Marolt enjoying the present, looking to the future |

Marolt enjoying the present, looking to the future

Ian CroppVail, CO Colorado
Special to the Daily/Scott SineUnited States Ski and Snowboard Association CEO Bill Marolt at the groundbreaking for the Center of Excellence.

Vail Daily: What do you think about Vail/Beaver Creeks chances for the 2013 World Alpine Ski Championships and what can be done to help secure a bid?Bill Marolt: I think that first of all, Vail/Beaver Creek is an outstanding candidate and theyve proven in past World Championships in 1989 and 1999 that they run the best events. They prove every year with the World Cup that they do a best-in-the-world job. Having said that, we have some good candidates we are competing against Schladming Cortina and St. Mortiz those are all good resorts and good completion. We have to be focused and diligent in regards to details. We have to spend time with individual council members and convince them that we are truly an international organization and we want to spread this event around the globe. If you look back in the past years, its been in the Alps. Its time to move it out of Europe and bring it back to the United States.VD: During your tenure, youve helped secure a lot of big corporate sponsors. How important has this been?BM: Corporate sponsorship represents about 35 percent of our annual budget, so its a huge part of what we are able to provide to our elite athletes, what we are able to provide in our development program and what we are able to invest in sports science and sports medicine, education. Our real sources of revenue are corporate sponsorship and donations and that makes up 70-70 percent of what we do. Its not just the resources, its the relationships you build with sponsors or donors and they become part of our team. Weve talked a lot about a team in this organization.

VD: Talk about how the alpine program has really grown together as a team.BM: Weve worked hard at that. One of our values is team. My background as a competitor, coach and athletic director we always talk about team and that the total is better than the individual because the total drives the individual. Thats an important element in our company. Its not just the athletic teams and the kids, its the coaches and how those groups interact. Its everybody who works for us.We look back at what we did in the Olympics in 2006. While we had a good Olympics, we didnt have a great Olympics and we want to figure out now, what do we put in place so we have a great Olympics in 2010.VD: What will be key to keeping the alpine program strong?BM: One of the real keys in the future is going to be our relationships with the clubs. We have 400 clubs around the country and Olympism starts in the local clubs, the local communities. It starts with parents putting their kids in programs. It starts with volunteers, wanting to be involved with youngsters, starts with people in the community wanting to do things, donors helping out and resorts helping out. Theres so much strength in that local unit, and what we need to do is a really good job of helping each club get better. We need to look at creating a best practices review of all the clubs around the country. For instance, weve come in here and have seen what a great job Aldo (Radaumus) is doing with Ski (& Snowboard) Club Vail, we go down the road and say, You see this is what you are doing in this part of your club. We were just in Vail and you might want to talk to those guys and see how you can improve your club.VD: What do you see as some of the challenges for USSA?BM: I think what we need to do is … continue to do a really good job with our elite skiers. But then, what we really need to focus on is our development program, specifically our skill development, making sure that at that local level which is important why we have a relationship with those 400 clubs through our education programs and our efforts, our coaches at the grassroots level are teaching the same things that we are teaching at the top level. Once you get into the skill level, its then talent identification. Finding those really good talented kids and moving them up the pipeline so that youve got a really strong group of kids right below the elite teams that do have the talent and the skill. And we do have the coaching staff to really develop that group.VD: You recently broke ground on a $22.5 million Center of Excellence in Park City, Utah. What does this mean for USSA?BM: I see that as being the heartbeat of USSA. I see it as kind of the physical manifestation of our commitment to excellence, and our commitment to being the best in the world. You take all the elements of all the programs and they are diverse, and put everybody under one roof and weve never had that. That gives me the chance … say if Im sitting in my office upstairs, and I know there is one team down there lifting weights, I can go down there and spend 10-20 minutes walking around, watching kids, getting to know them. That builds that camaraderie and the program in a way where everyone sees what everyone does and sees the commitment. Im just as excited what well do in development, because thats where well bring in some of those 400 clubs and do a best practices analysis and start to work with some staff from clubs.VD: How much fun is it to be here at Beaver Creek and get to see the Birds of Prey?BM: We have the home advantage. You compete at a higher level when you feel good about where you are. For me personally, this really is home. I grew up in Aspen. I was on the U.S. Ski Team in the early 60s when Vail opened. And we were going to school at the University of Colorado. There were times when we were going to Vail and wed come up here midweek and wed go into the Back Bowls and there would be four or five or six of us the only people in the back bowls all day. So every track you saw, we made. I grew up with Vail, all my contemporaries grew up in Vail. I knew Pete (Seibert) when he was in Aspen.I appreciate and applaud all the efforts to make this event possible because I know it was a challenge, but that takes a full commitment on the part of everybody. Its really fun to come to town and see the pride everyone has in the event. For the full audio of the interview, check out http://www.vaildaily.comSports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or

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