“We are an elite athletic organization committed to winning at the international level,” said Bill Marolt, president and CEO of the United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) in his opening keynote address at the 1999 USSA National Congress held September 15--19 in Park City, Utah. “We have a goal of winning ten medals at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, and our goal for 2006 is to be the best in the world.”
Thus, Marolt kicked off the second annual Congress, an expanded convention format that included the USSA committee and subcommittee meetings, as well as a few evenings of schmoozing and networking.
Marolt also said the USSA is in solid financial standing and has had four straight years of budget surpluses in the six-figure range. The organization now has an annual budget of approximately ten-million dollars, compared to just four-and-a-half in 1996. Along with the larger budget, the organization has grown to include a sports medicine and science department and now runs 45 different events each year that have 23 hours of television time on ESPN, NBC, and CBS. In addition, USSA has finalized details to hold the first Winter Goodwill Games at Lake Placid, New York, and the event will be nationally televised on TBS.
Different committee meetings that met after Marolt's keynote included Alpine, disabled, freestyle sport, jumping, cross country, and snowboarding groups.
The snowboard meeting, presided by Executive Committee Chair Gary Taylor and USSA Snowboard Program Manager Margie Peterson, reviewed different projects that are in the works, although due to the lack of a quorum, no formal proposals were made. Topics such as proposed contest rule changes, yearly tour-points changes, development programs, and upcoming coaching clinics were discussed.
USSA Snowboard Team Head Coach Peter Foley discussed the different training camps and how junior members were able to train with the team members. The Alpine team will be stronger this year with the addition of new racers Lisa Kosglow and Rosy Fletcher who have been doing other things the last year, says Foley. The halfpipe team has been busy training at Hood in the summer and will resume on-snow workouts at Mammoth in November.
USSA Snowboard Events Manager Jeremy Forster reviewed the upcoming season's event schedule and said that the three Grand Prix would each receive an hour of TV air time, with two events shown on NBC and one on CBS. In addition, the USSA Nationals will be held at Okemo and will be televised on ESPN.
In an effort to move the now-annual Congress closer to the membership, Marolt announced that next year's will be held at the Killington Grand Resort Hotel in Killington, Vermont on September 20--24, 2000. The next Snowboard Committee meeting will be held May 17--21, 2000 in Park City.