GeneralMastersNewsRacingUSSA Masters SuperTour Launched

FasterSkier FasterSkierNovember 19, 200911

SuperTour - logoThe USSA announces the launch of the USSA Masters SuperTour to occur in conjunction with existing USSA SuperTour races around the nation this season.

In the 2010 season, six USSA SuperTour races will be used to score the top five in four masters age divisions, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and 70’s+. The points system will be cumulative rewarding those with the highest number of points with the titles of USSA Masters SuperTour Champion as well as with prizes from some of the top ski industry companies including Fischer, Rossignol, Madshus, Salomon, Swix and Toko.

There is a vibrant masters ski racing community in the U.S. and the USSA hopes this new effort will encourage more of them to participate at the USSA Masters SuperTour events. USSA Nordic Program Director John Farra explains that “While masters have always been invited to participate in USSA SuperTour events, and many have, we hope to encourage more to challenge themselves in these events. Not only do they provide fun racing opportunities for masters, but they provide opportunity for the masters racers and the elite U.S. racers to cross paths.”

End of the season prizes will be awarded from top industry companies in the form of ski hats, shirts, sweatshirts and even some U.S. Ski Team gear for the top point’s earners.

2010 USSA Masters SuperTour schedule:

Nov. 27, 2009 West Yellowstone  –  10/15km F Interval start
Jan. 23, 2010 Minneapolis  –  10/15km C Mass start
Jan. 31, 2010 Telemark  –  10/15km F Mass start
Feb. 14, 2010 Owl Creek Chase, Aspen  –  21km F Mass start
Feb. 27, 2010 American Birkebeiner  –  52km F Mass start
Mar. 24, 2010 Fort Kent US Champs  –  30/50km F Mass start
*Points of 5,4,3,2,1 will be earned for the top five places for both genders in the following age classes: 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s+

Source: USSA

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11 comments

  • Avatar
    Patrick Stinson

    November 19, 2009 at 2:22 am

    Oh thank God, there’s still hope.

  • Avatar
    philsgood

    November 19, 2009 at 10:11 am

    Given that the USSA SuperTour couldn’t pay its bills last year, the masters version better not be taking away any of the resources (financial, administrative, logistic, whatever) from the elites. Unless they can parlay this into some kind of income generation from the masters who have (supposedly) deeper pockets – which at first glance is the only reason I can think of for USSA to cater to masters skiers.

    If all that changes is another page on the results sheet and some free t shirts, then I guess why not?

  • Avatar
    Tim Kelley

    November 19, 2009 at 11:23 am

    Phil, I think you nailed it. This likely shows that USSA Nordic is really hurting for cash. In the past USSA Nordic could care less about masters skiing. Because of their apathy, AXCS came into existence. And even the AXCS has had challenges getting masters to populate their events, which are purely for masters (actually AXCS even added a 20’s category to try and entice more participants). From this history I think the ski world has found that masters flock to marathon races with a passion. But for shorter races and race series the turnout is token. I’d guess that less than 5 skiers over 40 will do the entire Super Tour series. If the USSA thinks they are going to cash in on masters (especially in this economy), I think they will be surprised at the low return for their efforts.

  • Avatar
    nordic_dave

    November 19, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    You know Tim. I am one of the masters skiers that races a ton of AXCS marathon series races, they are awesome events I live for them! There are also a lot of local races like the TUNA Citizen’s series here in Utah with easily 250 masters lining up for a 10k or 15k event. I don’t honestly think that either of these racing formats are in jeopardy from this Super Tour format. Currently there are Masters particepating in Super Tour events and some locations have more particepation than others. Look at the events listed, Telemark already has decent masters particepation in the USSA Super Tour. How many Masters are hanging in West Yellowstone next weekend? How about Owl Creek and the oh yeah the Big One of Masters events….anybody anybody…ah yes The Birkie….

