USSA History

In 1905, the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) began life in Ispheming, MI as the National Ski Association of America, a small organization representing five ski jumping clubs in the upper Midwest. Today, USSA is a truly national sport organization comprised of more than 30,000 athletes, coaches, officials, and volunteers supported by 100,000 parents, devotees, and supporters.

The National Ski Association was formed during a meeting of ski clubs from Ishpeming, MI, Minneapolis, Red Wing, MN, and Eau Claire, WI. Ispheming Ski Club President Carl Tellefsen, a Norwegian native, was its first president.

From its original focus on inter-club ski jumping competitions, the USSA has grown into the most diverse of any Olympic national governing body in America, supporting the development of fourteen national teams in seven sports. Those five clubs have grown into a network of more than 400 clubs, with thousands of coaches and volunteer officials and judges providing entry-level programs, athlete training, and competitions.

100 Years of History

In 2005, USSA celebrated its 100 years of growth into one of the foremost American sports organizations. The centennial time line presented here outlines USSA's development and successes throughout the twentieth century and into the twenty-first. Scroll through the years to learn, through text and photographs, the history of competitive and recreational skiing in the United States, the Olympic and other international achievements of American skiers and snowboarders, and the milestones in the organization's growth. A listing of additional resources is offered for those seeking more in-depth information, and USSA welcomes contributions of information and photographs that help tell the story of competitive skiing in the United States.

1830 - 1904

Skiing arrived in America and ski clubs were founded in New England and the upper Midwest.

February 22, 1904

The first US ski jumping national championships


The first alpine downhill race held in Kitzbuhel, Austria.

The first continuously operating ski resort in North America.

February 21, 1905

The National Ski Association of America (NSA) founded in Michigan.


First cross country national championships joined ski jumping in Ashland, WI.


Skiing clubs and competitions increased throughout United States.

January 10, 1910

Dartmouth Outing Club founded.

February 8, 1910

International Ski Commission (now the International Ski Federation, FIS) organized.

January 19, 1911

First Arlberg-Kandahar race in St. Anton, Switzerland.


Northland Ski Co. began manufacturing hickory skis.


Lars Haugen won the first of seven U.S. ski jumping national titles.


U.S. Eastern Amateur Ski Association founded.

NSA tournaments turned amateur.

January 6, 1922

First organized slalom competition.

February 1922

NSA joined the International Ski Congress.


First organized alpine combined race competed in Europe

February 2, 1924

Birth of the International Skiing Federation (FIS).

January 25 - February 5, 1924

First U.S. medal at Olympic Winter Games.


USEASA affiliated with NSA.


NSA's Rocky Mountain Division organized.

First American ski shop.


First organized downhill race in United States.

NSA's Central Division organized.


First American slalom race.

First international alpine combined competition.

Magnus Satre won the first of four U.S. cross country championships.

Harold Grinden became NSA president.

February 11-19, 1928

Olympic Winter Games in St. Moritz, Switzerland.


The first resort-based ski school in America opened.


Skiing clubs of the 1930s.

Professional skiing exhibitions in United States featured "freestyle".

February 24-26, 1930

FIS recognized alpine skiing as an official sport.

October 7, 1930

The California Ski Association created.

November 23, 1930

NSA's Pacific Northwest Division organized.


Beck International Award for outstanding competitors inaugurated.

February 1, 1931

First FIS World Alpine Championships.


First U.S. nordic combined events at national championships.

February 4-15, 1932

Olympic Winter Games in Lake Placid, NY.


First NSA downhill race.

Dick Durrance set new U.S. standard at Arlberg-Kandahar race.

First men's U.S. downhill national championships.

Laminated ski construction.


First American rope tow built at White Cupboard Inn.


First national championships for slalom and alpine combined.


World's first chairlift built at Sun Valley, ID; skiing grows in popularity.

February 1, 1936

FIS authorized a World Championships separate from Olympic Winter Games.

February 6-16, 1936

Alpine skiing introduced at Garmisch-Partenkirchen Olympic Winter Games.

February 1, 1937

Clarita Heath placed fourth in downhill at World Championships.


Release binding invented by Hjalmar Hvam.


