November 2014: Importance of Resort Partnerships

November is always a month of anticipation in our sports with USSA clubs and athletes. Athletes are understandably anxious to get on snow and make final preparation for the competition season ahead.

It’s a time of year when the USSA really feels the benefit of partnership with the resort industry in America. In November, there’s nowhere in the world with on-snow training opportunities like we have in the USA – especially in Colorado and Utah. And when mother nature doesn’t cooperate, resorts are put into a challenging position.

We’re seeing that right now with our longtime partners at Copper Mountain. While Copper needs to keep a focus on opening for the public this weekend, significant resources have been deployed to open the U.S. Ski Team Speed Center at Copper, plus additional terrain, to give regional and national team athletes a place to train beginning last weekend.

One of the reasons we like to partner with Copper is its culture. Whether it’s prepping the Speed Center for downhill training or crafting a 22-foot halfpipe for the Dec. 1 kickoff of the Sprint U.S. Grand Prix, coaches and athletes know they can count on Copper. Competition is engrained in its culture!

That same scenario is playing out at other Colorado resorts. Aspen Highlands and the Aspen Valley Ski Club are finishing a moguls course, while Aspen Mountain is prepping for the Thanksgiving Audi FIS Alpine World Cup. Vail is building out speed and tech courses with Ski and Snowboard Club Vail as snowguns blanket Birds of Prey at nearby Beaver Creek. Utah’s Soldier Hollow is gearing up for its December Nordic combined Continental Cup. Snow guns are full gas at the Utah Olympic Park for early season ski jumping and aerials, while just over the hill at Gorgoza snowboardcross training features are being built. Resorts in other parts of the country, like Mammoth Mountain, an Official Training Grounds of U.S. Snowboarding and U.S. Freeskiing, are preparing to host our teams at key times during the season.

Why do resorts all pitch in? Everyone loves to be a part of helping athletes achieve their dreams. It’s a part of the culture of our sport. These are the kids who grew up having fun on their mountains and trails. Now they have their sights set on bigger goals. Our industry wants to be a part of that, helping young athletes be successful.

As a USSA coach, club official, athlete, parent, volunteer, staff member or recreational skier or snowboarder, now is the time to say thanks. Our success as an organization with our sports is contingent on partnerships. The simple thank you to the lift operator, snowmaker or resort manager will show them that you care.

Regardless of where you live, ski or ride, let’s make November a month to thank our resort partners for giving us a playing field for the sport we love.


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