What Happens in SOD After U16?
Submitted by SOD Program Director, TES Hynes…
The first thing you need to know about FIS/U19 is that it is not complicated! Whether you dream about winning an Olympic medal, getting an athletic scholarship or just racing locally with your friends there is a program for you in Southern Ontario.
Surprisingly our top-ranked Ontario FIS athletes and their parents tell us all the time that racing in U19 is easier to manage than the U16 O-CUP program. The U19/FIS program is simply a continuation of what the athletes are used to but without all the pressure of qualifications. Athletes are generally more relaxed and tend to enjoy the sport more while developing life-long friendships.
Here are the U19 options….
CLUB U19/FIS RACE PROGRAMS (Provincial FIS Card):
U16/U19 SOD Cup blended series. This will include 4 racers on weekends only. U19 aged athletes receive a Provincial FIS card with their registration which also allows them to race in any FIS race in Ontario.
CLUB U19/FIS PROGRAMS (National or International FIS Card):
These programs are open to all graduating U16s and would be slightly more competitive than option 1 but requiring more time on snow and likely pre-season ski camps. Typically, these clubs stay within North America for training camps and race in Ontario and Quebec. Athletes in these programs are required to purchase a National or International FIS license. There is an option for athletes in these programs who are tracking well to join the SODST on race series or projects. This is a great option for athletes who have not yet ruled out the SODST and potentially OST in the future.
SOUTHERN ONTARIO DIVISION SKI TEAM (SODST)
The SODST is a program for those who potentially aspire to make the Ontario Ski Team and beyond. This program includes selection criteria. There are two levels of qualification to the SODST: Performance Level (PL) and High-Performance Level (HP).
Performance Level criteria for graduating U16 Skiers (YOB 2004) is as follows:
- Selection to U16 Nationals.
- Top 20 overall at U16 O-Cup Finals (Eastern Finals qualifying list).
- Top 15 in one event at U16 O-Cup Finals.
High-Performance Program criteria for graduating U16 Skiers (YOB 2004):
- Top 10 at U16 Nationals (top 5 in one top 10 in 2 disciplines).
- Top 10 at U16 Eastern Can-Am (top 5 in one top 10 in 2 disciplines).
- Outstanding performance(s) at Whistler Cup.
The SODST has a comprehensive summer dryland program with satellites in Collingwood and Toronto. For the 2020 summer, the team will be offering a high school credit through Simcoe County (SCDCSB) which is Grade 12 Leadership (PLF 4M).
NOW FOR THE BIG QUESTION: WHAT ABOUT SCHOOL?
We recognize that balancing any competitive winter sport with high school is a juggle. Our feedback of athletes in FIS/U19 tells us that they find balancing school no different than U16 O-CUP. The big difference for the athletes is that in U19/FIS each race series is a standalone series that is not a qualifier for the next set of races so athletes can focus more on school when they must. Athletes tend to have more flexibility to pick up or drop races based on their schooling or other mitigating factors. For any competitive athlete (skiing or hockey, etc.) it is imperative that they form a close relationship with their high school guidance team. SOD and/or AOA can help explain the sport to guidance staff if supporting letters are required on PSO letterhead.
If you would like more information or support plotting out your U19/FIS racing pathway that includes post-secondary school opportunities please do not hesitate to contact the SOD office, we are here to help support all programs within our division.
SOD Program Director
Phone: (705) 444-5111 x133