National Team / Falls Creek Partnership Extended To 2016

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This weekend two-time Winter Olympian Esther Bottomley together with fellow Sochi 2014 hopefuls Callum Watson, Phillip Bellingham, Aimee Watson and Paul Kovacs take to the World Cup stage for the first time this season in Davos, Switzerland. As the athletes and coaches undergo their final preparation Ski & Snowboard Australia is pleased to announce that the Falls Creek ski resort has extended their partnership with the Cross Country Skiing National Team for another three years.

Australia could potentially have four cross country skiing athletes competing in Sochi, with Aimee Watson taking a step up in early season races to be on the edge of securing the second female quota place.  Two male quota places are already confirmed, with the two best performing athletes on World Cup to take the spots. The full Australian Winter Olympic Team for Russia will be confirmed in 2014 following the end of the selection/qualification period on January 19.

“The athletes are motivated and ready to put in the final push for Sochi,” said World Cup Coach August Teague from the USA, who doubles up as the Falls Creek Training Centre Coach during the Australian winter. “We had a great on-snow training block from July to September, the athletes are in good shape now and we’re looking forward to hitting the World Cup this weekend.”

Falls Creek has been the home of the National Team since 2004. In addition to providing financial support for the National Team and a training base for the Australian winter, Falls Creek works closely with team staff and athletes to improve cross country skiing facilities and to promote the resort as a year-round altitude training and outdoor destination. Falls Creek’s credentials as an international training location were reinforced this winter by the return for the second year in a row of a Russian Team including Alexander Legkov and Ilya Chernousov, two of Russia’s medal contenders for Sochi. Legkov was ranked #1 distance skier in the world for 2012/2013, and both Legkov and Chernousov made it to the podium in the World Cup test event in Sochi last February.

“Falls Creek is proud to be part of the vibrant community that is producing these great athletes and Australian ambassadors,” said David Herman, Falls Creek Resort Management CEO.  “We look forward to continuing to grow the sport and to promote all of our alpine activities in partnership with SSA. “

World Cup and Winter Olympics are not the only focus for the National Team in the approaching northern winter. Other major events for the 2014 season include the World Junior and U23 Championship at the end of January, and the World University Winter Games (WUWG) which also start this week in Val di Fiemme in Italy. The Junior/U23 Teams will be led by the Coach/Manager combination of Nick and Lescinska Grimmer, while Ewan Watson is the Head Cross Country Skiing Coach for the WUWG. The official team for the WUWG is listed below; teams for the World Junior/U23 Championships will be announced in January.

To follow the National Team throughout the winter go to www.ausxc.com or follow the team on Facebook or via Twitter @AUS_XC or #AUSXC

Australian Team for Davos World Cup
Esther Bottomley (Mt Beauty, Birkebeiner Nordic Ski Club)
Callum Watson (Dalgety, Cooma Ski Club, NSW XC Ski Team)
Phillip Bellingham (Mt Beauty, Birkebeiner Nordic Ski Club)
Aimee Watson (Barooga, Cooma Ski Club, NSW XC Ski Team)
Paul Kovacs (Porepunkah, Birkebeiner Nordic Ski Club)

World University Winter Games Team
Callum Watson (Dalgety, Cooma Ski Club, NSW XC Ski Team)
Phillip Bellingham (Mt Beauty, Birkebeiner Nordic Ski Club)
Paul Kovacs (Porepunkah, Birkebeiner Nordic Ski Club)
Nick Montgomery (Armadale, Birkebeiner Nordic Ski Club)
Casey Wright ( Launching Place, Birkebeiner Nordic Ski Club)
Ashleigh Spittle (Melbourne, Birkebeiner Nordic Ski Club)
Jackson Bursill ( Canberra/Sydney, NSW XC Ski Team)
Ellie Phillips (Melbourne)

Preliminary World Junior/U23 Team (qualified athletes)
U23 Athletes
Phillip Bellingham (Mt Beauty, Birkebeiner Nordic Ski Club)
Nick Montgomery (Melbourne, Birkebeiner Nordic Ski Club)
Jackson Bursill ( Canberra/Sydney, NSW XC Ski Team)
Alasdair Tutt (Wangaratta, Birkebeiner Nordic Ski Club)
Junior Athletes
Anna Trnka (Mt Beauty, Birkebeiner Nordic Ski Club)
Xanthea Dewez (Wangaratta, Wangaratta Ski Club)
Damon Morton (Marlo, Boonoona Ski Club, NSW XC Ski Team)
Casey Wright ( Launching Place, Birkebeiner Nordic Ski Club)
Hamish Roberts (Canberra, NSW XC Ski Team)
Lucy Glanville (Sydney, Boonoona Ski Club, NSW XC Ski Team)
Daniel Walker (Sydney, NSW XC Ski Team)

Coaches
Finn Marsland (Canberra, Head Coach / High Performance Manager)
August Teague (Truckee USA, World Cup Coach)
Nick Grimmer (Yackandandah, World Junior/U23 Coach)
Lescisnka Grimmer (Yackandandah, World Junior/U23 Manager)
Ewan Watson (Melbourne, World Universiade Winter Games Coach)

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