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.
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, , 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.
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
• 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
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.
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.
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.
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 () 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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!