and about $100 per year in subsequent years.

After that individual athletes look after their own expenses with respect to travel etc.

Interesting Reading. . .
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