Summer Greetings from the USSMA!

Summer Greetings!!!

While many of you have kids returning to school already, don't forget summer doesn't end until September 22nd.  That means you still have plenty of time to run, bike, hike, and play before the winter skimo season begins.

That said, the USSMA board and others have been working over the summer on many items.  Updates below...

2020 Youth Olympic Games

If you haven't heard already, in July the International Olympic Committee announced ski mountaineering will be included in the 2020 Lausanne Youth Olympic Games!  This is very exciting and keeping the trajectory of hopefully becoming included in the 2022 Olympics. 

ISMF Press Release

With this the USSMA has continued discussions with the USOC and we continue to plan and work toward developing and supporting Olympic athletes in the future.  If you know of a young athlete who will be in the 17-18 age range in 2020 and are interested in the possibility of competing in the Youth Olympic Games, please contact me and Joe Howdyshell (National Team Coach). ram@ussma.org / joeh@ussma.org

Race Sanctioning and Info

Updates and new documentation have been created for USSMA Race Sanctioning and USSMA role in races.

If you are a member / racer, race director, race location, or associated in any way to racing, please review the info.  There is something for everyone to learn and understand as we continue to develop our race support around our growing sport. 

Please remember, the USSMA does NOT put on races.  The USSMA is the governing body of the sport, which provides Race Directors and local organizing committees guidance, resources, and tools to put on well orgnaized races that follow ISMF/USSMA rules and regulations.  USSMA race sanctioning provides race directors the opportunity to partner with the USSMA in which they agree to follow rules and regulations set forth by the USSMA with a goal of providing consistent high-quality race experiences for participants.

Please check out the updated Race Sanctioning information on the new web page.

Highlighted Updates for the 2017-18 Season

  • Age Divisions have been updated to be more in sync with the ISMF.  Sanctioned races will follow the new format.  Please be sure to familiarize yourself with the new age divisions.
  • Only USSMA sanctioned races will be included in the Points Sereis.
  • There will be a USSMA 2018 National Cup Series.  The National Cup Series will include a small subset of USSMA sanctioned races that are meant to showcase the sport and promote its growth.  The concept is to attract as many participants as possible to compete in each of the series races in an attempt to earn the top ranking of combined race performances.  At the end of the season, the USSMA will provide award medals to the top 3 male and female athletes for Individual, Sprint, and Vertical races.  Races will need to apply for sanctioning and inclusion in the National Cup Series and will need to meet a number of requirements.
  • Starting in the 2017/18 season, a USSMA Membership license will be REQUIRED to participate in USSMA sanctioned Races. Annual USSMA license will be available for purchase online SOON.  Cost will be $40.  Once you have purchased the membership you will be provided a license number that will be required for registration of USSMA sanctioned races.  As a part of the membership you will accumulate points for the national rankings determined by USSMA sanctioned races.  We will be working on additional member benefits, so stay tuned!

The 2017-18 Race schedule is quickly filling in.  In the coming weeks, most races will be included, so please be sure to check it out and start planning!

Please direct Race related questions me and Nick Francis (Race Chair).  ram@ussma.org / nick@ussma.org

There continues to be a lot going on with the USSMA, ISMF, and the growth of the sport in general.  We are excited about the road ahead and look forward to the upcoming season.

Enjoy the rest of your summer and start training for the race season!

USSMA Spring Update

Greetings from the USSMA! 

April is upon us and with it Spring skiing is now in full force.  We hope you are taking advantage of the longer days, warmer temps and a conditioned body (through skimo Racing of course) to enjoy this great time of year!

For many of us the skimo race season has ended. There are however, still a few great races on the calendar (see below).  Whether you’re still racing or you’ve moved on to other activities, the USSMA wants to thank everyone for a great season.  What a season it was!  In gathering data for an International Ski Mountaineering Federation (ISMF) survey, we counted almost 100 ski mountaineering races in the US this season.  The growth of our sport is undeniable and statistics like this are indicative of the direction the sport is heading.  Congratulations and thank you to everyone that has raced, directed, volunteered, hosted, supported, cheered and participated in a skimo race or event in any way, shape or form.  You are the reason the sport is growing and you are the reason we have been successful.

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USSMA AAC Survey Results

Earlier this season the USSMA Athlete Advisory Council distributed a survey to all USSMA members and other skimo participants.  In receiving the results of this survey the USSMA obtained incredibly valuable information from well over 100 racers.  The USSMA is in the process of addressing the results of the survey and working ways to create actionable steps forward to address the issues, concerns and interests of all skimo athletes.  In the interim, here are a few statistics to digest:

       Over 90% of participants are willing to pay between $25-$50 for an annual USSMA membership to help promote, grow and govern the sport of skimo in the United States.

