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Winter sports are breathtaking competitions in dynamic and demanding conditions which challenge athlete fitness and technique.
The Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) supports Australian athletes in the winter sports of skiing (alpine, mogul and aerial), snowboard (alpine, half pipe and cross), skeleton, and skating (short track speed and figure), through the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia (OWI), in conjunction with the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC).
About the winter sports programs
The AIS and the AOC formed the Australian Institute of Winter Sports in 1998, following the Nagano Olympic Winter Games. In July 2001, the organisation was renamed the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia (OWI).
The OWI employs coaching staff and provides sport program opportunities for approximately 30 athletes across seven winter sport disciplines.
Athletes and coaches at the OWI also work closely with experts from the AIS and with each of the individual national sporting organisations.
The AIS/OWI Alpine Skiing program works with Ski and Snowboard Australia and the New South Wales Institute of Sport and Ski to provide a training and competition program to prepare male alpine skiers to compete internationally on World Cup, Europa Cup and Nor-Am Cup circuits, and at world championships and Olympic Winter Games.
During Australia’s winter, the program is based at the Jindabyne Sport and Recreation Centre, New South Wales with on-snow training at Thredbo and Perisher ski resorts. In Australia’s summer months, athletes work with the Great Britain alpine ski team, competing in North America and Europe.
The AIS/OWI Mogul Skiing program provides world-class technical and skills training for male and female athletes who have been identified as having high performance potential. The program is based in Jindabyne, New South Wales and works closely with Ski and Snowboard Australia and the New South Wales Institute of Sport to provide the best access to facilities, coaching and competitions.
The team competes on the World Cup circuit from November to March and additional camps take place Whistler, Canada in May and in Zermatt, Switzerland during October.
AIS Sports Science and Sports Medicine staff play a key role in the mogul squad’s strength and conditioning and testing programs, as well as assisting athlete recovery and rehabilitation.
AIS/OWI Aerial Skiing is a non-residential program focusing on preparation and training for World Cup, world championship and Olympic Winter Games events. The program transfers high performance gymnasts to aerial skiing via a fast-track compressed development program that builds a base of fundamental skills.
The athletes perfect their jumps on water before a pre-season on-snow training camp in November, with senior athletes then competing in the World Cup. The program employs coaching staff who focus on supporting the team, not just individuals, and it is this approach that has consistently helped to keep Australia a world leader in women’s aerial skiing.
The AIS plays a significant role in the Aerial Skiing program, particularly the Biomechanics and Performance Analysis department, who have developed specialist tools for video training and feedback.
AIS/OWI Snowboard is a unique program for men and women based at Jindabyne Sport and Recreation Centre, New South Wales which trains at Perisher during the domestic season. The program aims not only to equip athletes with world-class technical skills but also to develop a program culture based on athletic training and performance rather than an extreme sport lifestyle.
The AIS plays a key role in strength and conditioning, and testing of snowboard athletes. The teams utilise the AIS facilities frequently, with camps conducted four times a year focusing on nutrition, psychology and sports medicine services.
In 2008 the Snowboard program combined its half pipe and cross operations to best utilise the team physiotherapist, wax technician and coaching resources.
Short Track Speed Skating
AIS/OWI Short Track Speed Skating is a program for men and women athletes that is based in Brisbane with training at Iceworld Acacia Ridge. It aims to ensure best practice service is delivered to scholarship holders to effectively prepare them for World Cup competition and to achieve a medal result at Olympic Winter Games.
Short Track Speed Skating receives much support from the AIS Physiology department, who play a crucial role in athlete strength and conditioning and dry land programs.
Expert coaches and sports scientists in the non-residential AIS/OWI Skeleton program provide world-class training and coaching to women in this thrilling sport, which involves athletes travelling head first down an icy winding 1200m bobsled track at speeds of up to 130km/h. The program operates with three athletes at World Cup level and an additional four athletes at Europa and/or Continental Cup level.
AIS/OWI Skeleton selects athletes using the expertise of the Australian Sports Commission’s Talent Identification and Development program, which runs talent identification camps that focus on former summer sport athletes. The program also utilises the expertise of the AIS sports science staff to travel and manage team activities during overseas training camps and World Cup competitions.
AIS/OWI Figure Skating is a non-residential program that assists athletes gain the technical skills necessary to compete at high performance level, in world championships and Olympic Winter Games.