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Ski Mountaineering World Championship in Alpago-Piancavallo

The US National Team is headed to the Ski Mountaineering World Championship in Alpago-Piancavallo Italy next week.

The team of 25 athletes and 3 staff have begun making their way to Italy to represent the US at the highest level of the sport.

Event Website: http://www.alpagopiancavallo2017.it/

Get to know the US National Team: http://www.ussma.org/2017-us-national-team

Over the next week we'll continue to post pictures and information about the athletes and races.

Stay tuned and cheer on the USSMA Athletes!

2017 US National Champions

VERTICAL
Senior Open Men: John Gaston

Senior Open Women: Kristi Knecht

Vet Men 45+: Mike Englehardt

Vet Women 45+: Andrea Koenig

U18 Men: Henry Hanes

U18 Women: Morgan Fortin
__________________________________________

INDIVIDUAL
Senior Open Men: John Gaston

Senior Open Women: Jessie Young

Vet Men 45+: Jamie Kilcoyne

Vet Women 45+: Anne Gonzales

U18 Men: Henry Hanes

U18 Women: Morgan Fortin
___________________________________________

SPRINT
Senior Open Men: John Gaston

Senior Open Women: Janelle Smiley

U23 College Men: Arthur Whitehead

U18 Men: Henry Hanes
___________________________________________

TEAMS
Senior Open Men: John Gaston / Max Taam

Senior Open Women: Janelle Smiley / Jessie Young

CO-ED Open: Aisha Weinhold / Steve Denny

Athlete Advisory Council - Winter 2017 Survey

Skimo Athletes:

Hope you have enjoyed the fantastic snow that has been piling up this season.  Please take a moment to share your voice and suggestions to join and help us make US Skimo even better!  This is your chance to contribute to better races, a deeper field, more fun and inclusive events.  Let us know what we can all do together to step it up!

 >>>CLICK HERE TO TAKE THE SURVEY<<<

Thanks! 

Teague Holmes / Jannel Smiley
USSMA Athlete Advisors

2017 National Team

Announcing the 2017 National Team:
 
Thank you to everyone that participated in qualifying races.  We had some great turn outs and battles and I hope everyone had a great time.
 
2017 US National Team: 
(Listed in alphabetical order.)
 
Senior Women
Michel Adrian
Jaime Brede 
Anne Gonzales
Kristi Knecht
Nikki LaRochelle
Lindsay Plant
Najeeby Quinn
Janelle Smiley
Jesse Young 
 
Senior Men
Scott Archer
Jon Brown
Eric Carter
Mike Foote
John Gaston
Tom Goth
Paul Hamilton
Teague Holmes
Rory Kelly
Scott Simmons
Max Taam
 
Espoir Men (21-23yrs)
Cam Smith
 
Junior Men (18-20yrs)
Ian Clarke
 
Cadet Women (15-17yrs)
Morgan Fortin
 
Cadet Men (15-17yrs)
Henry Boyd
Henry Haines
Quinn Simmons
 
The team will be representing the US next month at the ISMF Ski Mountaineering World Championships in Italy from February 23 – March 2.  
 
Congratulations to the 2017 US National Team!  We wish you the best at Worlds!
Ram

USSMA January 12th Update

US World Championships Team - Sunlight Qualifying Races
The second qualifying event weekend will be held this weekend at Sunlight Mountain, January 14th and 15th.  Be sure to check the COSMIC website for race details and registration.  While the USSMA will be on hand to inspect and review courses and assist with marshaling, the races are put on by the COSMIC team.
 
Sprint Selection Criteria:
The top 4 men and women finishers at the Heathen Challenge Sprint event will qualify for the worlds sprint event.
 
Teams Selection Criteria:
The top 8 men and women finishers at the Heathen Challenge Individual event will qualify for the worlds teams event.
 
Individual Selection Criteria:
The fourth and final slot for the individual event will be awarded to the top male and female finisher at the Heathen Challenge event that did not qualify at Northwest Passage. 
 
Athletes who qualify for the World Championship team will be notified immediately after the Sunlight weekend, with an official invitation sent out 1/17/17, and will have one week to either confirm or deny their spot on the world championship team.  
 