First women's alpine national championships.

February 1, 1938

Marian McKean placed sixth in women's downhill at the World Championships.


NSA's Intermountain Division created.


1940 Olympic Winter Games cancelled.

January 30 - February 8, 1940

Gretchen Fraser won first U.S. alpine Olympic medals.


1944 Olympic Winter Games cancelled.


NSA began awarding of the Julius Blegen Award.


Skiing emerged as a major recreational activity.

February 1, 1950

First World Championships in United States.


Giant slalom races added to alpine national championships; champions 1946-1963.

February 14-25, 1952

Andrea Mead Lawrence became first women's alpine skier to win two gold medals in a single Olympics.

February 1, 1954

Jannette Burr won giant slalom silver at the Alpine World Championships.

February 21, 1954

U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame dedicated.


Tauno Pulkkinen ended three-year cross country nationals winning streak; 30 km race introduced.

January 26 - February 5, 1956

Olympic Winter Games in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy.


First inductees into U.S. Ski Hall of Fame honored.


Alfred Vincelette took first of three national nordic combined titles.

January 1958

Buddy Werner won Lauberhorn alpine combined.

February 1, 1958

Sally Deaver won giant slalom silver medal at alpine World Championships.


Buddy Werner became first American to win Holmenkollen race.


Freestyle skiing continued to develop in 1960s.

Mike Gallagher dominated cross country national championships.

February 18-28, 1960

American women won three silver medals at Olympic Winter Games.

February 1, 1962

Barbara Ferries and Joan Hanna won bronze medals at Alpine Worlds.


NSA became the U.S. Ski Association (USSA).


USSA's Alaska Division created.


John Bower won first of four nordic combined U.S. championships.

January 29 - February 9, 1964

Billy Kidd and Jimmy Heuga earned first U.S. men's alpine Olympic medals; Jean Saubert with two medals.

July 2, 1964

The National Ski Educational Foundation, which will become the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team Foundation, created to provide fundraising, scholarship and marketing support.

June 21, 1965

Bob Beattie named first USSA fulltime alpine coach.


The "snurfer," first mass-produced snowboard, introduced.


Alison Owen competed at cross country junior championships.

Amateur freestyle competitions began in United States.

August 1966

Origins of alpine World Cup.

September 1, 1966

Penny McCoy took slalom bronze medal at Worlds in Portillo, Chile.

March 1967

American resorts hosted three alpine World Cup events.


John Bower made nordic combined history winning King's Cup at Holmenkollen.

February 6-18, 1968

Olympic Winter Games in Grenoble, France.

April 5-7, 1968

Billy Kidd and Kiki Cutter lead U.S. Team in World Cup placings.


First women's cross country U.S. nationals held.

March 20-22, 1969

Marilyn Cochran won giant slalom World Cup.


Martha Rockwell, Alison Owen-Spencer, Tim Caldwell, Stan Dunklee dominated cross country nationals.

Snowboarding grew in popularity.

February 8-15, 1970

U.S. skiers won four medals at Alpine World Championships.

February 16-22, 1970

U.S. women's cross country team made international debut.


Men's 50km FR race added to cross country national championships.

March 13-14, 1971

Barbara Cochran and Tyler Palmer both placed third in World Cup slalom.


USSA's Southern Division organized.

Mike Devecka and Jim Galanes dominated nordic combined nationals.

First disabled national ski championships in Winter Park, Co.

February 3-13, 1972

Barbara Ann Cochran won Olympic slalom event by closest margin in Olympic history.

March 17-19, 1972

Alpine World Cup leaders.

June 22, 1973

USSA's U.S. Ski Educational Foundation created.


15km FR race added to women's cross country nationals.

U.S. Handicapped Ski Team organized.

February 1974

Fiberglass skis replaced wooden skis at Nordic World Championships.

Summer 1974

Alpine portion of U.S. Ski Team relocated to Park City.


Bill Koch finished eighth in unofficial cross country World Cup.

USSA and U.S. Ski Team separated.

February 4-15, 1976

Bill Koch earned only Olympic cross country medal ever won by an American.

March 1976

First Paralympic Winter Games in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden.

