USSA
 

CEO Update: February 2017

Members of the U.S. Skiing and Snowboarding family across the country are preparing to close out yet another successful season on snow. We’re doing the same, carrying the momentum from athletic and organizational goals already accomplished, including top results at alpine and nordic Worlds and Junior Worlds, into the final events of the season.

After winning three medals each at Alpine and Nordic World Championships, our final major events are underway, including the 2017 FIS Freestyle Ski & Snowboard World Championships, the women’s alpine World Cup at Squaw Valley and World Cup finals in Aspen.

We also continue to focus on initiatives to protect the fair and safe aspects of our sports for USSA athletes. In February, the USSA organized a presentation from U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) President and CEO Travis Tygart to hundreds of young international athletes at the 2017 FIS Nordic Junior Worlds, stressing the principles of clean sport including both fair play and personal health. The fight for clean sport is a very important battle, and we all must unite behind it to ensure the integrity of competitive skiing and riding in the future. There is a wealth of activity and work in progress to use this opportunity following the McLaren reports, the Rio Summer Olympic Games and the coming PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games. Clean sport has never had a higher profile.

In the pursuit of safe sport, the USOC just launched its U.S. Center for SafeSport, a new, independent entity tasked with abuse prevention and response programming that will be a valuable resource for maintaining safe environments for athletes in all Olympic sports.

As the season wraps up, our entire organization will begin planning for the Olympic year. We continue to explore the ways in which we can make the USSA a stronger organization, bringing all of our stakeholders together in the pursuit of our vision, mission, values and goals. USSA Congress will be an opportunity for those in attendance to provide insight and feedback on our work over the past year. We will also be unveiling our new brand that brings all of our athletes and teams together in pursuit of their dreams. This concept of one team supports our goals, ties our independent and collective efforts and success together in a way that makes all of us, and our organization, stronger. We are looking forward to seeing those that attend Congress May 9-13 in Park City, UT. We will have time together for discussion and celebration.

As always, feel free to write me back on any topic! It is a honor to serve all of you.

Tiger Shaw
President and CEO
U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association

 

USOC Launches SafeSport Center
The USSA’s partnership with the United States Olympic Committee’s (USOC) SafeSport program is key to providing an athletic environment free from physical, emotional and sexual abuse. The USOC has externalized its SafeSport program and launched the U.S. Center for SafeSport  –  an independent, non-profit organization based in Denver, CO that will administer abuse prevention and response programming nationally. The new Center is a great source of information for all organizational stakeholders. More details are available at www.safesport.org and on USSA’s website.

Fans Tune In to St. Moritz 2017
U.S. Ski Team athletes Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin stole the show at the 2017 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland. Vonn, who skied to an impressive fifth place in the alpine combined, secured a bronze medal in her signature downhill event. Shiffrin brought home two medals, silver in giant slalom and another gold in slalom, becoming the first woman in seventy-eight years to win three consecutive slalom titles.

Ski racing fans across the country were able to watch these great moments from Vonn, Shiffrin and the rest of the U.S. Ski Team thanks to USSA’s partnership with NBC Sports Group, which featured live streaming of all events on NBCSports.com plus live or same-day coverage of events on NBC and NBCSN. Over 5 million people tuned in to watch the TV broadcast over the two-week period, with USSA’s digital coverage of the event reaching 7 million.

Historic Cross Country Performances at Lahti 2017
A strong contingent of female athletes stepped up to bring home three medals for the U.S. Ski Team at the 2017 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Lahti, Finland. Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall opened Worlds with silver and bronze in the freestyle sprint. It was the second straight World Championships where the U.S. women took two of three medals in a single race. Three days later, Diggins and Sadie Bjornsen won bronze in the team classic sprint, the first classic technique medal ever for the USA since the two disciplines were established. Her performances in Lahti brought Diggins’ Worlds medal total to four, a U.S. record. Thanks to USSA's partnership on broadcast rights, the event was seen on U.S television daily for the first time ever, as well as live streaming of all events.