Good luck and have fun racing!
 
2017 USSMA Points 
The USSMA is pleased to publish the 2017 Points and Rankings System. The USSMA Points List is based on the ISMF World Cup Point classification as outlined in Section 2.1 of the “ISMF Sporting and Ranking Rules”. The goal of the Points List is to provide an accurate measurement tool for competitors’ results. Check out the points page to see a list of Points Races.
 
Competitors wishing to score points will be required to obtain a USSMA license.  For 2017, a USSMA license is free.  Click here to apply for a license.  The license is used to identify you as a racer and will be required on registrations for events if you are in the race/elite category.  Updated points rankings will be posted on the website next week. 
 
USSMA 2017 Planning Continued – Areas of Focus
In my last communication I shared with you the areas of focus we have identified.  Since then we have identified teams and leaders of each area of focus and have plans and next steps in place to drive each forward.  
 
Below is a summary of the 2016-17 USSMA Areas of Focus.  Each focus area has been prioritized, has an officer team lead, and supporting USSMA board/team participants.  They will also be soliciting racers and others who have expertise in these areas and are willing to provide input or assist.  If there are areas of focus that you would like to get involved in please let me know and I'll inform the team leads so they can reach out to you. 
 
Going forward, I will be soliciting status updates from team leads on a monthly basis.  I will consolidate the updates and communicate them out to the greater board / team.  I will also be holding monthly officer board meetings and communicate out meeting minutes.  And, of course, provide ongoing updates to the race community.
 
My intent is to be transparent and keep communication frequent and open as we work together as a team to accomplish our goals.
 
2016-17 USSMA Areas of Focus
 
Organizational Structure
Priority Level: High
Leader: Ram Mikulas
Participants: Matt Hickey, Nick Francis, Chad Brackelsberg, Jonah Adley
  • Establish non-profit status and EIN, including official bylaws and operating structure.
  • Create an Internal Communication strategy.
Budget 
Priority Level: High
Leader: Nick Francis
Participants: Ram Mikulas, Chad Brackelsberg, Pete Swenson
  • Review existing budget and begin building out a more formal one to include all new initiatives.
Fund Raising
Priority Level: High
Leader: Matt Hickey
Participants: Ram Mikulas, Nick Francis, Joe Howdyshell, Pete Swenson, Joe Risi
  • Review existing strategy / plan and determine next steps.  
  • Initiate a Sponsorship strategy / plan and determine next steps.
USOC
Priority Level: High
Leader: Chad Brackelsberg
Participants: Ram Mikulas, Matt Hickey, Nick Francis, Pete Swenson
  • Review existing engagement strategy / plan and determine next steps.
External Communication and Marketing
Priority Level: Medium
Leader: Ram Mikulas
Participants: Matt Hickey, Nick Francis, Chad Brackelsberg, Joe Howdyshell, Evan Johnson, Teague Holmes, Joe Risi, Youth Rep TBD
  • Develop and implement communications plans for racers, press/media, race directors, etc.
  • Review website, social media, email campaigns, etc.
PRO2022 (Project 2022) &Youth Development
Priority Level: Medium
Leader: Pete Swenson / Joe Howdyshell
Participants: Ram Mikulas, Matt Hickey, Chad Brackelsberg, Teague Holmes, Janelle Smiley, Stevie Thomson, Joe Risi, Rhett Griggs, Youth Rep TBD
  • Review existing strategy / plan, next steps, and ongoing execution and communication.
  • Get all board members up to speed on the vision, strategy, and plan.
  • Communicate externally to the race community.
US Coaching Development
Priority Level: Medium
Leader: Joe Howdyshell
Participants: Chad Brackelsberg, Pete Swenson, Teague Holmes, Janelle Smiley
  • Review existing strategy / plan and determine next steps.
  • Identify and train coaches to teach the PRO2022 camps.
  • Identify and schedule all 2017 camps.
  • Review next steps and ongoing execution and communication.
Race
Priority Level: Medium
Leader: Nick Francis
Participants: Ram Mikulas, Matt Hickey, Chad Brakelsberg, Pete Swenson, Jerimy Arnold, Joe Risi, Jonathan Shefftz, Jeff Rivest, Eric Bunce
  • Review USSMA role in working with and assisting races and events.
  • Review Race Director support strategy and plan.
  • Communication and execution of 2017 Points System.  And, review opportunities for future enhancements/changes.
Worlds 
Priority Level: Medium
Leader: Chad Brackelsberg
  • Participants: Ram Mikulas, Matt Hickey, Nick Francis, Joe Howdyshell
  • Review and execution of 2017 plan.  Traveling USSMA staff: Chad, Ram, Matt, Joe
  • Review existing strategy and determine future changes.
National Team 
Priority Level: Medium
Leader: Joe Howdyshell
Participants: Ram Mikulas, Matt Hickey, Nick Francis, Chad Brackelsberg, Pete Swenson, Teague Holmes, Rhett Griggs
  • Execution of 2017 selection and Worlds participation plan.
  • Review opportunities to expand definition and participation of the team for 2017 and beyond.
  • Also associated with PRO2022.
Athlete Advisory
Priority Level: Low
Leader: Matt Hickey
Athlete Advisors: Teague Holmes, Janelle Smiley
Participants: Ram Mikulas, Stevie Thomson
  • Review existing athlete representation strategy and determine future changes.
Membership 
Priority Level: Low
Leader: Matt Hickey
Participants: Ram Mikulas, Nick Francis, Chad Brackelsberg, Joe Risi, Jonathan Shefftz, Jeff Rivest, Eric Bunce
  • Review existing strategy / plan and determine next steps.  And, review opportunities for future enhancements/changes.
 
