U.S. Ski & Snowboard wants to be best in the world
Organization hosted its annual Partner Summit in Park City
June 26, 2017
From the beginning to end of the U.S. Ski & Snowboard's annual Partner Summit meeting that hosted its many sponsors and partners at the Blair Education Center in Park City on Thursday morning, there was one overlying theme: to be the best.
The organization wants to be at the top not only with its athletes on the podium, but also with its social media numbers and marketing campaigns. U.S. Ski & Snowboard's goals are part of the reason it underwent a recent rebranding that combined the U.S. Ski team, U.S. Snowboard team and U.S. Freeski team under one umbrella.
"We must continue to innovate and evolve constantly in our pursuit to be the best in the world," Tiger Shaw, president and CEO of U.S. Ski & Snowboard, said at the Summit. "We know that you can't stand still."
The president added the organization has planned many steps to achieve its goals.
"We're never resting," he said. "We're never sleeping. We're always changing."
Heading into an Olympic Year — roughly eight months away from the beginning of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics — U.S. Ski & Snowboard feels it's in a good place, but can still improve.
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The last Games in Sochi was a successful one for the nation, bringing home 28 medals, the second-most by any country. The nation's athletes also earned nine gold medals that year, a success that came after earning 37 medals four years prior in Vancouver, the most of any nation in the world.
U.S. Ski & Snowboard hopes to accomplish similar feats for the 2018 Games.
"Our goal is to be the best team in the world by winning more medals than any other nation," said Luke Bodensteiner, U.S. Ski & Snowboard's executive vice president
But the organization hopes to pick up efforts elsewhere. U.S. Ski & Snowboard brought on its first-ever chief commercial officer, Dan Barnett, who wants to highlight the organization's female athletes in a way similar to how the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) does.
"WTA has some of the most high-profile female athletes in the world, multiple grand slam winners," Barnett said in Thursday's meeting. "However, we have the same range of female stars."
Barnett continued by listing off a number of U.S. Ski & Snowboard's female athletes — such as Lindsey Vonn, Ashley Caldwell and Mikaela Shiffrin — who have found success in their disciplines as recent as this last season.
"Sports fans, in general, both in the U.S. and globally, should be talking about our stars as the governing female force in the sports industry today," Barnett said. "Kids all over the world, boys and girls, should aspire to be just like them."
Barnett cited social media as a tool that provides visibility of the team's athletes. U.S. Ski & Snowboard already has a presence on platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, but Barnett feels the organization can do a better job.
He went on to admire entities such as the National Basketball Association, which has a strong following on social media.
"Why can't that be us instead?" Barnett asked the group attending the Summit.
In the end, though, those working with U.S. Ski & Snowboard know their ultimate job is to put its athletes in a position to be successful. In their eyes, that means standing on every podium possible, securing as many gold medals in the process.
Though countries such as Norway, Russia and Austria provide tough competition, the organization that secured 21 medals last season in five different sports is confident it'll reach its goal of being the best in the world.
"That was good, but it's not good enough," said Dexter Paine, U.S. Ski & Snowboard's Board of Directors chairman. "Our goal is to win more medals in Korea than any other nation and truly be best in the world."
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