The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association has named the Squaw Valley Ski Team the 2013 USSA Alpine Ski Club of the Year. The award, an important national ski team recognition, comes in addition to several other regional ski racing awards received by Squaw Valley’s athletes, coaches, volunteers and the ski resort itself.
The Club of the Year Award is presented to a USSA competition club in each sport that has distinguished itself in providing direction to young athletes through high-level competition programs resulting in athletic success. The USSA athletic management team manages the selection with direction from each USSA sport director.
“The Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows teams have a remarkable history, yet we’re striving to achieve so much more and have set our sites on being, consistently, among the top programs in North America,” said Andy Wirth, president and chief executive officer of Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows. “This award is an important affirmation of our work to date, but there’s more to accomplish.”
In the resort’s nomination, USSA’s Alpine Sport Committee noted, “The Squaw Valley Ski Team wrapped up a year marked by tremendous growth, athletic success and excellence in event production. As one of the largest youth programs in the country, if not the largest, over 33% of its USSA members were new USSA members this year, a signal of movement through its development programs.”
At its top levels, Squaw Valley had eight skiers qualify for the U.S. Alpine Championships, not counting its named U.S. Ski Team members. At the U-18 National Championships, Squaw Valley skiers claimed 15 front page finishes, more than any other club. Eight top 10s at the Western U-16 Championships and an impressive 15 top fives at the Far West U-14 Championships show the depth of talent in the program, according to a press release from the resort. In addition, the Squaw Valley Ski Team helped host the successful U.S. Alpine Championships.
Under the leadership of Todd Kelly, the program this year joined with the neighboring Alpine Meadows Ski Team to combine resources and enhance opportunity for a larger group of skiers as they move through the pipeline. Veteran coaches, including last year’s USSA domestic coach of the year, Konrad Rickenbach, direct high-level training opportunities, including more focus on year-round conditioning.