USSA
 

Board of Directors Meeting Recap - May 2017

Following is a recap of key reports and decisions from the May 13, 2017 meeting of the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Board of Directors. Formal meeting minutes will be published in June.

Organizational Name Change
The Board authorized the change of the organization’s name from United States Ski and Snowboard Association to U.S. Ski & Snowboard. This change will be made throughout the organization as new branding standards are finalized and published in June.

New Board of Director Positions
The Board renominated Andy McLane as a U.S. Ski & Snowboard Foundation representative for four more years. The Board also confirmed at-large member Liz Arky’s transition to a Foundation representative. A full list of current Board members can be found at ussa.org.

Anti-Doping Efforts
President and CEO Tiger Shaw reported on U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s strong support of the anti-doping movement. Since the McLaren Report’s release last summer, the organization has focused on initiatives to level the playing field of our sports for USA athletes. Shaw noted that the upcoming Olympics as a platform for change and indicated that the fight for clean sport will remain an organizational priority. U.S. Ski & Snowboard will continue to make this a priority topic with the International Ski Federation and other agencies and governing bodies.

Athlete Safety and Security
The safety and security of teams continues to be a top priority. Executive Vice President and General Counsel Alex Natt noted the continued partnership with Global Rescue and the use of the organization’s GRID app as a new resource for teams. U.S. Ski & Snowboard members have access to a variety of Global Rescue resources, including a travel hotline, medical advisory resources and more.

U.S. Ski & Snowboard is working closely with the United State Olympic Committee’s Center for Safesport. Launched this past season, the Center includes an education and outreach office as well as a response and resolution office to support national governing bodies and their members across the country. More information on U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s SafeSport procedures can be found at ussa.org/safesport.

BRASS Update
The Bryce and Ronnie Athlete Snow Safety Foundation (BRASS) continues to increase awareness, promote training and education, and advance investments regarding athlete safety and security. Executive Director Michael Silitch highlighted the following successes from the 2016-17 season:
 

  • BRASS distributed a Know Before You Go brochure across the country
  • BRASS presented a Know Before You Go video to targeted audiences in New Hampshire, Maine, Colorado and Utah
  • BRASS is also producing an avalanche video of its own targeting competition snowsport athletes
  • BRASS Worked with U.S. Ski & Snowboard to develop policy around team safety, particularly in Europe and South America.
  • BRASS Identified a training program called Step Up that targets decision making around potentially dangerous situations
  • BRASS hosted a Level 1 avalanche course for U.S. Ski & Snowboard coaches and athletes.
     

Future initiatives for BRASS include additional Level 1 avalanche education courses, working with U.S. Ski & Snowboard Sport Education to develop coach-specific learning materials and developing a strong partnership with Sölden, Austria to become a leader in off-piste destination resort skiing.  For more information on BRASS please see www.brassfoundation.org.

Athletics Updates
Vice President, Athletics Luke Bodensteiner provided updates on the following items:

U.S. Ski & Snowboard High Performance Training Sites
This season, U.S. Ski & Snowboard formalized a variety of training partnership programs with its top clubs, academy programs, resorts and sport performance facilities. These programs include U.S. Ski & Snowboard team development sites, training sites, high performance centers and certified Centers of Excellence. The program has been successful so far, with more than 10 clubs and resorts recognized during the 2016-17 season.

Project Jump
The U.S. Ski & Snowboard Foundation, in conjunction with the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation, has spent the last year fundraising for an air bag training facility at the Utah Olympic Park in Park City, UT. The project is scheduled to be completed by the end of June 2017, allowing for development and elite-level athletes to train year-round and progress their tricks in a lower impact environment.

