Last week Ski and Snowboard Club Vail announced the initiation of a Skicross program, and the hiring of a head coach to focus specifically on the sport. While other clubs have organized Skicross activity – primarily providing support for elite-level competitors, or exposing athletes in alpine programs to Skicross course features and fundamentals – Vail's new program is notable in that it will focus on two groups, U-16 and U-14 athletes. And with the hiring of an experienced leader and coach in Erik Steinberg, Vail has signaled that they see a lot of potential in the sport.
The USSA will spend roughly $25 million this year on elite athlete performance, athlete development at a national, regional and club level, coach and club development, and hosting national and international competitions. The success of the USSA's national team at the very highest levels inspires youth participation, and motivates adults to continue to be active in and give back to our sports. Development programs provide those youth with an avenue for high-quality participation and a culture that emphasizes personal dedication, commitment and discipline centered on the USSA's values.
As it has done following the Torino, Vancouver, and now Sochi Olympic Winter Games, the USSA’s senior staff conducted a post-Olympic leadership retreat to discuss and define the role of organizational culture in the future success of our team and the association. Where past such retreats have focused on the USSA's Core Values from an internal perspective, this most recent retreat was designed to look at it from an external perspective, utilizing the help of world-expert Dr.
The growing success of cross country ski racing in the USA has come through the passion by the American ski community, fueling the fire that has resulted in more and more skiers find success internationally. The cross country community has followed a vision that its athletes could, indeed, be Best in the World.
The USSA considers itself an "educationally based and athletically focused" organization, referring both to sport education (for parents, coaches, athletes, clubs and officials) and the academic education of its elite athletes. Academic education for the USSA's eli
The USSA is contemplating a new member fee structure, which is intended to streamline the registration process for members, establish stronger relations between USSA and its divisional associates, reduce organizational administrative burdens, provide stronger and consistent value to USSA clubs, and reduce the barrier to entry into USSA programs.
A number of weeks ago I was asked via Twitter where I thought the "33% of youth ski racers who quit return to the sport", and whether or not they came back into interscholastic leagues. This is an interesting question, which I did not know the answer to. And although we clearly know that dropout from USSA programming is at its most pronounced at around age 12, we haven't validated the rate of dropout or studied whether or not those athletes continue in ski racing through other avenues, take up different sports, or leave sport completely.
Today's vote on the addition of sports to the Olympic program highlighted the skill with which the FIS has been able to update, refresh, and expand its own Olympic program by working both within the confines of the space FIS already occupies within the IOC, and by deftly taking advantage of the IOC view that the Winter Olympics still has room to grow.
FIS has had a near constant eye on innovation for over a decade. Annually its sports are reviewed and adapted to ensure they're interesting for viewers, and particularly teens and young adults.
Periodically the USSA's elite athletes training at the Center of Excellence schedule time to speak with their support staffs, to tell them their story and to share with them their programs and goals for the coming year. These "athlete socials" are always a great way to connect the athletes with their support staffs and vice-versa. And they're a great way to remind the staff, many of whom never go into the field with the teams, what their work is all about.
Last winter the USSA surveyed its clubs and coaches to determine actual on-snow training levels of our alpine athletes at the youth and junior levels compared to the recommendations set forth by our National Training Systems.
This survey indicated the following:
· On average, U10s ski close to the number of target days of skiing per year (40-60 days). But a significant number ski 31-40 days (or in some cases less). And a minority ski more (60-100 days).
Every four years, the USSA has the honor of selecting its Olympic Team. Given the strength of the USSA's athletes and teams, this selection process can be demanding on the athletes, and the stresses associated with Olympic selection are considered in the design of the selection procedures. Ultimately, the procedures are designed to build and select the most competitive Olympic Team possible, and to support the USSA's Vision of being Best in the World.
Last winter the USSA undertook a self-study to determine how to partner more effectively with the USSA's 400+ clubs to deliver an optimal athlete development program and ensure Best in the World performance well beyond 2014. This study, which is initially focused on the alpine domestic system, involved the direct feedback of over 100 individuals comprised of Club and divisional leadership, athletes and parents, analogous organizations, USSA Board members, FIS and USOC leaders, and affiliated industry experts. In addition, nearly 800 USS
For the past 17 years, the Vision of USSA has been to "make the United States of America the best in the World in Olympic skiing and snowboarding." That Vision has driven every decision the association has made, and every direction it has established since then. It has been a game-changer in focusing the association on organizational performance, and on excellence. Prior to that Vision, the association lacked direction and inspiration, and had little to measure itself against to determine progress and success.
The USSA invests over $20 million annually in its elite teams, and over $4 million annually in local youth, coach, club and development and competition programs. These resources are used to support the USSA's Vision of being Best in the World in Olympic skiing and snowboarding, and its Mission of providing strong leadership that establishes and supports athletic excellence. Winning more medals than any other nation at the Olympic Games is the ultimate manifestation of a Best in the World system, and is the benchmark that drives the allocation of USSA's resources in support of its athletic
It was a real honor to attend the Annual Benefit for Women’s Ski Jumping USA (WSJ-USA) last night. Excellent food, good company from around the globe and an ice sculpture of a ski jump that poured drinks all contributed to a great, festive atmosphere. The program featured WSJ-USA Board President (and former mayor of Salt Lake City) Deedee Corradini thanking all of the supporters of WSJ-USA’s long journey.
USSA invests over $20 million per year to support the performance of the athletes in its elite teams. This investment comes in the form of world-class coaching, extensive medical services, equipment support, high performance services (conditioning, nutrition, psychology, technology, physiology, and data tracking and analysis), elite training facilities, home-field international competitions, and academic and career development programs. These services are provided year-round both at the Center of Excellence, and in the field for each of USSA's 195 elite team athletes. And in some cases t
One of the Core Values of the USSA is Team, and one if its organizational goals is "strong partnerships". Both ideas are essential to the realization of the USSA's Vision of being Best in the World.
The scope of the USSA's responsibility is wide, covering the management and governance of 12 distinct Olympic sports. And it's mandate runs equally deep, ranging from international elite athlete programs to youth recruitment and competition at the most local level.
World Champion Kikkan Randall has played a vital role in representing athletes wtihin the International Ski Federation as a member of the FIS Athlete Commission. Following a successful on-snow camp at Mt. Bachelor and a brief stop for testing at the USSA Center of Excellence, Kikkan is on hand in Cavtat-Dubrovnik, Croatia this week for the annual spring meetings of the Federation.
It takes TEAM to be Best in the World. Just ask World Champion Jessie Diggins. Or any USSA national team athlete, for that matter. Jessie is a cross country skier. But she could just as well be an alpine racer, snowboarder, freeskier, aerialist or jumper. Her SkiTrax.com blog post Why This Team Works So Wellcapsulizes one of the "secrets" to being Best in the World.
Two years ago when we announced that we would be establishing an elite ski and snowboard academy at the Center of Excellence, that announcement was met with enthusiasm by some and with consternation by others. Some were concerned that running a school would be a financial drain on other programs. Some cautioned that the demands of running a school in addition to our elite athlete and high performance programs would be distracting and take focus away from our core mission. Some believed that we had underestimated how demanding it would be to run a school, and how difficult it is to delive