April 29-30, 1977

FIS recognized freestyle skiing.

February 5, 1978

Pete Patterson won Worlds alpine combined bronze medal.

February 25-26, 1978

Relay teams top U.S. performers at Cross Country World Championships.


Bill Marolt designated USSA alpine program director.

First unofficial freestyle World Cup.

March 17-18, 1978

Phil Mahre won overall silver in alpine World Cup.

December 1978

Alison Owen-Spencer won first ever cross country World Cup test race and placed seventh in overall season.


Bob Howard and Jan Bucher won first of many ballet World Cup overall titles.

March 17-19, 1979

Phil Mahre placed third in overall Alpine World Cup competition.

January - March, 1980

First Freestyle World Cup.

February 13-24, 1980

Phil Mahre won silver medal in Olympic slalom.

March 1980

Paralympic Winter Games in Geilo, Norway.

March 11-15, 1980

Phil Mahre third in 1980 Alpine World Cup.


Nordic combined nationals captured by Pat Ahern and Kerry Lynch.


Frank Beddor won freestyle Grand Prix World Cup.

Howard Peterson became USSA leader.

March 28, 1981

Phil Mahre won first of three consecutive World Cup overall titles.


Jeff Hastings won his first nationals ski jumping title.

Multi-win skiers at cross country nationals included Audun Endestad, Nancy Fiddler, and Bill Koch.

First U.S. snowboarding championships.

January 28 - February 7, 1982

Christin Cooper collected three medals at Alpine World Championships.

February 19, 1982

U.S. sixth in team event at Ski Jumping World Championships.

February 20, 1982

Bill Koch captured world championship medal and first Cross Country World Cup.

February 28, 1982

U.S. relay teams at Cross Country World Championships.

March 1982

Freestyle World Cup winners.

March 27, 1982

Phil Mahre won his second Alpine World Cup overall title.

March 1983

Bucher and Wolff took Freestyle World Cup ballet and moguls.

Bill Koch third in cross country World Cup.

March 18-20, 1983

U.S. skiers won both men's and women's overall and giant slalom World Cup titles.


Diann Roff won first U.S. medal in World Junior Championships competition.

Alpine combined returned to national championships.

February 8-19, 1984

Phil and Steve Mahre won gold and silver medals in Olympic slalom.

March 1984

Paralympic Winter Games in Innsbruck, Austria.

Jeff Hastings finished fourth in Ski Jumping World Cup.

Jan Bucher and Hilary Engish won ballet and moguls World Cup titles.

December 1984

First nordic combined World Cup.

January 17, 1985

Team jumpers accomplished fifth at World Championships.

January 24, 1985

Men's relay team placed ninth at Cross Country World Championships.

February 6, 1985

Dianne Roffe won giant slalom World Championship at seventeen.

March 19-20, 1985

Park City, UT, made its World Cup debut.

March 1985

Mary Jo Tiampo won moguls World Cup.


U.S. alpine national championships.


Mike Holland and Jim Holland dominated U.S. jumping national championships.


USSA takes on the U.S. Disabled Ski Team as official program.

Hilary Lindh national downhill champion at age 16.

USSA held first freestyle nationals.

The U.S. Disabled Team won 59 medals at World Championships.

USSA combined disabled cross country championships with able-bodied title races.

February 2-6, 1986

Americans dominated ballet at first freestyle World Championships.

March 1986

World Cup moguls titles earned by Steve Desovich and Mary Jo Tiampo.


World Cup snowboard tour established.

Super G added to men's and women's alpine national championships.

January 31, 1987

Tamara McKinney won bronze medal in alpine combined World Championships.

February 13-28, 1988

New events added to Olympic Winter Games in Calgary; disabled alpine races competed.

March 1988

Diana Golden was golden in Paralympics.

Nelson Carmichael won the moguls overall World Cup title.

March 22, 1988

Felix McGrath third in World Cup slalom.

Summer 1988

U.S. Ski Team rejoined USSA.


USSA became U .S.governing body for amateur speed skiing.


Men's 10 km CL race added to U.S. cross country nationals.

January 29 - February 12, 1989

Americans won two medals at Alpine World Championships in Vail.

