USSA hosted the annual USSA Conference during the third week of May. Several NENSA staff members attended and NENSA's Janice Sabila posted the following report on NENSA.net.
Park City is an interesting place. Still a lot of snow in the mountains and in fact, it snowed the day before I arrived! While the majority of the time is spent in meetings, we did get outdoors for a few early morning runs in the foothills. Great way to start the day!
2008 USSA Conference
First, Notable News: Matt Whitcomb, Former Burke Mountain Academy Coach was named USSA International Coach of the Year! Congratulations Matt, for all of your hard work and enthusiasm.
Yurey Gusev and Scott Wilson (CXC) made an informative presentation on Super Tours – How to build an event –
Key Points follow:
-Involve other events to build spectator base and interest; which over the long run can translate into more opportunities for sponsors.
-Super Tours that are held in urban areas ( City of Madison etc) have some unique possibilities due to increased public exposure. This setting can be very effective for sprints and short formats. Some things that Midwest incorporated:
1. Inviting Boy scouts/girl scouts to help at event and/or participate.
2. Added fun things to do like Ski Cross, tubing hill, and snowboard events to draw more people.
3. Offered food with these events in a “fair” type atmosphere. (Sprints go on during all of this and are the highlight.)
4. Include high school racers, citizens, J3/J4 event etc.
Making it work:
Simple format is critical for the public to understand what is going on and get them excited about it.- regular sprint format will be difficult to understand. Team sprints are easier to understand for public.
1. Use ski demos or host fancy dinner for elite athletes with commitment of them having to ski with the kids. This offers exposure for these kids to get on skis for the first time.
2. Convey to athletes that they must play to the crowd and spectators and be involved with the entire day of events.
3. Athlete's Outreach to High Schools's via visits to schools.
4. Soccer on skis/games festival for J3/4 and younger kids
5. Offer 100 meter sprint/unique formats to attract spectators and athletes
6. Offer Officials and coaches education along with event
USSA will rollout with a National Coaches Education and Certification Program by this fall. NENSA has played a large role in this program by partnering with USSA to utilize some of our coaching material.
Regional Elite Group clinics will be utilized to teach technique theory for Certification. L100 Manual is expected to be completed and ready for Certification by Fall 2008 (October 1). An online test will be part of the certification process. L200 certification is slated to roll out in Summer 2009.
Junior World Championship Report
FISâ€˜s inability to work quickly and/or require backup plans again created a situation where a lot of shuffling had to be done to accommodate lack of snow at the original venue. Italy ultimately put on a great event, but many athletes and coaches lost / spent a great deal of money to re-schedule airline travel plans.
Regarding performances, some athletes had great performances, others had mediocre performances. But overall, the USST coaches felt that the trend in consistent good performances is on the rise. They also stress that the J1 Scando and Jr. World's trips are very important stepping stones in the long term development process.
J1 Scando trip leader, Abi Holt (SVSEF) gave a summary on this past winter's trip, making a strong point that the perception by some is that this trip is a “consolation prize” to making the Jr World trip. USST and trip leaders, past and present, stressed over and over that this is not the case. This trip is considered by USST to be as important to an athletes development as the Jr World trip and it will be evaluated as such. Matt Whitcomb and Pat Casey noted the number of athletes who competed at J1 trip initially, who went on to compete and have good performances at Jr World's and Sr and U23 World Championships in the future. It also is a huge tool in coaches development.
The USST coaches offered feedback on areas that athletes and coaches can work on improving prior to arriving at a J1 or Jr World's trip:
* Kids arrived without training plans – skiers need this piece of familiar information to be grounded in an environment that may be totally new to them.
* A better knowledge of an athletes inventory of klister skis needs to be developed. Having this information can mean the difference between having great skis on race day, vs poor skis. Particularly important to test and know your klister skis for blue and violet conditions, for cold, wet or transformed snow.
* FIS profiles need to be better. Find and get to races that will give you a better profile to enhance your start positions at these events.
* USST will be looking for coaching staff for both of these trips and will begin advertising in Late July, with staff to be chosen by October 1st.
Reports on Junior Nationals Venues
Auburn 2009 – By Matt Pauli
JN's will be held in Truckee, Calif in 2009 on the same disciplines/same courses as 2005 event. The Organizing Committee will also be the same.
The freestyle sprint will have 6 skiers in each heat, all the way through the final rounds. Formats are freestyle distance race on wed, followed by two classic formats for the Friday/Sat races.
There will be a similar set up as there was in 2005 with 10 wax trailers that have stand alone generators. Race headquarters will be at the training center again. There is a new building (permanent tent structure 2200 sq feet) at the venue.
Organizers will offer back up location for team captains meeting in case of bad weather. Provisions will be made for online participation for coaches meetings because of all scattered lodging, in the event of bad weather.
The Website for 2009 JN's: xcjuniornationals2009.org
For the freestyle mass start the course has been widened out of stadium for about 1km.
Auburn is following a “Green theme” for JN's and organizers are finding that an unforeseen added benefit has been a more attractive event for sponsors. Enthusiasm by sponsors has been very positive.
Presque Isle 2010, Report by Eileen Carey (MWSC)
Presque Isle organizing committee will be working on setting up van (Bangor and Presque Isle) and lodging availability for Junior Nationals Trip Leaders. Eileen reported that a new Hampton Inn is being built this summer in Presque Isle.
Club/Team listing for Super Tour/Nationals Results
A working committee group was formed to research potential standardization for club and team listings on the results sheets.
J2 Development Working Group- This group was formed to evaluate the need to keep Junior National quota's to J1/OJ skiers. Conscensus was that J2's get solid benefits from participating with these older skiers and development should focus on regional events in addition to JN's. NENSA's J2 Championships were cited as the premier J2 event model in the country.
All American Status Working Group- Action item is to change All American to top 10 placings in each event.
A working group will revisit the proposal to have divisional quota's based on performance
Proposal by Yurey Gusev (CXC)
Super Tour Cup
A proposal was made to restructure the points system for the current Super Tour Team and Club Cups. Top 3 athletes on results will score points for the Team overall winner-Club scoring will go deeper.
Group will determine definition of Club vs. Team. An athlete can score for both a club and a team (ex: Athlete Force/Stratton) but may only be affiliated with one Team (ex: Athlete Force /CXC is not allowed because both are considered teams). Clubs and teams must be actively registered with USSA.
$250 per gender/500 per team will be the overall Team cup prize. Teams (not the organizers) will put up the prize money in a pot that will be given out at the finals.
US Senior Nationals update:
Coaches credentials must be purchased for US short and Long Distance Nationals beginning in 2009. Fee will be $35.00. Nationals Organizing Committee must verify that coaches hold an active license with USSA. Technique formats for US Short Distance Nationals will be mirrored off of World Juniors and U23 formats and will be published shortly.
FIS Marathon Cup –
Andrew Gerlach brought up that the FIS Marathon Cup does not get enough marketing / recognition. USSA will work on this. Craftsbury may be added to the FIS Marathon Cup series in 2009 – there is no burden on Event's Organizing Committee- USSA pays prize money and does all of the scoring.
There will not be a sprint in the West Yellowstone Supertour races formats for 2008. Instead there will be two distance events. The Canadian National Team is expected to compete in WY and in the Bozeman Supertour races.
For a different perspective on the USSA meetings, visit Andrew Gardner's Middlebury Blog at http://www.middleburyskiing.org/blogs_nordic.php