High Performance

Snow Sports NZ High Performance Pathway

Programme Goals, Philosophy & Operational Principles

The goal of the programme and its related investment is to win at Olympic and Paralympic Games and at events related to achieving these goals. 

As such, a progression of results in competition (i.e. Top 12 – Top 8) should be seen as stepping stones towards achieving multiple podium performances, rather than as outcomes in their own right. 

In simple terms, the long term aims of the programme (targeted for the 2018-2022 quadrennial and beyond) is to be a multi-medal programme (2+) at Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Athletes identified with the potential to contribute to achieving these goals may be offered selection to the Snow Sports NZ High Performance pathway (become carded) and, on meeting the following performance benchmarks, may also be offered investment and support within this progressive banded structure.

  1. Elite Podium
  2. Elite
  3. High Performance Development
  4. National Development
  5. SSNZ Ambassador

A list of athletes currently carded by SSNZ is available here.

To fit with the programme goal, athletes will normally only progress upwards.  Once an HPD level has been attained, failure to achieve the next level within a reasonable time period (normally four years[1]) will result in removal from the programme at that stage, unless exceptional circumstances apply[2]

Within each band of support, athletes will normally demonstrate this potential in three ways:

Current Performance :  Achievement in competition at the specified level

Progression:  A rising profile of tricks and/or associated skills, as demonstrated by objective tracking measures (i.e. rotation, amplitude, variety indices etc.)   compared against current world’s best and predicted future progression of the sports.

Training approach:   A positive commitment and work ethic to progress all elements of the rocket ship profile

Athletes may be appointed to the programme at any level, based on meeting the above criteria.  This would apply to first-time entry and returning after deselection if de-carded.

To ensure transparency and professionalism, decisions will be based using evidence-based, future-focused objective data (e.g. FIS/IPC results, videoed evidence of trick progression) together with subjective ratings made by the Performance Director and Head Coach[3].


  1. 1.       Elite Podium

Currently demonstrating the ability to win in Beijing 2022

EVIDENCE – Athletes that have achieved two world class podiums and multiple top 8 performances and results at premier events within the previous 12 months in Olympic/Paralympic disciplines.


Have a progressive rocket ship profile that demonstrates the skills and training approach to continue to deliver podium performances within the quadrennial and at the Olympic/Paralympic Games in 2022. 

  1. 2.       Elite

Currently demonstrating the ability to podium in Beijing 2022


Athletes have achieved 2 top 8 performances and results at premier events within the previous 12-month period in one discipline.


Have a progressive rocket ship profile that demonstrates the training approach and skills that is tracking to podium in 2022. 

  1. 3.       High Performance Development

Is normally demonstrating the potential to achieve a top 8 (or better) at the 2022 Winter Olympics, passing through en-route to a winning performance at the 2026 Winter Olympics. 


  • The athlete is normally under 18 at the end of the calendar year carding is awarded. (excluding Para sport athletes)  
  • Athletes being considered are normally emerging (i.e. achieving podiums) onto the international competition stage (i.e. FIS/IPC Continental cup/Junior Worlds/AFP Gold level/WST international events, IPCAS events)


  • Have a rising profile of performance (improving results) Combined with a positive rocket ship profile (scores of 3+) that demonstrates they have the potential to achieve top-8 or better at the Winter Olympics in 2022.

 4. National Development

Identified as having the potential to podium in 2026


  • The athlete is normally 16 or under at the end of the calendar year in which invitations are granted and has a history of achieving at national and/or regional events in NZ or overseas in age group categories.


  • Athletes are nominated by their coach/regional programme to attend Identification camps throughout the year.
  • On completion of a successful camp and Rocket Ship Profile athletes will be invited by SSNZ to attend National Development Camps throughout the year.  Generally there will be 9 per year.
  • 8 domestic camps
  • 1 northern hemisphere camp


  1. 6.       SSNZ Ambassador
  • Previous elite podium or elite athlete
  • Is seen as a mentor/role model but is NOT currently demonstrating the ability to podium in Beijing 2022
  • Maintains FIS eligibility and can compete at major events if there are quota spots available.
  • Will have access to the SSNZ HP gym facility at mutually agreed times


  • Premier Events defined as but not restricted to Winter Olympics, Paralympic Games, FIS /IPC World Championships, FIS/IPC World Cup, AFP Platinum or WST Elite events and any other major international event with a world class field as determined by the selection committee.
  • At least one result must be gained in the Northern hemisphere
  • Specific criteria in Physicality & Robustness measures, reviewed on an annual basis are pre-requisites for HPD and Elite carding
  • The Selection committee reserves the right to include/exclude competition results based on the strength and quality of field in each competition
  • The selection committee reserves the right to select athlete(s) based on Special Rankings considerations, extra-ordinary circumstance, or age, or injury.

[1] The four-year window would include a formal review at the end of year 3 with a year’s “notice” for athletes to meet criteria.

[2] These may include (but are not limited to) serious injury, unforeseen changes in training circumstance or making changes as directed by the Performance Director. 

[3] In cases where the Head Coach is also the lead Coach of an athlete, the PD will consult with other FT members of the coaching staff to generate the subjective ratings used within the Rocket Ship profile.