The most popular school XC events in Australia are the Interschools events. There are three main events; Victorian Interschools, ACT/NSW Interschools and Australian Interschools. To compete in the Australian events, individuals or schools need to qualify from the state events. The Australian Interschools alternate from year to year between Victorian and NSW.
Interschools events are predominantly team events; though individuals can compete if a school doesn’t have the numbers to make up a team. Competitors from all ability levels are encouraged to enter, with an emphasis on fun and participation. For more information visit each of the Victorian, ACT, NSW and Australian Interschools websites.
Points are awarded according to place, not time
While the race formats are not exactly the same across all three events, they are getting closer. All events are held using the Mass Start format. Relay events are held in Freestyle technique (skiers can use classic or skate but the fastest skiers are usually skating). The individual events are currently (2015) held in Classic technique in Victoria, and in Freestyle technique in NSW.
Division categories in Interschool events are according to year level, rather than age. Teams and Individuals compete in five school divisions: Division 1 - Years 11 & 12, Division 2 - Years 9 & 10, Division 3 - Years 7 & 8, Division 4 - Years 5 & 6, Division 5 - Year 4 and below.
Another distinctive feature of Interschools events is that points are also awarded according to place, not for time. A team with skiers finishing 3rd, 7th and 11th scores 21 points. The team with the lowest points is the winner.
Are there other events for school aged kids?
The ACT Schools Cross Country Championships is part of theACT Schools Cup. ACT school students can race each other as individuals and as part of a teams of 3. The event is run similar to Interschools where students compete in their Interschools division (year at school) and the top 3 teams and individuals are recognised. The discipline is cross country freestyle with a mass start.
The Australian Secondary School Ski Team Championship (ASSSTC) is unique as far as ski competitions go, as there are no individual winners, instead each participant contributes points to the team result. It is an event that promotes team spirit and mateship and is even a lot of fun for the teachers that attend.
The maximum size of any team is 16, made up of alpine skiers, cross country skiers and snowboarders. The majority of team members need to compete in at least two disciplines, with only a handful being able to specialise in any one discipline. Students needing to compete in their non-preferred discipline mean that the pressure is off competitors to only enter if they are highly talented. Discuss with your school if you are interesting in putting at team together.