Athlete Pathway and Categorisation Guidelines

To assist athletes and families Snow Australia has prepared the following information and guidelines.


The sporting journey across a lifetime includes various development stages. Each stage is unique and is an important stepping-stone for those athletes hoping to succeed in high performance sport.

To assist the community with understanding the different stages of athlete development, Snow Australia has developed discipline specific Snow Australia Athlete Pathways. The Snow Australia Athlete Pathway aligns with the Sport Australia FTEM (Foundation, Talent, Elite and Mastery) framework, which is representative of the ‘whole of sport’ pathway continuum.

It categorises key features of each stage of the athlete profile and provides a practical method to assist sport and athlete stakeholders to manage athlete development.


Foundations contribute to and underpin our Participation Pathway. These progressive and dedicated levels are pivotal to acquiring and refining the fundamental movement skills and early physical literacy required for athletic development.


Talent and supports the pathways to high performance. Supported by a best practice, inclusive and holistic approach, the future talent potential of a pre-elite athlete is identified, confirmed and developed through effective programming and competitive opportunity.

Elite and Mastery

Elite and Mastery focus on the pinnacle of the sport pathway. Athletes enter and perform on the world stage and are supported through a dedicated and individualised approach including committed preparation, camps, sport science/sports medicine and quality coaching.

Athlete Categorisation Guidelines

The Snow Australia Athlete Categorisation Guidelines have been developed following the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) National Athlete Categorisation Framework to inform planning and prioritise support to Australian winter sport

The guidelines will provide a consistent basis to:

  1. Identify the athletes with the greatest potential to contribute to Snow Australia’s and the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia’s (OWIA) performance targets in World Cups, World Championships and Winter Olympic/Paralympic Games
  2. Track athlete performance over time; and
  3. Inform prioritisation of resources and support to athletes

Athlete categorisation will be used to identify, track, and prioritise athletes at each stage of the Performance Pathway, to support Australian Winter Sport Athletes to consistently deliver medal winning performances at major international events (inc. World Championships and Winter Olympic/Paralympic Games).

Snow Australia in collaboration with OWIA and Institute partners, have developed Snow Australia Athlete Categorisation Framework. The Framework defines each of the categorisation levels for each of the winter sport disciplines. Each discipline-matrix outlines identification, verification and development profiling with assessments for each level varying to accommodate the nuances of each discipline. These are closely aligned and supported by discipline Foundation, Talent, Elite, Mastery (FTEM) Frameworks. This matrix is agreed in advance of athlete nominations as part of the planning process for the next benchmark event cycle.

Athletes will be categorised annually, against the discipline-specific matrix, in line with an agreed annual review process led by OWIA, in collaboration with the Snow Australia.


Discipline Specific Pathway Brochures

Athlete Categorisation Guidelines

Alpine Brochure

Cross Country Brochure

Mogul Brochure

Park & Pipe Brochure

SBX Brochure

Para Wintersport

Para Alpine Brochure

Para Snowboard Brochure