The United States and Canadian men's ski jumping teams announced Monday that they will be sharing resources and coaches for the next year, forming "Team North America."
"They'll travel as if they were the same team," USA Ski Jumping Program Director Alan Johnson said. "They'll be coached (the same), they'll do all the training the same. The travel will be the same. It's just that they'll be representing their country, but for all intents and purposes they're all on one team."
U.S. Ski Jumping coach Clint Jones will oversee the international program for both countries, traveling and leading both countries' World Cup teams. The teams will also share coaches at the Continental Cup and development levels.
Right now, there are only three athletes in the two countries who are expected to compete full time at the World Cup level. The athletes include Saranac Lake native Peter Frenette, Park City resident Anders Johnson and Canadian MacKenzie Boyd-Clowes. Other athletes may join these jumpers during the season.
The World Cup season starts later this month in Norway.
The women's teams are not part of this agreement. However, this agreement will allow Canadian coach Gregor Linseg to shift his duties to oversee the Canadian women's program. He will support Jones whenever both teams compete at the same venue, according to a press release.
The Canadians have also hired former Swedish coach Wolfgang Hartmann to coach some of the men's Continental Cup events with the development team in Canada. He will be joining the Americans in Park City soon to meet both teams as they join together for the season.
The one-year agreement between USA Ski Jumping and Canada Ski Jumping came about because the programs lack the resources to fully fund their own programs and the groups have been working together informally for the past several years anyway.
"Essentially, what it does, is it allows you a program with limited resources to have a potentially full-time presence at World Cup, Continental Cup and even FIS Cup level," Johnson said. "You don't have to have three coaches on your staff to handle all three different levels. We're sort of blending and economizing, which you can do if the coaches and athletes are all familiar with each other. The Canadians basically live in Park City when they are not traveling to Europe anyway, so we're all together."
USA Ski Jumping is an organization that was created in the months after the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. It doesn't receive funding from the U.S. Ski Team, instead relying on independent sponsors.
"(This) is going to help both programs, which are really underfunded, ski jumping in Canada and the United States," said USA Ski Jumping spokesman Peter Graves. "It's going to be a great cost savings. We're going to have some really strong consistency or coaching and it was just good for both of us to enter into it."