As a big part of this, we will need to ensure we follow the intention of the USSMA and our Vision, Mission, and Goals.    
 
The US Ski Mountaineering Association is recognized by the ISMF (International Ski Mountaineering Federation) as the governing body of the sport of ski mountaineering in the United States
 
Vision - Expand the sport of Ski Mountaineering throughout the United States.
 
Mission - The United States Ski Mountaineering Association (USSMA) sanctions and governs competitive ski mountaineering racing in the US and promotes and fosters recreational ski mountaineering through access, resources, education and community.
 
Goals – Develop and Grow the sport ~ Compete nationally and internationally ~ Coordinate events: races, development camps, National Team camps, referee camps
 
Current High Level Primary Focus – Develop the association into a fully functional national sports organization, raise the capital required to support our mission of developing the sport in the USA, and preparing a team for the Olympics.
 
It's so great to be working with so many passionate people and I look forward to working together as a team to move the sport forward.
 
Ram

 

Post Brundage Update

Happy Holidays! 

I’m sure you all are busy with parties, presents, family, friends…oh, and sneaking in those ski sessions. 

There continues to be great energy and a lot going on with the USSMA, so here’s an update…

Brundage – US World Championships Team Qualifying Races

Big thanks to Nick, Chad, Jim (race director), and the many volunteers for executing the Vertical and Individual races!  Racers battled it out in subzero temps and enjoyed the courses.  Congrats to those that qualified for the US World Championships Team!

Vertical Qualifiers:

Women – Janelle Smiley, Jessie Young, Kristi Knecht, Jaime Brede

Men – John Gaston, Mike Foote, Tom Goth, Eric Carter

Espoir Men (21-23yrs) – Cam Smith

Individual Qualifiers:

Women – Janelle Smiley, Jessie Young, Nikki LaRochelle

Men – John Gaston, Eric Carter, Mike Foote

Espoir Men (21-23yrs) – Cam Smith

Youth Qualifiers:

Cadet Women (15-17yrs) – Morgan Fortin

Cadet Men (15-17yrs) – Henry Boyd, Henry Hanes

Hope to see you all at Sunlight for the Sprint and Team qualifying races on Jan 14/15!

USSMA 2016-17 Planning – Areas of Focus

We had a great transition and planning meeting over the weekend, coming out with some great direction and next steps.  As a result we have confirmed our areas of focus with priorities and have assigned leaders and teams to drive them forward. 

Areas of Focus:  Organizational Structure, Budget, Fundraising, USOC, Marketing and Communication, Project 2022 & Youth Development, US Coaching Development, Race, Worlds, National Team, Athlete Advisory, and Membership.

