Check out Race Info on our JNQ/NRL in Lander!

Dear Parent,

We would like to thank you for your interest and your participation in Nordic skiing and the High Plains Nordic Division. There has been a great deal of confusion surrounding this years schedule and we think it’s necessary to provide all stakeholders in the High Plains Division a clear and comprehensive picture of the Division and the range of issues we manage.  High Plains is one of ten USSA Divisions in the country. Our physical catchment area includes Wyoming, the southern area of Montana, ranging from approximately Columbus to the Dakotas, and western South Dakota. The current make-up includes skiers from Wyoming school systems and club teams located in Casper, Laramie, Sheridan, Saratoga, Sundance, Rapid City, SD and Red Lodge, MT.

The goals of the High Plains as stated in our bylaws are:

  1. Promote the sport of cross-country skiing;

  2. Select and support junior competition teams from the region;

  3. Educate the coaches of the area;

  4. Interact with other regional and national organizations to assist in the above purposes; an

  5. Participate in national level decision making (via the United States Ski Association or other nationally recognized body that promotes cross-country skiing)

The sheer size of our district and the fact that we cross state boundaries makes scheduling difficult as we try to manage the District with the goal of creating fair and equitable national level opportunities for all skiers. We currently have multiple clubs and athletes who lack Wyoming High School Athletic Association (WHSAA) standing which can cause problems with respect to equitable race seeding, awards, and participation at Wyoming school races. We continue to work with WHSSA to develop a formal “Guest Class” designation and associated rules, but to this point, individual school districts can implement different rules at different events.  Our solution has been to use National Ranking List (NRL) races as the vehicle for team selection to enable full participation from all stakeholders. NRL races serve several purposes:

1. They develop a “points profile” for a skier that is used across the nation for seeding at national level events, including the Junior Nationals, National Team selections, and national training camp invitations. They are also helpful for athletes who might want to ski in college. In the past, High Plains did not utilize NRL’s as a selection tool and our skiers faced a competitive disadvantage at Junior Nationals due to non-existent or poor US Ski & Snowboard Points.

2. NRL races must be run by US Ski & Snowboard rules and must have US Ski & Snowboard officials present to insure fair, equitable, safe, and age based racing.  US Ski & Snowboard NRL races come with additional costs, above and beyond the expenses associated with regular High School and Club races. With our move to NRL races as a selection tool, High Plains is subsidizing in-district NRL races to remove those additional costs race organizers, school districts, and parents.

3. NRL racing is recognized throughout the nation as the gold standard for Junior Nationals Qualification. We are moving towards offering more NRL races within High Plains as an integral part of our endeavor to raise the level of performance. Our intent is to provide in-state NRL’s to maximize opportunity for all of our constituents and to minimize their respective costs.

The High Plains Board has spent the past year in extensive conversations with stakeholders in an effort to expand our outreach and serve the needs of all skiers. As we move forward with our plans for high quality, nationally recognized racing within High Plains we want to encourage participation at ALL the High Plains Qualifiers by athletes, parents and coaches as well as encourage additional racing opportunities that are provided outside of the High School schedule. We are also sensitive to funding concerns for both high school and club teams. To reach this balance we sanctioned qualifiers within High Plains. We will use points from these races and any other NRL races for qualification onto the High Plains Junior Nationals Team we STRONGLY encourage participation in the High Plains NRL races as well as highly competitive races outside High Plains as it will help athletes adapt to big races before attending Junior Nationals. The Soldier Hollow Super Qualifier is an exceptional opportunity for athletes to compete on the courses that will be used for Junior Nationals and is currently on the High School schedule.

In an effort to help athletes who may not have the ability to attend out of division races we have created a scholarship fund. Athletes may apply for funding to support NRL races which require individual travel. High Plains will also assist athletes with finding waxing support for these events.

The High Plains Qualification Standards for this year can be found at:

Historically, Wyoming High School skiing has been the backbone of our efforts to successfully race on a national level and we will still rely on High School skiing for many of our athletes. However, the model needs to be adjusted to accommodate growth  of club participants both within and outside the state of Wyoming and we are doing our best to adapt to provide access to as many young skiers as possible. We thank you for your support and commitment to High Plains and youth ski racing.


High Plains Board