       As benefits for USSMA membership, survey participants would like to receive (choosing their top 2) Clinics (65%), Education (45%) and Retail discounts (47%).

       The majority of skimo athletes identify as athletes from trail running (68%), mountain biking (44%), sport climbing (24%), and road biking (17%).

       To help grow the sport, people felt the USSMA should have more videos and hands on clinics in order to teach people about the sport.  Short, fun videos and clinics with National Team/Coaches will help promote and grow the sport. 

       To attract more beginners, the USSMA should have more non-competitive skimo events, non-competitive races, kids races, and beginner only clinics.

       The top reasons people participate in skimo races is to ski beautiful terrain (81%) and go hard and fast (74%) and to socialize (50%). 

        65% of participants consider the National Points and Race Series important to them.

       The biggest challenges for racers are course marking (74%), poor information dissemination (45%) and poor or no skin tracks (29%).

       The preponderance of those surveyed would like to see World Championship team qualifying races in Colorado (54%) and Utah (47%) followed by Wyoming (18%) and Vermont (17%).

       Most people get their USSMA news via emails, ussma.org, Facebook in that order.  And 75% of those surveyed follow USSMA on some sort of social media.  

The USSMA is committed to its members (present and future) and is addressing the results of the survey with the intention to invoke changes and adjustments where necessary in order to meet member desires. 

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From the Race Department

The season is nearing an end, but there are still a few big events on the calendar in the coming weeks and months.

       Father Dyer Postal Route Race - 4/8 Leadville, CO  http://www.fatherdyerpostalroute.com

       Beartooth Basin Summer Shredfest - 6/17 Beartooth Pass, MT (west of Redlodge) https://www.freeskiers.org/events/events-map/event/612-beartooth-basin-fwq-summer-shredfest-2.html

2017/18 National Points Series rankings have now been posted! Click here to see results!

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A Glimpse at Next Season

The USSMA National Race Series will return next season and planning has already begun.  With the absence of the World Championships the National Race Series will be the focal point of the race scene.  The USSMA intends to ensure these races are top notch, fun, challenging and competitive.  We'll also be reviewing the points series to ensure it's a competitive and fair ranking system.

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Organizational Structure

The USSMA is establishing new bylaws that will align the governing body with the requirements outlined by the US Olympic Committee (USOC) to ensure the USSMA is recognized as the official sports organization aligned as a USOC member.  Furthermore, the USSMA is routinely in contact with the ISMF to ensure skimo racing in the U.S. is in compliance with ISMF standards and regulations.  As the sport progresses towards Olympic status we can assure all USSMA members that USA Ski Mountaineering will be amongst the first to know and implement new policies and regulations to ensure athletic and organizational compliance.

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Budget and Fundraising

With the vision to grow the sport and the dream of a US Skimo Olympic Team in mind, the USSMA has begun establishing a budget to support such an endeavor.  As you might imagine this is not easy nor does it amount to a small budget, but dreams are not worth dreaming if they’re not big.  The USSMA is dreaming big and therefore has people actively soliciting sponsorships and donations in order to underwrite our lofty objectives.  We anticipate establishing relationships with sponsors that will enable the USSMA to financially support, in parts, a National Team, Developmental Clinics and other such ventures that will grow the sport and improve our international standing. 

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Marketing and Outreach

The USSMA wants to improve communication to ensure you have the information you need to race, learn, socialize and participate in any and all skimo events across the U.S.  With this, we hope to update our website (USSMA.org) over the summer.  However, with limited resources to enable such an upgrade we are seeking out individuals with web development skills that would be interested in volunteering to assist with this important task?  If this is something you would like to assist with please reach out to ram@ussma.org.

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Membership

The people have spoken! The word is that the people want more from the USSMA and are willing to give more to get more.  The USSMA is working toward defining the best ways we can add value to membership and plan to roll out a new annual license program for next season that is beneficial to the members and the organization.  Stay tuned.

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In Closing

Its been an incredible year.  It started in August with the IOC’s announcement of Skimo’s possible place in the Olympic Games.  It continued on through World Team qualifiers and the National Championships along with all the other races and events across the country.  It carried on through USA’s best ever 6th Place finish at the World Championships.  And now the season has brought us into and through the Spring. Stay tuned for announcements and news that will impact your training, scheduling and uphill lifestyles!

Have a great Spring!

USSMA

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