PARK CITY, UT (March 31) - The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA), the national governing body for Olympic skiing and snowboarding, is making a series of organizational cutbacks to pro-actively preserve its successful athletic programs. USSA President and CEO Bill Marolt announced Monday that USSA would cut its expense budget by $2-million going into the coming fiscal year.
"We're not unlike any business in the world today," said Marolt, himself a former Olympic ski racer. "We have achieved our success through strong long-term planning, and now is the time to plan even more conservatively for our future. We have to keep our focus on providing a consistent program for our athletes, which we will do!"
A year ago, USSA hit the organization's goal in winning a record 10 medals at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. This season it continued with more record success, including a U.S.-best six medals at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships and the first nordic world championship in U.S. history. It's goal for the 2006 Olympics in Torino, Italy is to be best in the world - winning more medals in skiing and snowboarding than any other nation.
The cuts will impact both administrative and athletic programs. But Marolt indicated that the focus was to ensure continued support of the most critical athletic programs. The cuts take USSA back to a budget level of 1999-2000 - two years before the successful Salt Lake City Olympic Winter Games.
Marolt indicated the cuts would take place in many areas including staff positions, administrative costs, travel, and some athletic programs. "The hardest part of this is that it does mean we will lose some really good people," said Marolt. "That's especially hard when we have such a close-knit team as we do." The changes will include layoffs, as well as consolidation or elimination of some positions.
USSA derives its revenue from corporate sponsorships and television, general public fundraising, membership dues and fees and from the U.S. Olympic Committee. "We have strong programs in each of our revenue areas, but, like other businesses, we are concerned about the uncertainty of the future," said Marolt.
One of the organization's strengths is raising money from the general public. USSA's Foundation will step-up its focus on major gift fundraising - gifts of $1-10,000, including a special focus of adding 100 new Silver Team members at the $10,000 annual level this next two years.
"Probably our strongest asset is that there is incredible passion among our donors and our corporate sponsors," said Marolt. "We have undoubtedly the strongest board of trustees of any sports organization in America, and a very passionate group of key American corporations supporting us."