After an action-packed few months, the 2014-15 season has come to an end as U.S. athletes brought home a total of eight World Cup globes, 16 World Championship medals and 13 X Games medals. In addition to those Best in the World results, we saw great success on home soil with the 2015 FIS Alpine Ski World Championships in Vail/Beaver Creek. The USSA was also able to spearhead the broadcasting and streaming of the Alpine and Nordic World Championships, showcasing our sports to millions of fans all over the United States and the world.
When I took the reins at the USSA last year, it was my goal to broaden the organization’s reach and embrace people involved at every level of our sports. I spent this season on the road traveling to divisions and clubs, watching USSA and college races and engaging with our elite teams in the field. I met with coaches, parents, USSA members and non-members. This year, at the USSA Congress May 13-17, we will share the changes the USSA has made in the past year to better encompass everyone who has a passion for our sports, whether they are competing or just watching from the sidelines.
Among the changes that will be introduced is a new approach to our membership programs, lowering many costs and opening USSA membership to thousands of new sport enthusiasts. With new membership programs in each sport, we will better address the needs of a wider range of constituents from athletes to volunteers to parents with appropriately priced memberships, a cap on total family costs and enhanced benefits.
I look forward to sharing these new developments with all of you in May.
President and CEO at USSA
New U.S. Ski Team Alpine Development Director
Recognizing the importance of alpine development in the United States, the USSA has hired Dartmouth College’s Chip Knight to take on the role of U.S. Ski Team alpine development director. Knight’s position will be responsible for all aspects of domestic alpine development and will report to Alpine Director Patrick Riml. Since assuming the position of Alpine Director in 2011, Riml has placed a greater emphasis on development, expanding national development projects while maintaining a consistent development philosophy nationwide. The USSA has also expanded its operational support for development, both at the regional and national levels.
The USSA is looking at collegiate skiing as a more integral part of the overall pipeline. The USSA NCAA Working Group, led by Domestic Program Director Michelle Demschar, is researching ways the USSA can better collaborate with colleges to provide enhanced training possibilities and support development athletes.
This season, expanded outreach to USSA clubs resulted in a 33% increase in the number of SkillsQuest tournaments across the country. SkillsQuest is an innovative USSA program creating an educational platform to teach and evaluate basic skiing skills for young ski racers.