When people think of Arizona their minds automatically picture blazing desert sunsets and stately saguaro cacti, however contrary to popular beliefs, Arizona has a rich history and tradition of Alpine skiing and snow sports.

One non-profit organization committed to keeping these traditions alive is The Flagstaff Ski & Snowboard Team, and their competitive ski and snowboard teams Flagstaff Alpine Ski Team (FAST) and Grand Canyon Freeride Team (GCFT).

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Since 1967, The Flagstaff Ski & Snowboard Team has trained thousands of Arizona junior athletes, from talented amateurs to Junior Olympians. Today FAST and GCFT have over 100 dedicated junior athletes from age 8 to 17 and more than 20 professional coaches. The teams train and compete at the Arizona Snowbowl and other ski areas throughout the Southwest.

The Flagstaff Ski & Snowboard Team has recently been awarded Podium Certification at the Bronze level by U.S. Ski and Snowboard. U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s Podium Club Certification Program requires a rigorous, mission driven self-assessment and review of best principles and practices in eight areas of organizational performance. The Flagstaff Ski & Snowboard Team has demonstrated appropriate levels of performance in all areas and is recognized as an important partner of U.S. Ski and Snowboard and a leader among ski and snowboard clubs in the nation.

“This is a milestone in our Team’s 53-year history. The US Ski and Snowboard Certification process is demanding. Through the process we analyzed every aspect of Team operations and structure, making us better able to deliver premium training and life experiences to our Junior athletes and families,” said Todd Gillenwater, Board of Directors President and father of twin girls who race for FAST.

This certification provides an amazing resource and partnership between U.S Ski and Snowboard and podium certified clubs. The U.S Ski and Snowboard’s Development Program main goal is to collect, synthesize and analyze information and to report what works across all U.S regions.

Opportunities for the Bronze level clubs include professional development for staff with an invitation to provide content for Club Development resources, opportunity to present at regional and national Club Excellence Conferences and participation in forums and round table discussions with peers on a national and regional level. It also includes the access to club development expert consultants, support in areas of organizational performance relating to athletics, business, community and discounted rates on specific consulting services.

The U.S Ski & Snowboard President and CEO, Tiger Shaw states, “Working in close partnership with our member clubs to recognize excellence and create a platform for continued improvement is a priority for our organization. Our clubs are our sport’s biggest asset to athlete recruitment, development and retention, and working hand-in-hand with them will enhance their level.”

Release courtesy of Flagstaff Ski & Snowboard Team.

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