Vermont to hire development coordinator, no other changesTweet
Vermont will hire a development coordinator, but plans no additional changes for this coming season as a wait and see scenario has been established by the Vermont Alpine racing Association, with continued examination of a development alliance with New York.
Vermont Alpine Racing Association (VARA) President Tao Smith has sent a synopsis letter to VARA membership of the organization’s activities and that of the Eastern Alpine Competition Committee (EACC) since a line of discussion was created last fall with the national ski federation, the United States Ski Association (USSA).
“Specifically, last fall, the East requested increased human resources to help improve coordination of our regional team athletes and provide improved educational programs for our clubs, coaches and parents,” Smith wrote. “The committee’s main concern was that USSA was focused on centralizing resources (human and financial) in Park City (Utah) leaving the East, in EACC’s opinion, underfunded and under supported. … Simplified, the position of the EACC and VARA was to retain adequate financial resources and staffing that would allow the region to meet its stated goals.”
Smith noted USSA has reacted with action including the hiring of a regional U18-U21 development coach, the hiring of a new Eastern Regional Director and the initiation of a McKinsey Group study of the interaction between USSA and the regions. He also said USSA would be taking over the Youth Development Coordinator’s position previously established within the Eastern Division.
He said: “VARA is encouraged by the commitment to change demonstrated by the McKinsey Group study, applauds the efforts of USSA to address some of the shortcomings identified by our EACC and welcomes the additional resources that have been allocated.
“At the same time,” he continued, “we are mindful that there is no guarantee the McKinsey study will result in positive change for VARA and the East and in the short term we still lack critical resource to address the development needs of our clubs and athletes. With this is mind the VARA Board made two important decisions at our annual meeting this past week in Woodstock, Vermont.”
The first was the addition of a second VARA staff member to serve as Youth Development Coordinator, a new position focused on development of those U16 and younger. Smith said USSA’s Eastern Regional Director (currently Alex Krebs) is “recognized for doing an outstanding job,” but said she was stretched too thin trying to cover 23 states and more than 100 clubs.
“By adding a dedicated resource we will be able to provide a wide range of services to clubs and athletes including program visits, club coach education, athlete development and project/camp coordination.” He said the position will be fully funded for the coming season.
Secondly the VARA board agreed to “take a leadership role in investigating alternative development pipelines and opportunities for our ski racing community.” This includes a delegation of VARA Board members meeting with delegates from New York to “investigate the possibility of an alliance that would enable VARA to sanction races for U14′s and younger, independent from USSA.” He clarified there would be no change for this season and said the action is an attempt to be prepared while looking forward to a USSA announcement of its own initiatives.
“In taking these actions, and while we remain fully committed to working with our national governing body in a positive and thoughful way, VARA remains first and foremost committed to our membership, our skiers and to our mission: ‘To keep ski racing first in Vermont and Vermont ski racers first in the world’.”
Image of Tao Smith from Killington Mountain School.