Provisional National Teams for 2015-2016

The provisional Cross Country Skiing National Teams for 2015-2016 have been released by SSA XC, the cross country committee of Ski & Snowboard Australia.

Phillip Bellingham and Jessica Yeaton are the sole two athletes invited to the World Cup Team based on their results over the past twelve months, with Callum Watson, Aimee Watson, and Paul Kovacs invited to join the Continental Cup Team. In addition four U23 athletes and fourteen Junior athletes will be receiving National Team invitations. Athletes can move up teams during the northern hemisphere winter based on their performances in FIS competition.

Bellingham and Yeaton had breakthrough results at the 2015 World Universiade Winter Games in Slovakia, where they both placed 8th in the Sprint finals. Bellingham was the most consistent Australian performer on the cross country skiing World Cup for the third season in a row, while Yeaton also had stand-out performances at the US Championships in January.

Jessica Yeaton

Jessica Yeaton

Phillip Bellingham

Phillip Bellingham

A notable absentee from the team list is three-time Winter Olympian Esther Bottomley, who after over 10 years on the World Cup circuit has taken a step back from racing this year to take up a full-time teaching position. However, Worldloppet skiers should not be surprised if Bottomley pops up on the ski marathon circuit sometime during the northern hemisphere winter.

On the World Cup circuit there are two main components for the Australian Team; Freestyle Sprints throughout the winter, and the Canada Tour in March. US coach Randy Gibbs will be leading the team at World Cups for most of the season, looking to build on the success of the team at the WUWG last winter and predominantly targeting Freestyle Sprints with Phillip Bellingham. For the Canada Tour the aim is to field of full quota of six athletes and get as many as possible of them through the time cut-offs to the finals in Canmore. Several other events during the season will also be targeted with individual athletes.

For the Junior Team there are two main events in the coming season – the 2016 World Junior/U23 Championship in Rasnov, Romania, and the 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway. A team of potentially 6-8 athletes will be taken to Rasnov, led by coaches Ewan Watson and Robert Jones; while two athletes will head to Lillehammer under the guidance of coach Alasdair Tutt. Athletes for both events will be based in central Europe from early January, targeting races in Austria and Switzerland as part of their final preparation.

The full provisional team list is available in PDF format below. Team selection is subject to acceptance of the team invitation by the athletes.

The World Cup season for Australia will begin in Davos in Switzerland in December. Progress through the season can be followed on the AUSXC website and also via team/athlete Twitter updates and athlete blogs on the right-hand side of the page. Support for the team is welcome via donations for athlete expenses via the XC Towards 2018 project, and all skiing enthusiasts are welcome to attend the Cocktail Evening and fundraising evening in Melbourne on October 16.

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