International Leadership Benefits Athletes


USSA President and CEO Bill Marolt

June, 2010

One of the most important functions as an organization dedicated to being best in the world is how we lead our sport internationally. Recently our USSA staff and volunteers went to the biennial International Ski Federation Congress with a well-developed checklist of strategic issues vital to the future of our sports. We worked as a team to successfully lobby for key points that will make a big difference for our athletes and sports in years to come.

In addition to securing the 2015 FIS Alpine Ski World Championships for the USA with Beaver Creek/Vail, we were successful in moving the widely popular sports of ski halfpipe and snowboarding slopestyle each a step closer to Olympic inclusion.

The 2015 World Championships are more than an athletic competition. It is an opportunity to engage the world. The Championships will provide our industry with an opportunity to expand participation in the sport nationwide and to showcase our U.S. Ski Team athletes. The partnership between the USSA, Vail Resorts and the Vail Valley Foundation was pivotal to the overwhelming support for the USA on the first ballot. We look forward to continuing that partnership to produce a World Championships that is successful both athletically and as a catalyst for continued growth in our sport.

In the past decade, skiing and snowboarding have continued to emerge as the premier sports in the Olympic Winter Games. Why? It's because we've taken the leadership, as a sport, to evolve and change with the times. Ski halfpipe and snowboarding slopestyle are emerging activities with participation bases in the tens of millions worldwide. It is a key part of the future of our sport and the vibrance of our industry.

As a result of our partnership with other nations, ski halfpipe will go to the International Olympic Committee for 2014 consideration. And snowboarding slopestyle will be included in the FIS World Snowboarding Championships – with a chance of still being presented to the IOC. Due to our efforts in 2006, women's ski jumping will also go before the IOC again.

This past winter our U.S. ski and snowboarding athletes achieved our USSA vision with best in the world results in Vancouver. Our role, as an organization, is to take leadership international to ensure that we provide our athletes with the appropriate playing field to achieve their goals.

How do we make that difference? The partnership between our staff and volunteer sport leaders is vital. Competition and equipment rules, event calendars, international ranking systems are all pieces in the puzzle. Our work must ensure that we both progress our sport to keep it interesting to the public and our partners, while at the same time protecting the playing field for our athletes.

As a nation, we work strongly together with staff and volunteers working for the same cause. I saw this time and time again at the FIS meetings where everyone in our delegation worked to push our USA agenda. With six unique sports, we are the most complex of any Olympic organization. It's gratifying to see nordic enthusiasts helping push snowboarding agendas for the good of our nation.

We have an exciting season ahead with the 2011 FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships here in the USA at Deer Valley Resort. At the same time, we'll begin promotion of the 2015 Alpine World Championships. And we'll anxiously await the IOC's decision on new sports for 2014 in Sochi.