Moguls Skiers Bring Home Dual Medals at Sierra Nevada 2017
Brad Wilson and Jaelin Kauf set the tone for the 2017 FIS Freestyle Ski & Snowboard World Championships on March 9, bringing home the silver and bronze medals in dual moguls. Wilson’s silver medal was the first World Championship medal of his career and the best World Championships result for the U.S. men’s mogul team since Patrick Deneen’s mogul win in 2009. It was Kauf’s World Championship debut and also her first medal. Action in Sierra Nevada continues through March 19 with aerials, halfpipe, slopestyle, snowboardcross, skicross and PGS

USA Hosts Successful Nordic Junior World Championships
The legacy venues from the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Utah served as the site of a very successful FIS Nordic Junior World Championships beginning in late January. Over 500 athletes from nearly 40 nations took part in the weeklong event. Rarely has the Junior Worlds event been held at such prestigious venues. High-level competitions on the Olympic venues concluded with medals ceremonies  against the backdrop of colorful ice castles in Midway, UT.

The event was also successful athletically for the USA. Junior Katharine Ogden from Stratton Mountain School won silver in the skiathlon, then capping off the championships with the women's relay team achieving its dream with a bronze medal. In ski jumping, the Norge Ski Club's Casey Larson was eighth - one of the best results ever by an American.

Fans who weren’t able to attend the Junior Worlds were able to watch all of the events live thanks to a partnership between the National Nordic Foundation (NNF), the International Ski Federation (FIS) and the USSA. The pay-per-view service, which was available internationally, garnered 3,360 subscriptions from 32 different countries and over 8,000 hours of viewership and helped raise money to support NNF causes.

Cross Country Anti-Doping Presentation
Athletes attending the International Ski Federation’s 2017 Junior Nordic and U23 World Championships in Utah showed their interest in clean sport, with a packed house attending a presentation from U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) President and CEO Travis Tygart. More than 100 athletes, coaches and team personnel from a dozen nations attended the hour-long session that was organized by the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA).

Toyota U.S. Grand Prix Wraps Up 21st Season
With new title sponsor Toyota on board, the U.S. Grand Prix hosted another successful tour in 2016-17. The partnership with Toyota pairs one of the world’s top automakers and a strong supporter of outdoor lifestyle with the longest running winter sports action series. Stops on the tour included halfpipe and big air snowboarding at Copper Mountain, snowboardcross and skicross at new world cup venue Solitude Mountain Resort and halfpipe and slopestyle at Mammoth Mountain. The Toyota U.S. Grand Prix continued to post some of the strongest broadcast ratings and digital impressions, with over 6 million fans tuning in to broadcast coverage on NBC and NBCSN, and 3 million digital impressions to date.

Alpine Juniors See Success at Domestic Performance Series and in Europe
Now in its second season, the USSA National Performance Series continues to bring together a broader number of U16 and U19 athletes into an elite head-to-head training and racing environment. The NPS exposes young athletes to their national peers on a regular basis, stimulating long-term growth and accelerating development toward international competition. Thank you to Copper Mountain, Waterville Valley, Burke Mountain Resort and Aspen Snowmass for hosting events this season.

Based on NPS results, 13 U16 athletes from seven different USSA clubs traveled to Europe to compete in the 7 Nations Cup - one of Europe’s premier U16 events. Hosted by a different nation in Europe each year, the 7 Nations Cup gives young, promising talent from the U.S. an opportunity to ski against Europe’s best in a deeply competitive field. Congratulations to Kellen Kinsella (Ski & Snowboard Club Vail) for a win in the men’s giant slalom and a second place finish in slalom. The U.S. had a total of four athletes finish in the top 10 across both competitions.

Alpine Juniors Sweep Gold at Junior Worlds
Sam Morse and Alice Merryweather made history in Are, Sweden on March 8, both taking home gold in the downhill at the 2017 FIS Junior World Ski Championships. With downhill wins from three different athletes in the last two years, the results demonstrate the depth that the USSA has worked to build within its alpine development programs. Are will be the host of the FIS World Ski Championships in 2019.

Project Jump Update
This past summer, the USSA launched the Project Jump initiative to create a new training facility for snowboarders and freeskiers at the Utah Olympic Park in Park City. The facility will feature one large and one medium jump with an artificial in-run to an airbag, and one large and one medium for winter use. Athletes have already been able to take advantage of the winter jump this season and the goal remains to have athletes training on the airbag by June 2017, giving them ample training time prior to the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.