    Prizes for Masters, most of us are happy to go home with swag donated by the ski companies who have generously donated to these and others events, i.e. thanks to Rossignol, Toko, et al…

    Hate and fear of a secret diabolical agenda vs. providing a venue to the larger portion of the skiing pryamid those so called “Masters Blasters” who absolutely refuse to go quietly into the night. Many of us are the infamous “Baby Boomers” no introduction to that generation needed here.

    It may start small as you say yet if the message is consistent over time (year to year) then what is the problem with this?

    Peace.

  • Avatar
    OldManWinter

    November 19, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    Phil – I see a couple of positive outcomes related to this type of series: 1) A racing outlet for high-octane regional and national masters stars, 2) Increased media visibility and attention to our sport (where hopefully some money will follow) and 3) Further development of the national skiing infrastructure. Not only do masters have deeper pockets, they often have skiing offspring as well. Go to any youth race (as I often do) and you will not only see 200-300 kids racing, but you will spot some very fast parents as well. Any exposure to high level racing that we can provide our children is nothing but good. Even Kris, Kikkan and yourself had to get hooked at some point, somehow…

  • Avatar
    Mike Trecker

    November 19, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    I believe this to be all positive. As part of the OC for the Aspen Nordic Festival and The Owl Creek Chase, I have verified with USSA that masters do not need to be licensed to score points. USSA does not make any money from the SuperTour, all the money goes to the local organizers. I think this is a creative way to bring some attention to the masters racers that may be fast but aren’t necessarily into marathons all season.

  • Avatar
    JohnSkis

    November 20, 2009 at 3:55 am

    It seems obvious to me that this sport needs money and sponsorship. Unfortunatly, 70 million dollar a year Tiger Woods is not out skiing along with all the tv cameras.
    The fact is that sponsors, tv cameras and fans want to see venue event fences (and web sites) lined with folks looking at all their banners, their bannered athletes and wearing all their gear and swag. I’m just a modest thinking man but it really seems stupid to be hurting for money and then exclude thousands of “skiers” from participating in “ski events.” What, am I going to steal some glory from some elite skier? No. I’ll get some 40 yr old glory but that’s not the point. I can’t travel the entire series but I will hit one or two of them. I am going to show up with my racing kids, family and friends. (Decked out in Swix clothes, Salomon and Fischer Boots, ect. ) Isn’t that what sponsors want? We’ll be lining that fence and supporting an “elite” event. Cars in the parking lot, food vendors selling grub… Real people make the event. Elite athletes competing is the main attraction. But without spectators there, it is not an event. You know, ski racing needs to be more friendly to spectators and those who want to line up and suffer for a little while. It’s like elite skiing wants everyone to come admire them but they don’t want people to get out and do it themselves. Common people just can’t be great so stay out of the way. I think Elite Nordic skiers are about the most amazing athletes out there. Incredible endurance, power, speed, balance and finesse all in one package. It’s just too bad that unlike Tiger Woods, no one really knows who you are except other skiers. Master Skiers are your biggest supporters by buying 700 dollar skis, 400 dollar boots for themselves and their families. Without that, you would have no industry to support you and Joes Garbage Service is the new sponsor. So…you governing bodies, federations, promoters and industry folks should be looking for ways to include thousands of people who are your biggest allies. I think masters AND Juniors should be able to race at Pro events. Then it is an Event, not just a Pro race.

  • Avatar
    philsgood

    November 20, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    Ugh, I don’t know why I’m getting caught up in this. Maybe because I’m on the equator and ski season is starting, maybe I actually care. Maybe I’m just flattered that someone mentioned me, Bird and Kikkan in the same sentence.

    Anyway. I thought it would be good to revisit the USSA Mission Statement:

    USSA Vision
    The Vision of the USSA is to make the United States of America the best in the world in Olympic skiing and snowboarding.

    USSA Mission
    The Mission of the USSA is to provide strong leadership that establishes and supports athletic excellence in accordance with USSA core values.