2019 World Championships
With the conclusion of the 2017 FIS World Championships in Sierra Nevada, Spain, the United States is taking center stage as the host nation for the biennial event. U.S. Ski & Snowboard, in partnership with the Utah Sports Commission, Park City Municipal Corporation and Park City Mountain, Deer Valley Resort and Solitude Mountain Resort, will host the world’s best athletes during the the 2019 FIS Freestyle, Snowboard and Freeski World Championships, scheduled for Feb. 1-10, 2019. Key initiatives for U.S. Ski & Snowboard include presenting the inclusion of new sports such as freeskiing big air and team aerials.

Olympic Selection Criteria
The Board approved the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Olympic Winter Games selection criteria for cross country skiing. The criteria will be presented to the United States Olympic Committee. Final announcement of all approved Olympic selection criteria will occur this summer.

Athlete Career and Education
U.S. Ski & Snowboard places a strong emphasis on development of the whole athlete. Athlete Career and Education plays a big role in this aspect, providing a variety of education, professional development and funding opportunities for the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Teams. The Marolt Athlete Endowment, a need-based annual grant, will continue to be a key factor in minimizing team costs. U.S. Ski & Snowboard is also collaborating with the T2 Foundation on grant and scholarship support.

During the 2016-17 season, U.S. Ski & Snowboard was able to provide $213,000 in college tuition reimbursement to 57 athletes attending 13 institutions of higher learning.

Athletes’ Council
U.S. Ski & Snowboard continues to have strong involvement from its athletes in its governance process. Current athlete board representatives include:

Rosie Brennan - Cross Country Athlete
Tricia Byrnes - Snowboarding Athlete
Bryan Fletcher - Ski Jumping/Nordic Combined Athlete
Heather McPhie Watanabe - Freestyle Athlete
Warner Nickerson - Alpine Athlete
Tom Wallisch - Freeskiing Athlete

Additionally, the following athletes participate in the governance process for U.S. Ski & Snowboard partner organizations:

Holly Brooks - USOC Athletes’ Advisory Council
Hannah Kearney & Sarah Hendrickson - FIS Athletes’ Council
Kikkan Randall - Candidate for IOC Athletes’ Commission

Foundation
The U.S. Ski & Snowboard Foundation had a record fundraising year. For the first time ever, the New York Gold Medal Gala raised over $1 million net. The Foundation also saw a high level of success with its Champions Club program at the 2017 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland - so much so that it has already secured multiple commitments for the 2019 Worlds in Are, Sweden.

Since launching the campaign in fall 2016, the Foundation has received pledges in excess of  $20 million for the Marolt Athlete Endowment. Money raised for this endowment will provide funding for athlete travel, elite coaching, education and career skills and transition support.

Executive Vice President and Chief Development Officer Trisha Worthington announced the promotion of Amanda Black to director of development, major giving.


Marketing & Communications
U.S. Ski & Snowboard once again grew its broadcast and digital numbers in 2016-17. The season closed with 28 million broadcast viewers, 85 million digital reach and 500 million reach through traditional media. Digital numbers have increased by over 50% in the past year, and by nearly 200% over the past three years. U.S. Ski & Snowboard has partnered with athletes and outside influencers and produced high quality content to grow the visibility of its sports.

Events
U.S. Ski & Snowboard hosted 30 World Cups in 2016-17, highlighted by two FIS alpine World Cup stops at Killington Resort and Squaw Valley Resort , and the Audi FIS Ski World Cup Finals in Aspen. Over 70,000 fans attended the three events. Squaw Valley had 1,000 athletes from local ski clubs and 50 U.S. Ski Team alumni in its community parade. Aspen generated $32.6 million in media ad revenue during March. In 2017-18, U.S. Ski & Snowboard will put on 32 Olympic qualification events in 60 days. The USA also played host to the 2017 FIS Nordic Junior and U23 World Ski Championships at Soldier Hollow and Utah Olympic Park. This was the largest international skiing event held at these venues since the 2002 Olympic Winter Games hosting over 700 athletes from across the world.