We’ve got a lot of work ahead but are confident a team approach will net us quick progress on meeting high level goals.  As we work toward each of these, we keep in mind the following…

The US Ski Mountaineering Association is recognized by the ISMF (International Ski Mountaineering Federation) as the governing body of the sport of ski mountaineering in the United States

Vision - Expand the sport of Ski Mountaineering throughout the United States.

Mission - The United States Ski Mountaineering Association (USSMA) sanctions and governs competitive ski mountaineering racing in the US and promotes and fosters recreational ski mountaineering through access, resources, education and community.

Goals – Develop and Grow the sport ~ Compete nationally and internationally ~ Coordinate events: races, development camps, National Team camps, referee camps

Current High Level Primary Focus – Develop the association into a fully functional national sports organization, raise the capital required to support our mission of developing the sport in the USA, and preparing a team for the Olympics.

Communication of Progress

Going forward, updates will be provided to me from team leads on a monthly basis.  I will also be holding monthly officer board meetings.  Consolidated updates and information will be communicated out to keep everyone informed.

My intent is to be transparent and keep communication frequent and open as we work together as a team to accomplish our goals.

Thanks to everyone for your efforts and passion for the sport!

Ram

Brundage / USSMA Planning

In the last few weeks there's been a lot going on behind the scenes of the USSMA.  There is a team of passionate people volunteering many hours working towards the development and growth of ski mountaineering racing.   As we develop new strategy and plans to take the association to the next level we'll be communicating with the race community frequently to keep everyone engaged.  As the new president, I'm excited to take on the leadership of the association and look forward to the working with this great team.

The Vision of the USSMA is to expand the sport of Ski Mountaineering throughout the United States, with a current primary focus on developing the association into a fully functional national sports organization.  My goals will be to establish formal structure and process within the association and to become financially viable and appropriately resourced.  With the recognition of the IOC and looking toward inclusion in future Olympics, I will strive for an enhanced focus on fundraising and developing athletes.

Who’s racing at Brundage this weekend?!?

As most of you know, this weekend is the USSMA Northwest Passage Ski Mountaineering Race in Idaho.  There will be Vertical and Individual races which are the qualifying races for the US World Championships Team.  https://brundage.com/event/ussma-northwest-passage-ski-mountaineering-race/

American racers DON'T need to meet the new ISMF gear rules (helmets, suits, beacon new rules) until next year.  But, anyone racing in Europe will need to have euro legal gear.

Mandatory Racer Meeting for all athletes seeking to qualify for the US World Championships Team.  The meeting will discuss selection and logistical information and answer all racer questions.  Time/Date: 11:30am, Saturday 17 DEC  /  Location: Brundage Mountain Base Lodge (Same place as pre-race meeting)  /  Meeting Leader - Chad B.

Also happening at Brundage will be a USSMA transition and planning meeting to get myself and Matt Hickey (VP) up to speed and discuss strategy and plans to move forward.  As a result of the meeting there will be many different teams/groups of people (mostly board members) that will be focused on next steps to drive things forward.  And, as a result, we will be communicating more…so stay tuned!

Ram

December USSMA news: Big changes at the USSMA and upcoming events

First off, I hope the snow has started in your neck of the woods and you have a day or two out on skis!  
The purpose of this email is to formally make acquaintances with all the excellent people who are a part of the USSMA and begin the conversation about the coming year in the sport, and to introduce everyone to Ram Mikulas and Matt Hickey.  

 

Ram is based out of Summit County (CO), and has been pivotal in the development and operation of the Summit Skimo club.  He has also been a fixture of the skimo races in CO for a number of years, easily recognizable by his ever present smile and incredible enthusiasm for the sport.
 
Matt is also based out of CO, and currently carries the great title of Captain in the U.S. Army.  He is the commander of the U.S. Armed Forces World Class Athlete Program, which serves to train and oversee many of the incredible athletes currently serving in the USAF.  Matt has a long history in sport development, and though he is a relative new-comer to the sport, he clearly loves to suffer just as much as we do!
 
