USSA Club Development Announces New Podium Certified Clubs
The Bridger Ski Foundation, shown here celebrating USSA National Club Day, is one of nine clubs that received gold certification during the 2014-15 season.
PARK CITY, UT (May 13, 2015) – Sixteen additional clubs engaged in the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) podium certification process this season as part of the USSA’s new club development program. The clubs will be recognized on May 13 at the annual USSA Club Excellence Conference in Park City, UT. The podium level certification process involves a rigorous self-study and peer review of best principles and practices for ski and snowboard clubs. All Silver and Gold club candidates had an on-site visit and review conducted by USSA High Performance staff and club consultants who are leaders in the ski and snowboard club world.
“The group of clubs we worked with this season, and the next ones on deck, represent a more diverse mix of clubs on many levels,” said Club Development Manager Brian Krill. “Represented in this year’s podium clubs are the first Bronze level certifications as well as the first single-sport cross-country club. These are signs of things to come as the USSA works to expand this program to all clubs in all sports at all levels.”
The certification process not only recognizes club excellence, but also gives a clear roadmap for all clubs to become stronger organizations. This is a strategic part of USSA’s plans to support clubs, be a more club-based organization and better understand the challenges and opportunities that exist for clubs in every corner of the country. The process to achieve podium level certification is not easy, but the clubs have reported finding value in doing the work to complete the certification. Many Clubs have found that the positive impact was not necessarily the certification designation but in uncovering the true opportunities they have to continue to deliver sustained excellence. These clubs all set great examples and are leading the charge for club improvement nationally.
“The structured certification process not only systematically works through the prescribed materials but also provides the opportunity to dig deep into real-world issues facing these clubs,” said club consultant Steve Cohan. “In all the meetings I have been involved with the club’s leadership looked to USSA through this process for guidance, insight and assistance on a wide ranging list of subjects. An open exchange on the cause, effect and potential solutions of real world issues facing their club was the bulk of what we discussed for two days.”
Through this program the USSA is working in closer partnership with member clubs to recognize excellence and create a platform for continued success. USSA clubs are skiing and snowboarding’s biggest asset to athlete recruitment and development. As USSA works hand-in-hand with clubs the performance and experiences of athletes and teams at all levels will be enhanced.
Sixteen ski and snowboard clubs from around the country engaged in podium certification as part of the USSA’s new club development program.
USSA Club Development offers clubs a basic certification level as well as Bronze, Silver or Gold levels of certification.
More than 20 clubs are on deck to start the podium certification process in the 2015-16 season.
2015 Podium Clubs
Gold Certification Bridger Ski Foundation (Bozeman, MT) Carrabassett Valley Academy – Sugarloaf Ski Club (Carrabassett Valley, ME) Green Mountain Valley School (Waitsfield, VT) Killington Ski Club (Killington, VT) The Loppet Foundation – Loppet Nordic Racing (Minneapolis, MN) Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows Ski Team (Squaw Valley, CA) Sugar Bowl Academy and Ski Team (Norden, CA) Utah Olympic Park – Park City Nordic Ski Club/Fly Freestyle (Park City, UT) Winter Park Competition Center (Winter Park, CO)
Silver Certification Park City Sports Education Foundation/Park City Ski Team (Park City, UT) Team Gilboa (Eden Prairie, MN) Team Summit Colorado (Silverthorne, CO)
Bronze Certification Bromley Outing Club (Peru, VT)* The Hermitage Club at Haystack Mountain (Wilmington, VT) Snowbird Ski Education Foundation*
Club Highlights Recognized Through the Certification Process
Bridger Ski Foundation (Bozeman, MT) BSF is an excellent example of a club that serves the entire community and is recognized as one of the most important community partners in Bozeman, MT. This comes as a result of the decision in 2010 to engage in a comprehensive organizational overhaul with the intention of restructuring governance and leadership, running a more professional organization, and streamlining operations and fundraising. Professional and well-established program leadership in three sports (Alpine, Cross Country, Freestyle) and the coordination of a major trails program whereby the organization grooms over 70 kilometers of trail for its cross-country program and the community set BSF apart.
Carrabassett Valley Academy – Sugarloaf Ski Club (Carrabassett Valley, ME) Host of the 2015 U.S. Alpine Championships, the U16 Alpine National Championships and many other key events, the partnership between the Carrabassett Valley Academy, the Sugarloaf Ski Club, and the Sugarloaf resort is one of the strongest in the country. Further recognition of the Academy’s long-standing support of a multi-sport community, strong athletic, administrative and academic leadership. creative programming that provides excellent support for all student-athletes, and the expansion of its own as well as collaborative facilities was noted through the certification process.
Green Mountain Valley School (Waitsfield, VT) GMVS has been a behind-the-scenes runner up for the Alpine Club of the Year for the past few seasons as its student-athletes consistently rise to the top of the competitive ranks. And this season they celebrated as twenty-year-old alumnus Drew Duffy beat World Cup, World Championship and Olympic medalists to win the 2015 U.S. Alpine Super-G title. GMVS has a strong and experienced alpine and cross-country staff (including Justin Beckwith, Nordic Program Director who was a member of the 2015 U.S. World Junior coaching staff) and both programs are working to continue improving and expanding their youth development programming serving all youth in the Sugarbush area.
Killington Ski Club (Killington, VT) In the first round of podium club certifications the Killington Mountain School was recognized. It is clear that they could not do what they do without the strong partnership they enjoy with the Killington Ski Club (KSC). This season KSC pursued and completed the certification process further representing the commitment to excellent facilities, relations with the resort, and programming that serves the entire Killington community cradle to grave!
The Loppet Foundation – Loppet Nordic Racing (Minneapolis, MN) Most USSA clubs start as athletically focused organizations and then continue to develop in ways that serve the broader community. The Loppet Foundation is just the opposite. The foundation started in 2002 with a vision for Minneapolis to be an area that leads the world in year-round outdoor activities while bringing ethnically and economically diverse individuals and families together through a shared passion for the outdoors. In 2012 two highly experienced cross-country coaches from the area joined forces and formed Loppet Nordic Racing within the foundation’s existing structures. In just a few years this cross country program is one of the strongest junior development programs in the country and this season they celebrated as Caitlin Gregg joined Jesse Diggins on the World Championship podium with Bronze and Silver respectively – an absolute historic achievement in the history of U.S. cross country ski racing. Caitlin continues to devote her time and talent to the Loppet Foundation and Loppet Nordic Racing on essentially a daily basis.
Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows Ski Team (Squaw Valley, CA) A prolific club over the years with record participation, the Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows Ski Team wrapped up the USSA certification process in the fall of 2014. This involved a continued effort with leadership from both the corporation (KSL Partners) and the Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows Foundation (SAF). The SAF and the partnership between the Foundation and the resorts’ programs were determined to be vital to the continued success of the teams and the communities they represent. In October, the USSA club development program facilitated a retreat which included both resort and foundation leadership. The resulting agreements and strategies ensure that the best principles and practices for clubs established by the USSA are being met and will continue to foster the best club community possible in Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows.
“Working through the process to attain Gold Certification status over the course of the last eighteen months was very enlightening and productive,” said Dee Byrne, vice president of snowsports at Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows. “Anytime you peel back all the layers to scrutinize your business, you will undoubtedly learn much and be better off for it. I am proud that the process also validated the quality of our existing program, staff, and foundation.”
Sugar Bowl Ski Team and Academy (Norden, CA) Offering a full-scale development program in cross country skiing, alpine skiing and freeskiing, as well as a comprehensive academy program, the Sugar Bowl Ski Team and Academy has come a very long way in a relatively short period of time. The teams and academy work in close partnership with the Sugar Bowl Resort and homeowners, as well as Royal Gorge, North America’s largest cross country resort. Other innovative programs such as the “Snow Rangers” program along with high levels of success in the competitive ranks make this club a successful and inclusive club.
Utah Olympic Park – Park City Nordic Ski Club/Fly Freestyle (Park City, UT) As a part of the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation this club is a resource for multi-sport entry programming as well as providing a World Cup and international venue for competitions and training in ski jumping, Nordic combined and freestyle aerials. Several local clubs also partner with the Olympic Park to offer very efficient skills and drills opportunities to their athletes. Fly Freestyle and the Park City Nordic Ski Club operate out of the UOP. Fly Freestyle offers a development program as well as high levels of collaboration with the U.S. Freestyle Aerials Team in both summer and winter, and the Park City Nordic Ski Club was named the 2015 Club of the Year for the strides it has made and the support it offers in cross country, and ski jumping/Nordic combined.