NASTAR continues to be a valuable property for U.S. Ski & Snowboard. Liberty Mutual Insurance came on as the new title sponsor this season and the NASTAR team launched a new, responsive website. 111 resorts across the country generated over 300,000 racer starts, a 17% increase from last season. Steamboat Springs once again hosted a successful National Championships. A host for the 2018 Liberty Mutual Insurance NASTAR National Championships will be announced in June.

Sport Committee Updates

Alpine (Provided by Darryl Landstrom)
The Alpine Sport Committee presented new equipment and course setting rules for the 2017-18 season. Details will be published at ussa.org.

Cross Country (Provided by Cami Thompson-Graves)
The Cross Country Sport Committee presented its revised operating procedures, including the expansion of the committee to include 10 divisional representatives and confirming four-year terms and term dates for all committee members. The committee also approved selection criteria for the U18, World Junior and U23 Championships. Key action items for the committee included approving schedules for Junior Nationals and the 2017-18 Super Tour.

Freeskiing Sport Committee (Provided by Tom Yaps)
The Freeskiing Sport Committee presented a definitive U.S. Freeski Athletic Pipeline for halfpipe, slopestyle and skicross. The pipeline was developed to better communicate to members the various levels of competitions available through U.S. Ski & Snowboard and the United States of America Snowboard and Freeski Association (USASA).

Freestyle Sport Committee (Provided by Chris Seemann)
The Freestyle Sport Committee indicated that Chris Seemann will serve as the committee’s board representative for another two years.

Ski Jumping/Nordic Combined (Provided by Martina Lussi)
The committee announced that FIS will be adding a full women’s nordic combined Continental Cup schedule and will include women’s nordic combined as an exhibition sport at the 2019 FIS Nordic Junior World Ski Championships.

In light of this news, USA Nordic will name a women’s nordic combined team for the 2017-18 season. The committee requested permission to add a women’s combined class to the 2018 U.S. Championships which was granted.

Snowboarding (Provided by Dylan Omlin)
The Snowboarding Sport Committee presented a definitive U.S. Snowboard Athletic Pipeline for halfpipe, slopestyle and skicross. The pipeline was developed to better communicate to members the various levels of competitions available through U.S. Ski & Snowboard and the USASA.

The committee also presented a U.S. Ski & Snowboard and USASA partnership document recognizing that both organizations play a key role in the development of competitive snowboarding and freeskiing in the U.S. and outlining areas in which the two organizations could collaborate to promote the growth of these sports. Collaboration areas include events and competition pipeline, marketing and promotions, coach education and club development.

FIS Update
U.S. Ski & Snowboard Chairman and FIS Vice President Dexter Paine indicated that the first phase of the FIS’ strategic planning initiative is going well. The international federation has employed TSE Consulting in Lausanne, Switzerland to examine organizational elements such as governance, term limits, committee structure, gender diversity and funding.
 

Recognition of Persons Passed
The Chairman called for a moment of silence to recognize the following individuals whom the organization lost this year:

Gary Black
For more than three decades, Ski Racing and its publisher Gary Black Jr. has been an impactful voice for alpine ski racing worldwide. He had a lifelong love for newspaper publishing, adventure and skiing.

John Bloomberg
A FIS World Champion senior ski racer and former Wall Street figure, John Bloomberg extended his passion for ski racing by serving on the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Foundation Board of Trustees.

Randy MacDonald
Randy MacDonald, a U.S. Ski & Snowboard Foundation Trustee, was a passionate friend of U.S. Ski & Snowboard athletes and was proud to have been able to support their dreams.

Hank McKee
During his 36-year career with Ski Racing, Hank McKee traveled the world to cover events in just about every skiing discipline.

Greg Needell
After a career ski racing for Stratton Mountain School and on the NCAA circuit, Greg Needell took to coaching, sharing his talents with athletes across the country. He also served as a U.S. Ski Team coach for eight years.

Sven Wilk
Sven Wiik was a tireless proponent of nordic skiing. He coached the 1960 U.S. Olympic cross country team as well as the 1958 World Championship team, designed the course for the American Birkebeiner, and was a member of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame.