Ski Mountaineering Community:
In August 2016, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) officially ‘recognized’ the International Ski Mountaineering Federation (ISMF), an important step into future Olympic inclusion. https://www.
In July 2017, the IOC announced that the sport of Ski Mountaineering Racing was going to be included in the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Lausanne, Switzerland in 2020. This is another very important step in future Olympic inclusion, and we at the USSMA were proud and excited at the opportunity to include US athletes in the prestigious YOG! https://www.olympic.org/
Unfortunately, in the winter of 2017/18, we have found out that while we can officially qualify to earn athletes spots for the YOG via the ISMF, the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) typically declines to send athletes to the YOG if the sport is not yet an official Olympic sport. We have had some very positive and educational conversations with the USOC and have learned the IOC only provides a limited number of athlete spots for each nation to bring, and there isn’t even enough to represent all current Olympic sports. Given this, we’ve been told they most certainly won’t allocate any athlete spots to ski mountaineering and therefore there will be no American representation in the 2020 Lausanne YOG’s.
While this is a frustrating and unfortunate finding, we at the USSMA believe that this is a small hurdle in the process of Olympic participation in 2022 or 2026. This same thing happened with USA Climbing not long ago and they are now in the Olympics.
We strongly encourage the continued participation of younger athletes as we’re confident ski mountaineering will be an Olympic sport in the future. The future of the sport is our youth and we look forward to supporting their Olympic aspirations. Put another way, the athletes who have been working hard to qualify for the YOG’s will be 24 or 25 years old in 2026, the PRIME age to be an Olympian.
Please let us know if you have any questions, or want to know how you can become more involved in the future of our sport!
Ram and the USSMA Board