Development program for Oregon cross country skiers focusing on long-term personal excellence and mutually-supportive, Oregon-based, corporate and community partnerships.
Since 1998 XC Oregon has offered adult skiers a unique chance to work towards their dreams in regional, national, and/or international cross-country ski racing with an annual roster traditionally made up with athletes from the 20s, 30s, 40s, etc.(unlike some, we don't put an age limit on fast skiing!). For younger athletes, XC Oregon partners with the Mt Bachelor Sports Education Foundation (MBSEF) to find the ideal blend of support between the programs. For master skiers of all interests and abilities, XC Oregon also is happy to offer amazing ways to be part of our skiing family via Friends of XC Oregon!
XC Oregon was founded by and continues to have just one primary Coach/Director -- J.D. Downing who serves as an independent contractor to the organization. A 501(c)(3) non-profit, XC Oregon is governed by an all-volunteer Board of interested Oregon-based skiers and patrons.
XC Oregon is built around a realistic, cost-effective, and long-term approach that has stood the test of time in developing both athletic as well as personal excellence. Several key characteristics allow our program to help athletes reach for the sky with their feet planted firmly on the snow.
- Self-Reliance…XC Oregon athletes are expected to be very involved in design and implementation of training and personal development plans. XC Oregon staff partner with this process on a year-round basis…but in the end, we believe primary responsibility for success lies with the athletes themselves. Bottom line: This has proven to be the perfect program for athletes that love to take the lead in day-to-day training, while always have having a trusted & experienced coach available for input, guidance, ideas, contacts, etc..
- Athlete Community Investment In Lieu Of Fees...Our athletes are never charged a program fee to be part of XC Oregon. In lieu of monetary payments, athletes are annually required to make a volunteer commitment in the Bend and greater Oregon community. Over the years this investment has included volunteer time with youth/junior groups, humanitarian and conservation organizations, social service organizations, sponsor foundations, as well as a variety of recreation/athletic programs outside of skiing.
- Athletes That Value Our Home As Home...We want athletes that really want to live in and be part of the Central Oregon community. We want athletes that enjoy living here as much as us and will become part of the community. We also want athletes that respect and appreciate our supporters and will annually work to give as much as they get.
- Value Athletes. Period...We believe a wide range of adult athletes can be a good “fit” for our program design, not just skiers destined for the top of the national/international podium. Over the years we have had World Cup/Olympians training alongside skiers that are still working towards top placings in regional events. Attracting really good athletes that are also really good people is always our first priority. The end destination for each skier usually takes care of itself over time.
- Balance...Our most successful athletes over time have been individuals that actively sought balance in their lives. XC Oregon has proven very capable of providing all or many of the essential components to success on the ski trails. But we also want our athletes to be a success in life. We have athletes with full time careers, athletes that are parents, athletes completing college degrees (including advanced degrees) -- as well as full-time skiers chasing national/international results.
- Innovative Support Solutions...Over the years we have developed systems to run a world-class elite development program on a wide range of budgets. Since the global economy is likely to present an ever-increasing set of challenges for non-profit athletic programs, XC Oregon’s has an unmatched track record of “finding a way” while always keeping our skiers on target for their goals.
- 50% Rule…By limiting the amount of funds directed to coaching/administration, XC Oregon guarantees that at least 50% of any annual budget will go directly to support athletes while still providing for the essential leadership and operation of the program. Since 1998, XC Oregon has annually averaged closer to 70-75% of all support dollars going directly to athletes. This is arguably the lowest “overhead” of any comparable program -- in any sport -- anywhere.
- Regional Corporate Partners…XC Oregon provides the perfect promotional vehicle for Oregon corporations looking for a unique alternative to “business-as-usual” sports marketing. Our corporate sponsors value the amazing return on investment that XC Oregon provides and our athletes/staff work hard every year to maintain that level of return.
- A Nationwide Support Family...Over the years XC Oregon has cultivated a support family stretching across North America. These supporters have become an integral part of the program’s annual financial operations. But (more importantly to us), our Friends of XC Oregon have become a vital part of the XC Oregon fellowship taking part in workouts, join us for camps and races, and generally feel more like family than patrons.
- Sustainably World-Class…Here is a partial list of the reasons XC Oregon has stood the test of time as one of the XC ski world’s longest-running and most successful elite development programs.
-- 8-10 month on-snow season, reliably from November - June each year (longest with door-to-door access in North America);
-- With 15-25mins from the west side of Bend lies one of our proud sponsors Mt Bachelor Nordic Center (featuring up to 50km of groomed trails from Thanksgiving to June). The commercial area is supplemented by the Meissner community system (20-30km) groomed 4x per week plus over 100km of regularly groomed snowmobile trails.;
-- Growing Oregon XC ski event calendar (2 major ski events in Bend itself…Great Nordeen & Pole Pedal Paddle) and an unmatched year-round endurance sport calendar to “fill in” between competition trips outside the area;
-- Ideal local dryland and on-snow training sites for XC skiing at a mix of altitudes (3,500 – 10,000 feet) with often perfect training temp/weather much of the year and typically moderate heat (low humidity) in the summer;
-- Outdoor amenities second to none — the best spring XC skiing on the planet, 9-10 months of alpine and backcountry skiing, hundreds of miles worth of mountain bike/hiking/running trails, stellar road biking, in-town river paddling (loads of nearby white water rivers), mountain lakes, Smith Rock climbing, 3-4 hour drive to Oregon Coast;
-- Two flexible academic resources for undergrad, vocational, and community ed classes (Central Oregon Community College and the Oregon State Cascades);
-- World-class exercise physiology lab and staff capable of full VO2 and lactate zones via ski pole walk and classic roll testing;
-- 6-12 hour drive to a dozen major regional events and national race venues;
-- Daily air links to six major western hubs from Bend/Redmond (RDM) airport located 20 minutes (+/-) drive from Bend;
-- A strong blend of mid-size city opportunities (pop. 85,000+) with resort town convenience mixed with a college town vibe;
--Vibrant year-round community cultural calendar with dozens of affordable (or free) festivals, concerts, and other events.