The big change at the USSMA is that I am stepping down as president, a role which will be filled by the very driven and capable Ram.  Matt is stepping up as VP, and as we develop the association in the coming years, his incredibly deep experience in sport development will be critical.  Though I have loved the role of president and the opportunity to helm this great organization, I could not have chosen two greater people to take the reigns.  I have tremendous faith in both of these two, and will remain a part of the USSMA as treasurer/secretary as well as advisor to Ram and Matt during the transition.  
 
The USSMA board is listed below:
 
Ram Mikulas: President
Matt Hickey: Vice President
Pete Swenson: Development Director
Joe Howdyshell: Training Director/Head Coach
Chad Brackelsberg: ISMF Delegate
Nick Francis: Treasurer/Secretary
Rhett Griggs: Medical Director
Stevie Kremer: Member at Large
Teague Holmes: Athlete Representative 
Janelle Smiley: Athlete Representative 
Layne Caldwell: UT Coordinator
Joe Risi: CO/NM/MT Coordinator and COSMIC Director
Jonathan Sheffetz: NE Regional Coordinator
Jeff Rivest: Skimo East Coordinator
 
This list encompasses the USSMA organization and operating board.  Thank you all for the hard work you have put in, and thank you for the hard work we still have ahead of us.  Each one of you brings so much to this organization, and you are all tremendously appreciated.  Importantly, we have built a very strong and diversified organization that can now support the next step of development, which will take the expertise and hard work of all of us.  
 
The current direction of the USSMA, and our primary focus, is to develop the association into a fully functional national sports organization.  To this end, we have been busy working towards a meeting with the USOC to formalize our role as the governing body of the sport, and gain access to the assets afforded to Olympic level sports, which is something that we see in the near future.  Our other major goal is to raise the capital required to support our mission of developing the sport in the USA.  It is our goal to be able to effectively support sport growth and development in this country in the coming two years, and in that time see the sport flourish as we all know it can.  The last two years have been building the infrastructure to support this goal, and now I am handing the next phase of the development to Ram and Matt.  With their creativity, drive, and expertise, and the very capable group of people behind them, I very much look forward to what the coming years bring!

The first annual Northwest Passage Ski Mountaineering race is coming up fast!  I just spoke with the Race Director, and the EVENT IS ON!  They have around 3 feet on the ground right now, with more forecast for the coming week.  Folks have been skinning at the resort, and snow conditions are sufficient to run the event.

YOU DO NOT NEED TO RACE BOTH THE VERT AND THE INDIVIDUAL TO QUALIFY FOR WORLDS.  While we would love to see you at both races, we understand the drive is long and a Friday night vert race won't work for everyone.  However, if you want to qualify for the vert, you of course have to race the vert!

IF (this is a very, very low probability if) the race is cancelled, the alternate qualifying event will be Wolf Creek, to be held January 7th.

 

Just a reminder to those hoping to qualify for worlds- the qualifying information (and important gear information for racing in Europe) can be found here.  Please read through this carefully!  

Juniors (under 23) hoping to qualify must race one of the two qualifying events.  Anyone under the age of 18 must also be accompanied by an adult parent or guardian.  If you are an interested junior, please email nick@ussma.org for further information!!!

IOC Recognition of Ski Mountaineering!

Some great news out of Rio ahead of the start of the olympic games: Ski Mountaineering has been officially recognized the the IOC!  This is a crucial step towards introduction of Ski Mountaineering as an olympic sport, which we hope to see very soon.  The full press release from the ISMF is below, or here

 

It is a dream come true. Yes, we are “in”: ISMF, International Ski Mountaineering Federation, is now part of the Olympic Movement as the latest Federation to join the team. The road is still long, but there is good news for all Skimo lovers and it comes from the Tropic of Capricorn: today in Rio de Janeiro the IOC, International Olympic Committee, has decided to grant the full recognition to ISMF, during the Session that is leading through the opening of the XXXI Olympic Games of Rio, Brazil.

Lluis Lopez, ISMF vice president sport, was joyful to announce and spread the news: «We made it, now it is time to work even harder».

