After operating without a Director for an entire season, there is a new leader at the helm of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association’s (USSA) nordic operations. On Thursday the governing body revealed Joey Caterinichio as its Nordic Program Manager.
As the founder and head coach at Alaska Nordic Racing in Anchorage, Caterinichio has built up a wide breadth of experience in the sport. She was a chief organizer for U.S. Nationals when they were held in Anchorage in 2009 and 2010, and she has been involved in leadership positions on USSA committees for the past eight years.
“I’ll still be involved in the [Alaska] community one way or another, but I think new things are exciting,” said Caterinichio. “Moving into the national development system will be… a nice change.”
Her prior posts have given her substantial administrative background, but have also presented her the opportunity to develop relationships with coaches and stakeholders in the sport across the country — something Caterinichio believes will be an advantage as she begins in her new role at USSA.
She has already begun work on the upcoming season’s competition calendar and started preparing for the spring USSA meetings. After that, Caterinichio is responsible for making sure the entity that is U.S. skiing runs smoothly while continuing to grow and develop. This includes overseeing domestic competition, steering junior development projects, coordinating sport committees, and managing international championship logistics.
Beyond the title change, there is a difference between Caterinichio’s new role and the Nordic Directorship that was most recently occupied by John Farra. The Nordic Program Manager’s involvement with U.S. Ski Team (USST) operations has been scaled back, representing a shift in USSA’s focus.
“I think with where we’re at now… it’s good for us to refocus our manpower into the base,” said Luke Bodensteiner, USSA’s Executive Vice President of Athletics. “We’re doing that across all our sports right now, to create more activity at the grassroots and club level.”
After Farra left USSA for the U.S. Olympic Committee in July, no one was immediately hired to take his place. In the absence of a director or manager for the whole 2011-2012 season, administrative duties have been shared over the past months between Bodensteiner and the head nordic coaches: Chris Grover for cross country and Dave Jarrett with Nordic Combined. Some of those responsibilities will now carry over for the coaches since the administrative position has been adjusted.
“[Grover and Jarrett] are going to continue to do what they were doing even when we had a director,” explained Bodensteiner. “Functionally, not much is changing — they’ve been providing leadership on the international side for many years now.”
“We wanted to take the opportunity to push the emphasis onto the domestic system and deepen our activity in the pipeline.”
As a result, Caterinichio’s job is somewhat of a hybrid of Farra’s and that of Toni Adams, who acted as administrative nordic support and left USSA at the end of March. Bodensteiner said he does not plan to hire someone to replace Adams specifically.
Audrey Mangan (@audreymangan) is an Associate Editor at FasterSkier and lives in Colorado. She learned to love skiing at home in Western New York.