Winter Park Competition Center (Winter Park, CO) This club is truly a park of the city of Denver. As such it is dedicated to the competition center and its all-terrain, snowboard, freestyle, ski racing and freeskiing programs. In particular, the Freestyle program operates at a very high level providing training and competitions that support the sport of freestyle at a national level. The club employs a full-time sports performance director offering resources to athletes, coaches and parents in the areas of sport psychology and sport performance, in addition to an experienced staff in all sports. Athletes also benefit from partnerships developed on the front range so they can do some of their training closer to home. Further, recent strides by the Winter Park Ski Education Foundation help provide necessary resources to both the athletes and the programs. The overall dedication and planning represented by this resort-run program is a model for this type of club, and this club will continue to develop a master plan representing all involved with Winter Park competitive snowsports.
Park City Sports Education Foundation/Park City Ski Team (Park City, UT) The Park City Sports Education Foundation and Park City Ski Team is a well-established club. Former U.S. Ski Team member, U.S. Ski Team Program Director and VARA Hall of Famer, Jesse Hunt, along with a very experienced athletic staff, lead this program. Boasting alumni such as Ted Ligety, Steven Nyman, Tim Jitloff, TJ Lanning, Resi Steigler, Megan McJames and Hailey Duke, this club has exhibited high levels of success over the years. Continuing to establish world-class training venues with new resort ownership will be a focus for the club moving forward to continue its success well into the future.
Team Gilboa (Eden Prairie, MN) Team Gilboa serves a large number of diverse athletes. Using their limited hill space to its full effect, this club also reaches out to other training venues in the area, and conducts camps in CO to make sure its athletes get all the training they need to be competitive. Team Gilboa has a strong sense of community throughout the coaching staff and parents, and they take pride in this community as many coaches and parents are alumni.
Team Summit Colorado (Silverthorne, CO) Operating at 4 major Colorado resorts (Copper, Keystone, Breckenridge and Arapahoe Basin) this club has been innovative in offering more multi-sport oriented entry points to their sports and teams. In the last several seasons they have focused on building a stronger base of participants, families and athletes, which has resulted in record numbers and strong programming. The club is continuing to work toward the best staffing, programming and venues in each sport at every level of athlete development.
Bromley Outing Club (Peru, VT) Bromley was the first club to submit for the Bronze level of certification showing leadership and setting an example for smaller clubs aiming for the podium. The club celebrates a history that goes back as far as 1947. Led by Executive/Program Director David Pinder and Head Technical Coach Sue Kramer, who holds a USSA Level 200 Alpine certification and is active in continuing education opportunities, this club is one to watch.
The Hermitage Club at Haystack Mountain (Wilmington, VT) As a newly established club under the leadership of James Lazor, the ski team at the Hermitage Club at Haystack came out of the gate strong. Already boasting significant membership growth and sound results, this program was also one of the first to complete the Bronze Certification Process. "Being a brand new club with a clean sheet of paper, the Club Development process has been an amazing resource for us in setting up our program," said Lazor.
Snowbird Sports Education Foundation (Snowbird, UT) The Snowbird Sports Education Foundation has lived by it’s mission statement which emphasizes developing “Life Skills and Love of the Sport” in athletes in every endeavor. Lead by Program Director Steve Bounous, this multi-disciplined club has accomplished athletes at every level. Jared Goldberg, Brennan Rubie and the upcoming talent of Bryce Astle (who was tragically lost in an avalanche in Solden Austria this winter) are examples of athletic talent this club has produced. In the beautiful and challenging terrain of Snowbird Ski Resort, the foundation has nurtured a unique partnership with Snowbird and jointly has developed top-level talent out of the Wasatch Front. With a dedicated race hill and pre public access to Snowbird’s world-class mountain, the possibilities are endless. According to Tami Strong, SBSEF Manager Logistics and Events, “SBSEF’s goals for the upcoming season include a direct partnership with the public school system to ensure training goals are met to the fullest. A big thanks to USSA for providing this unique opportunity in creating the podium club concept as it will continue to strengthen our strides as we continue to reach higher.”