After the provisional recognition, granted two years ago, in April 2014, the path is now moving a crucial step forward, opening a new and important period for the ISMF. Getting the status of “IOC Recognised Federation” has been the mission to accomplish since 1988, when the roots of the ISMF message were set with the creation of CISAC, Comité International pour le Ski Alpinisme de Compétition. After that, the ISMF foundation came 20 years later, in 2008. Since then, all the efforts have been shared among the member Federations in order to achieve a common goal.

«We are very proud of this result which is also a great responsibility - says Armando Mariotta, ISMF president – and I would like to thank the whole ISMF team for the massive work that everyone carried out and the IOC Sport Department for its precious support».

The IOC has been assessing ISMF method and actions in order to check whether the Federation deserved a full recognition. «I believe – adds Mariotta – that there are different reasons contributing to this result». First and fundamental, Ski Mountaineering is a clean and sustainable sport and has always operated to remain this way. «Crucial for the recognition – explains Mariotta – has also been the contract signed with INFRONT in order to set up a media right and broadcasting plan, as well as the agreement with LGC, Le Grande Course, for the new World ranking».

All these elements, together with the attention to youngsters, the constant battle against doping, the increased numbers of athletes attending international competitions, and the sharing of the IOC Good Governance principles, have been the key elements to get this great achievement.

 

2017 World Championships Selection update and gear update

The 2016/2017 Ski Mountaineering season is fast approaching!  Though the final calendar is yet completed, we have formalized the two events that will serve as the qualifying events for the 2017 Ski Mountaineering World Championship, to be held in Transcavallo, Italy. 

We amended the qualifying protocols this year (full explanation can be found on the USSMA blog) to simplify the selection criteria.  Briefly, worlds selection will be based on four races held over two event weekends.  For the individual event, the top three men and women in the individual qualifier gain a spot for the individual team.  The fourth slot for men and women will fall to the highest placed individual in the second event (the team qualifier) that has not already qualified.  For the team’s event, the top 8 male and female finishers in the team’s qualifier will gain a spot on the team.  The vert and sprint spots will go to the top 4 male and female finishers in the vert and sprint qualifying event.  The relay team will be composed of the top two men and women from each of the vert and sprint qualifying events.  Please note that all qualifications must be made from results in this calendar year (previous years finishes will not be taken into consideration in team selection).

The first qualifying event weekend will be held at Brundage Mountain (McCall, Idaho) on December 16th and 17th.  The Vert qualifier will be held Friday evening, and the individual qualifier will be held Saturday.  This is a new venue for this season, but Brundage is very excited to host us and we are already hard at work preparing!

The second qualifying event weekend will be held at Sunlight Mountain (Heathen Challenge) on January 14th and 15th.  Team selections will be made from the individual event at Sunlight, and sprint selections will be made from the sprint event the same weekend. 

Athletes who qualify for the World Championship team will be notified immediately after the Sunlight weekend, and will have one week to either confirm or deny their spot on the world championship team.  Please note that in order to qualify for the worlds team, you must race in the qualifying events.  Results from previous years will not be used as selection criteria for the World championships team!

In related news, the ISMF gear rules have changed for the 2016/2017 season (these rules were put in place last season, but will only be enforced starting this season).  These are not guidelines, but formal rules that will be enforced.  Any athletes participating in ISMF sanctioned events (including World Cups, World championships, and LDT races, such as Pierra Menta) must comply with the new rules. There are three notable changes:

 

  1. Two antenna avalanche transceivers (such as the Pieps race) are illegal for competition use.  All racers must carry a three-antenna beacon.
  2. All race suits must have an internal zippered pocket to hold the avalanche beacon.  Older suits with flap closures are now illegal for competition use.  Beacons cannot be in the outer skin pouches.
  3. Helmets must be certified to UIAA 106 and EN 1077 standards (or the corresponding EN 12492 and EN 1077).  Many of the helmets currently used are not certified to the newer standards, and are thus not allowed for competition use.  Many of these helmets have identical newer models that do meet these standards, but the older versions cannot be used.  All legal helmets will carry a sticker stating their certification level on the interior of the helmet. 

 

If you plan to race in Europe this season, please check your gear to make sure you meet competition standards!

 

More news to come as the 2016/2017 season calendar is finalized.  I hope you are all having a great summer, and look forward to a great season coming ahead!

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