Foundation Ramps Up Athlete Support
The USSA's U.S. Ski and Snowboard Foundation has had a strong season raising funds to support athletic programs. In an innovative approach to its longstanding Olympic Champions Club program, the foundation added a version at this year's Alpine World Ski Championships in St. Moritz. It was a highly successful program to bring donors to the championships and to raise money to support the team. With several international competitions being held domestically, the Foundation is gearing up to host fundraising events in Squaw and Aspen to capitalize on the excitement of the end of the year races in the USA.

Freestyle World Cups Produce Strong Broadcast Numbers
The two domestic FIS Freestyle World Cup stops at Lake Placid, NY and Deer Valley Resort, UT not only produced strong athletic results for the U.S. Ski Team but also posted some of the highest TV rating and total viewership numbers for the season. 7.5 million viewers tuned in to watch both the Putnam Investments Lake Placid Freestyle Cup and the Visa Freestyle International. The U.S. Ski Team brought home seven podium finishes across the two events, including wins from moguls athlete Morgan Schild and aerials athlete Ashley Caldwell. The Lake Placid Olympic Regional Development Authority and Deer Valley Resort continue to be dedicated USSA event partners and supporters of the freestyle community.

NASTAR National Championships
After a winter full of races and regional championships around the country, the NASTAR community is gearing up for the 2017 Liberty Mutual NASTAR National Championships in Steamboat, CO March 20-26. Participants will be treated to a week of free concerts, awards receptions, friends and family races, U.S. Ski Team athlete appearances and, of course, ski racing! More information is available at www.nastar.com.

USSA Masters Update
After a busy season with over 150 racing events, the USSA Masters racers will gather for their national championships March 13-18 at Mammoth Mountain, CA. This year’s nationals will feature four events: downhill, super G, giant slalom and slalom. Participants from across the country will compete for individual age class and combined titles, plus the Division Champion Cup and the honor to be named to the 2018 Spyder National Team based on their Nationals results.

USSA Membership Tools
This season marked the launch of USSA’s new searchable online membership knowledge base where the public has 24/7 access to over 250 articles including FAQ’s and policies and procedures. With the addition of the online knowledge base, members now have multiple user-friendly channels to connect with USSA Member Services, including the following:

  • Online knowledge base
  • Online chat
  • Phone
  • Email  

Additional options such as SMS text message are being explored for future seasons.

Sport Education - Club Certification
The USSA’s club certification program advanced two clubs, Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation and Mt. Mansfield Ski Club, to gold level certification this season. There are currently seven new podium certification candidates, and nine clubs will be seeking re-certification during the 2017-18 season. Information on the club certification process is available at www.ussa.org.

Sport Education - Level 100 Coach Certification
Coach development manager Chris Packert is collaborating with coach working groups and sport leaders in redesigning the USSA Level 100 coach certification program for all sports. The intent of the redesign is to leverage best practices and knowledge from all USSA sports to develop a program that significantly raises the bar on the education a coach will receive to achieve a Level 100 Certification. The new program will consist of several online modules to be completed prior to an on-snow clinic and assessment. Once the Level 100 Program is completed this summer, work will begin to redesign the Level 200 programs.

USSA Board of Directors Meeting
The USSA Board of Directors will be hosting a telephonic board meeting on March 13. A short recap and meeting minutes will be posted at www.ussa.org.

2017 Club Development Conference
The 2017 USSA Club Excellence is scheduled for May 7-8, 2017.
This year’s conference will be building on the momentum of the past few years, with expanded workshops, breakout sessions and panel discussions oriented around best principles and practices in key areas of athletics, business and community. Registration is now open at www.ussa.org.

2017 USSA Congress
Save the date! The 2017 USSA Congress is scheduled for May 9-13. Registration information and a full schedule are available at www.ussa.org.

New Organizational Brand Rollout
Did you catch a glimpse of the new brand image on athletes competing last month? The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association will formally unveil its new brand statement and marks at USSA Congress this May in Park City. Not only will it be a fresh mark, but it will represent a unification designed to make the organization stronger and more attractive to our members and fans, as well as our sponsors and donors, growing revenue to support athletic programs. It's a refreshing change that will impact every level of our organization in a very positive way. Plan to join us for USSA Congress 2017 to learn more.