Big changes are afoot at the USSMA! The 2014/2015 is shaping up to be a big one for the world of Ski Mountaineering in the US, both for the exciting race season ahead and for the changes at the USSMA. Most significantly, Pete Swenson, who has led the organization for as long as we can all remember, has stepped down as president of the USSMA. Pete has been a leader and fixture in the world of Ski Mountaineering, and through his efforts has played a pivotal role in developing and nurturing the sport in the US as well as often being one of the top American athletes. Though he will no longer be the president of the USSMA, Pete has changed hats and will now serve as the head of the newly created board of directors. We can’t thank Pete enough for all that he has done and we are excited that he will be remaining part of the organization going forward.
In his place, we are excited to announce that Nicholas Francis will take the helm as president. Nicholas has been a part of the Wasatch Powder Keg race committee for three years, and since starting racing 5 years ago has grown to love the sport and is dedicated to the advancement of skimo in the US. Nicholas is joined by another Wasatch Skimo member, Chad Brackelsberg, who has been active with USSMA for the past 3 years and will join Pete on the board.
In the coming years we are aggressively pursuing the growth of skimo in the US through adding new events, integrating more US events into the ISMF calendar, and plans to bring two World Cup events to North America in the 2015/16 race season (1 in Canada and 1 in the US). We are also working hard to implement a junior training program to introduce younger athletes to the sport; strengthening our relationship with the American Alpine Club, our Canadian counterparts, and the ISMF; and working to expand the use of ski resorts for training and racing facilities. We have a lot of work to do, but we truly believe that the growth we have seen in the last five years will pale in comparison to the next five years.
As part of the changes at the USSMA, several roles remain that need to be filled. We are seeking excited individuals that would like to be a part of the USSMA to fill the roles of assistant director, marketing, sponsorship/fundraising, results/points coordinator, and social media/website. The next few years will see big changes in the USSMA and the state of skimo racing in the US, and we need excited and dedicated people who can be a part of this growth. If you are interested, please email Nick at [email protected] for more information.
And, stayed tuned for another big blog post coming up detailing the new racer license system that will be implemented this season. We will now have a domestic license for racers, as well as the option to purchase an ISMF license for those of us who race internationally or who want to collect ISMF points at the several North American ISMF races.
The race calendar is getting filled up quickly so check out all of the races currently on the schedule at www.ussma.org/events. In addition to the USSMA Sanctioned Races, there will also be a US National Race Series this year. Watch our blog for details about the series and look for our ad in the December issue of Backcountry Magazine.