While Summer may seem like the off-season for skimo its been full speed ahead for the USSMA Board. A few administrative highlights of the Summer have included attendance at the ISMF Plenary Assembly in Zakopane, Poland and the USSMA Annual Board Meeting (which ironically occurred in the 100-degree scorcher of Moab).
Here is what has transpired over the Summer.
ISMF Plenary Assembly
Each year the ISMF holds a meeting open to all members. The meeting entails a review of the past year, updated strategic plan, financial report, organizational structure, and voting on any changes to rules or official operation documents. The ISMF is on the right track and will continue to focus on growing the sport with marketing and exposure, work on improving world cup events, and continue to push for 2026 Olympic inclusion.
The USSMA will continue to participate in ISMF Plenary Assemblies going forward and continue to grow our communication with them to promote the sport.
The 2019 Plenary Assembly will be held in Turkey. And…we are proud to announce the USSMA will host the 2020 Plenary Assembly in the US.
Annual Board Meeting Highlights
The first annual USSMA board meeting was held on July 14th in Moab, UT.
Recognized Accomplishments – 2017/18
- Formal Board Creation
- Updated Colorado Incorporation
- 501c3 Non-Profit Tax Exempt Status Approved by IRS
- USOC Relationship Established
- USOC Compliant Bylaws Created and Adopted
- Paid Membership Program Established – 196 2017/18 Members
- New Website Launched
- Became the ISMF US Member!!!
- Race Director Guidelines and Race Sanctioning Process Finalized and Implemented
- Youth Development Focus Kick Off – Camps and Development Programming
- 6th place at the 2017 ISMF World Championships – Team Podium, Cadet Bronze Medal, Largest US Team
- Pan American Championships – US Participation and Youth earned 2 qualifying spots to the 2020 YOG’s
- Formalized National Team – Revamped 18/19 Worlds Team Qualification Process
- Athlete Advisory Committee Established
ISMF Recognition – Importance
After a couple years of work, the USSMA has become the official US Member of the International Ski Mountaineering Federation (ISMF), which now recognizes the USSMA as the governing body of Ski Mountaineering in the United States. What does this mean? This means that the USSMA can now apply to become the Recognized Sport Organization (RSO) with the US Olympic Committee (USOC). If skimo is to become an Olympic sport, the status would then change to National Governing Body (NGB), a USOC designation only given to Olympic sports. This simple act has strengthened the USSMA’s relationship with both the ISMF and the USOC, which will continue to be instrumental partners to the growth of the sport in the US.
Review and Approval of Strategic Plan
Below is a summary of the approved USSMA Strategic Plan.
The United States Ski Mountaineering Association is committed to the sustained growth of the sport through competitive excellence.
The mission of the United States Ski Mountaineering Association (USSMA) shall be to promote and grow the sport of Ski Mountaineering Racing in the United States. The USSMA sanctions and governs competitive ski mountaineering racing in the US and promotes and fosters recreational ski mountaineering through access, resources, education and community. It also endeavors to enable United States athletes to achieve competitive excellence in the sport of ski mountaineering.
The USSMA is inspired by the following ideals in all sport contexts. Our values guide our behaviors.
- Integrity through honesty and respect for fair play
- Teamwork through coordinated effort to utilize individual capabilities
- Tradition through respect for the history of the sport
- Relationships through sustained personal interactions, competition, and social engagements
- Spirit through embracing the ski mountaineering community through experiences
STRATEGIC FOCUS (GOALS & OBJECTIVES): Each area has a number of associated goals and objectives.
Governance – Position USSMA structure to run as a Non-Profit National Governing Body and become the Registered Sports Organization and future NGB of the US Olympic Committee.
Financial Sustainability – Generate revenue and develop business in order to become fiscally stable and support the growth, sanctioning, and athletic competition initiatives. Increase annual gross revenue of USSMA.
Grow the Sport – Program Development, awareness and recruitment; intro clinics for youth, female, adult combined.
Increase Athletic Performance – Achieve consistent international competitive success and maintain and strengthen the depth of talent in the USA; Achieve sustained competitive excellence on the field of play; Build up athlete pool; advanced youth clinics & programs.
Board Changes and the Establishment of Committees
Based on the USSMA bylaws, board terms are staggered to provide opportunity for more frequent changes. This June there were a handful of terms ending and a few other members that stepped off the board. Over the last year the solicitations have gone out via our email updates and social media for people to reach out if interested in getting involved with the USSMA. Based on received interest from people, the Nominating & Governance Committee discussed board member opportunities with them. As a result, candidates were determined and the N&G Committee extended board member offers. Consideration and intent of member selection was to cast a wider net to bring in more experience, expertise and geographic disparity to the USSMA leadership. Once final acceptance of new members is completed an announcement will be made.
Additionally, in accordance with USOC protocol the USSMA has established five “Standing Committees” consisting of Executive, Nominating & Governance, Judicial, Ethics, and Financial Committees. These committees provide the foundation to the organization. Additionally, The Board approved the formation of six “Functional Committees” consisting of an Athlete Advisory Council, Race Committee, DFM (Development, Fundraising and Membership Committee), Sport & Performance, Marketing Committee, and a World’s Committee. Each committee has a Chair that will lead and run the committee. These committees steer the direction of the USSMA by setting goals and accomplishing tasks in collaboration with the USSMA Board.
We have been asked many times, “how can I help with the USSMA?” The two best ways to help are 1. Become and member and recruit other members. 2. Assist a committee! It’s simple, low commitment with large impacts on the growth of the sport. And parents, know that cadets, and juniors are all eligible to assist committees. The youth are arguably the most important demographic and having them volunteer to assist a committee will not only get them further involved with the sport but also be a great resume bullet on that college application! Please reach out if you have any interest.
The 2019 World Championships occur from 9-16 March 2019 in Villars sur Ollon, Switzerland. The first USSMA World Team qualifier will occur just over four months from now on December 14-15, 2018 at Arapahoe Basin, CO and January 5-6, 2019 at Sunlight Mountain Resort, CO. The USSMA has been gaining significant attention the last couple years by its presence at World Cup Races, the 2017 World Championships and other International Races such as the Pierra Menta and Patroille de Glaciers. USSMAs goal going into the 2019 World Championships is to run a fair qualifying process, provide the logistical coordination and support for athletes to succeed, improve upon our 6th place finish, and gain two more YOG’s spots!
2020 Youth Games – Possible USA Participation
The method the IOC uses to allow nations to bring athletes may change, which would mean we might be able to participate in the 2020 YOG’s. The change would be from providing a nation a certain quota of athletes they can bring, to only allowing a nation to bring athletes which have earned spots through their International Federation qualification process. The USOC let us know they hope to have more information around September.
The ISMF YOG qualification system can be found here.
The max number of athlete spots a nation can earn is 4 (2 female, 2 male). The US did already earn 2 spots (1 female, 1 male) from the results of the Pan American Championships. The next and only other opportunity to earn spots is at World’s next year. If we place in the top 7 of the overall Cadet nation rankings we can additionally earn 2 more spots (1 female, 1 male) to bring us to the max quota of 4. I certainly wish we could earn more.
If the IOC does make the change and we are able to go, the USSMA will create a qualification process (approved by the USOC) to determine which athletes we be able to go. We will let everyone know as soon as we know more, likely September.
Have a great rest of your summer!
2018 ISMF Plenary Assembly