    USSA Goals
    * Athletic excellence
    * Financial strength
    * Organizational growth
    * Positive organizational image
    * Strong partnerships

    USSA Core Values
    * Team
    * Loyalty
    * Integrity
    * Respect
    * Perseverance
    * Accountability

    USSA Four Cornerstones of Athletic Success.
    * Elite athlete programs
    * Sport science and medicine
    * National development systems
    * Education

    USSA Key Principles
    * Physical conditioning is the cornerstone of a successful athletic program.
    * The USSA is educationally based and athletically focused.
    * Continuity and consistency of leadership and programs.

    I didn’t find the exact mission statement for ACXS, but this is probably close: Founded in 1998, the AXCS serves U.S. master skiers with a wide range of education, promotion and communication programs.

    The USSA is about winning Olympic Gold. I think there are a number of clubs and orgs and events that successfully cater to master skiers and a couple are mentioned above. I haven’t seen anything yet that leads me to believe the USSA should be one of them. Maybe partner with AXCS, share some databases and expertise, let AXCS do the good work they’re already doing and USSA take a cut? I don’t know.

    My opinion is that the key to growing a sport generally and champion athletes specifically is one and the same – youth development. I think USSA has to some extent focused on this since 1998-9ish. And here 10-11 years later, boom: Results. And now the USSA focus on all aspects of the development pipeline is huge. I can’t wait to see where we are in another 11 years!

    JohnSkis, you made a number of comments that lead me to believe you think the elite ski community is trying to exclude masters from participation. I don’t even know where to begin. So I won’t. Suffice it to say that I’m pretty sure you’re incorrect. I suggest (re)reading the first sentence of Farra’s quote above. “masters” “always” “invited” “encourage” and “more” were words that popped out at me.

    -phil

  • Avatar
    Jamey Holstein

    November 21, 2009 at 11:48 pm

    “Boom: Results”, but I do not see how these results in any way were “but for” any USSA programs.

    Without doubt, the only true top 5 results in the last 10 years we have had in world class competiton have come from 4 individuals – Kris F, Kikkan R, Andy N, and Carl S. All of these athelets have parents and/or close relatives who are or were involved in x-c ski racing at local or even international levels. These atheletes would have been involved in the sport regardless of any USSA “youth” programs. Bill Koch Leagues many raced were run from local parents and volunteers, but these kids were alrady interested. It was only their familes and the races and programs offered by their respective regional amateur associations or high school teams that got them involved, NOT the USSA/USST.

    This is the fundemental problem with USSA – it is an AMATURE National Govering Body, just as US Hokey, US Soccer, USCF, US Basketball, US Darts, US Billards, etc… – its mandate, and thus sole purpose, should be in promoting and recruiting people to take up the sport of x-c ski racing, and funding the development of future genetic freaks who would have never taken up the sport “BUT FOR” USSA promotion and funding.

    Gee, maybe the USSA might want divert maybe $50k from a ski ball to bus up say 50 of the East Coast’s best x-c high shcool runners for a month or 2 at Lake Placid and see if they might not enjoy x-c ski racing during the off season? You think we might get 1 or 2 gifted athletes as a result?

    Is it me or does x-c skiing in the US under the governace of the USSA seem really white? Even in the white enclaves of Vermont, Utah, and Colorado, minorities represent at least 3 0r 5 percent of the populatoin, but USSA cannot seem to find a single person with brown skin who is strong and had excellent endurance? The sports of running and cylcling seem to.

    USSA is just doing a fantasitc job of development in the Nordic sports. Keep up the good work of recruiting kids to the sport who’s parents had no idea the sport even exited.

    Best In The World to ya.

  • Avatar
    Patrick Stinson

    December 5, 2009 at 1:14 am

    If only I had a nickel…

    In nordic skiing, more is better. More camp fires, more hot dogs, more TV cameras, more ski derbies, more fantasy leagues, more masters, more juniors, more abs, more lats, less wussy talk-a-lots. Go watch your kids race or participate in a some blaster event, donate some cash, then turn around and get off your ass and start a freaking club. Action! Action!

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