2016 USSA Congress Opening Address

2016-05-13 10:01

PARK CITY, UT (May 13, 2015) – U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association President and CEO Tiger Shaw opened the 2016 USSA Congress by reflecting on the successes and challenges the organization experienced this year. He also officially introduced the organization’s new mission, values and goals.


Good morning, and welcome to USSA Congress 2016. I hope you’ve found these first few days to be productive and that you enjoy the rest of your time here in Park City.

I wanted to start today off by saying thank you. We went through a lot of changes in the past year and I appreciate everyone’s efforts and patience as we worked through some of the challenges that spurred from these changes. Much of this stemmed from alpine timing systems partner changes. I have addressed these in a variety of communications, so I won’t reiterate it all here, but wanted to again apologize for difficulties caused by the business situations we found ourselves in last fall. It has been a hard route to get here, but the end outcome is very good and we are pleased to say we have multiple great partners now. Many resorts, race administrators, timers and officials had to endure changes that were not easy and the support and efforts were exceptional. For the difficulties that this has caused for some, I am sorry.

We have a lot to be proud of from this past season. Our U.S. Ski Team, U.S. Snowboarding and U.S. Freeskiing athletes had another year of Best in the World performances. Lindsey, Ashley, Devin, Jamie and Chris all brought home World Cup globes. Lindsey increased her World Cup victories to 79, just 10 shy of Ingemar Stenmark. Despite her early season injury, Mikaela went five for five in slalom victories on the World Cup. With seven World Cup podiums, including her first individual win, Jessie had her best season ever and led the cross country team to one of its best seasons ever. We brought home 19 X Games medals, including five gold from Torin, Maddie, Lindsey, Matt and Chloe. In freestyle, we had 13 World Cup podiums from 10 different athletes, and the aerials team brought home the Nation’s Cup for the second year in a row. We also had nine Youth Olympic Games medals this season. It was great to see our young athletes step up and perform on the international stage.

As the national governing body of Olympic skiing and snowboarding, our organization’s success is measured by the amount of medals we win every four years. That’s why our Best in the World vision has and will continue to be what we aspire to achieve at PyeongChang 2018 and beyond. This is simply the myopic focus of our national teams. Donors and sponsors care a lot about out national teams and being the best.

While our vision to be Best in the World is constant, we’ve taken a good look at exactly what the USSA does and who it does it for and we determined that our mission needed to better encompass what we and all of you do for our athletes. So we started with a clean slate, thought it over with hours and hours of debate, and concluded that the revised mission statement of the USSA is:

To lead, encourage and support athletes in achieving excellence by empowering national teams, clubs, coaches, parents, officials, volunteers and fans.

Supporting the athletes is the heart of what we do at USSA. That network of support includes each and every one of you, and we wanted our mission to reflect that and demonstrate our dedication to and support of what you’re doing for our organization.

If you were here last year, you may remember there being a huge banner of paper taped up along the wall where people could express what they thought the values of USSA were and should be. It really was a fascinating process. We saw some things we expected and some that took us completely by surprise. After receiving feedback here, we took the results and brought them to our entire staff and our entire membership. We completed multiple surveys with these groups, rolled all the data together, condensed it and presented it to our management team.

Today, we have seven new values for the organization:

Integrity – Action based on values rather than personal gain.
Passion – Motivation for doing what we love.
Fun – A fresh, positive, creative culture.
Team – Individual humility and collective pride.
Community – Exceptional stewardship and lifetime inclusiveness.
Excellence – Personal and collective wins every day.
Grit – Courage, tenacity and perseverance on the path to excellence.

These are the values that are important to you, and these are the values by which the USSA will live and work by. At the Center of Excellence, we’ve started to share stories that reflect these values. Take a minute and think about someone, whether it’s one of your athletes, colleagues, coaches or a parent, that has demonstrated the value of team, passion or grit. I bet you can come up with some pretty inspiring stories – we have been doing just this in meetings at work, and it has been a ton of fun and very illuminating. Hopefully you’re inspired to embrace these values in your USSA activities and beyond.

Dan Leever recently conducted an in-depth study for the U.S. Ski Team. While alpine centric, the study included a broad poll of the world’s best. When they were asked why they were so driven to be as good as they were, they responded that the primary motivators were fun, passion and family. These are the inalienable benefits of pursuing our sports at all levels. A lifetime of passion and fun, regardless of achievement level.

Finally, I’d like to share with you the goals of organization. We have distilled them down to just five:

  • Achieve athletic excellence
  • Grow the visibility of our sports
  • Engage, lead and grow our communities
  • Cultivate organizational excellence
  • Achieve financially sustainable growth

While these are labeled as the organization’s goals, they are goals that myself, my staff and everyone here should be cognizant of as we think about what we want to accomplish within our teams and as individuals.

Over the past few months, we’ve taken steps towards achieving our goal of growing the visibility of our sports. We’ve brought in a strong group of outside experts to assess the value of our brands and determine how we can better use these brands to connect with those outside of our industry. This is especially important for our clubs who continue to lose athletes to soccer, hockey, football – sports that have stronger brand awareness in this country. We welcome your feedback and input as we continue through this process and hope to share our developments with you soon.

I know we’ve communicated a lot to you today, and we’ve communicated a lot to you throughout the season. Emails have gone out, and I’ve gotten replies. Yes, when you hit reply, those emails do come to my inbox. I’ve had multiple phone calls with people – some positive, some negative. But they’ve all been productive and educational. I recently received a call from one of our club leaders who felt like he wasn’t aware of what we were doing. He didn’t feel like he was a part of the organization. I want to change that, but I need your help. We need you all to debate, advocate, support and help our organization change. By being here today you are putting forth the effort to engage with us. We need everyone to be engaged. This is your organization. So, if you have something to say, say it. This is a wonderful process, and I love being a part of it.