March 1-5, 1989

Six medals won by freestyle skiers at World Championships.

March 1989

Carmichael and Bucher took Freestyle World Cup titles.


USSA began involvement in organized snowboarding.


C.J. Mueller and Kirsten Culver medal in speed skiing World Cup.

Disabled World Championships nets U.S. team 94 medals.

International Snowboarding Federation (ISF) established.

March 1990

Donna Weinbrecht dominated the moguls World Cup field.

1980s - 1990s

Freestyle powerhouses dominated U.S. national championships.


Inverted events added to freestyle aerials national championships.

U.S. Ski Association becomes U.S. Skiing.

USSA expanded its snowboarding programs nationally.

February 11-17, 1991

American skiers won three of six ballet medals awarded at Freestyle World Championships.

March 1991

Donna Weinbrecht won second moguls World Cup.

February 8-23, 1992

Donna Weinbrect won inaugural moguls competition at Olympic Winter Games.

March 1992

Trace Worthington and Donna Weinbrecht won Freestyle World Cup titles.

At Paralympic Winter Games, 14-year-old alpine skier Sarah Billmeier won three gold medals.


Men's 30km CL and women's 15 km CL races added to cross country nationals.

Freestyle World Cup globes earned by Ellen Breen and Trace Worthington.

February 5-14, 1993

Picabo Street won her first World Championships medal, a silver in alpine combined.

February 26, 1993

Women's 4x5km relay team placed eighth at Cross Country World Championships.

March 11-14, 1993

Ellen Breen repeated her ballet Worlds gold medal.

March 1993

Freestyle World Cup globes earned by Ellen Breen and Trace Worthington.


Todd Lodwick won first of eight national ski jumping and nordic combined titles.

Randy Weber and Alan Alborn captured many jumping national championships.


Nina Kemppel won 13 cross country national championships titles.


First U.S. Snowboarding Team named; Peter Foley named coach.

February 2, 1994

Hilary Lindh won 100th World Cup race by a U.S. skier.

February 12-27, 1994

Tommy Moe won Olympic downhill gold and super G silver.

March 1994

Ellen Breen and Donna Weinbrecht repeated Freestyle World Cup victories.

First U.S. women's cross country medal won by Michele Drolet at Paralympic Winter Games.

November 24-26, 1994

First U.S. Snowboarding Team named; Peter Foley named coach.

February 19, 1995

Nikki Stone won freestyle aerials World Championship and overall World Cup.

March 15, 1995

Picabo Street won World Cup downhill title.


U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix debuted.


Bill Marolt became USSA president and CEO.

Women's 10km CL raced for only time at nationals.

U.S. Disabled Team wins 11 golds and 29 medals at Worlds.

January 24-28, 1996

U.S. snowboarders won nine medals at inaugural FIS World Championships.

February 12-25, 1996

Picabo Street and Hilary Lindh won at alpine World Championships.

March 1996

Donna Weinbrecht earned fifth moguls World Cup title.

January 21-26, 1997

U.S. snowboarders took five World Championships medals.

February 6-9, 1997

Triple silvers won by Americans at Freestyle World Championships.

February 15, 1997

Hilary Lindh won downhill gold at World Championships in Italy.


U.S. Ski Association became the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA).


Dual moguls added to freestyle national championships competition.

February 7-27, 1998

American freestyle skiers took three of four gold medals at Olympic Winter Games.

March 13, 1998

Nikki Stone dominated aerials World Cup competition.

March 1998

Muffy Davis won Paralympic slalom bronze medal.

January 12-17, 1999

Kim Stacey and Ricky Bower both won gold in halfpipe World Championships.

February 12-14, 1999

Vail/Beaver Creek, CO, hosted Alpine World Championships.

February 1999

Ann Battelle and Michelle Roark captured World Cup moguls and dual moguls.

March 10-14, 1999

Five medals won by U.S. freestyle skiers at World Championships.


Disabled Team earned 23 medals at World Championships.

New men's and women's events added to cross country nationals.

Acro/ballet dropped from the World Cup freestyle tour.

March 2000

Ann Battelle won second moguls World Cup title.

January 19-21, 2001

Joe Pack won bronze at Freestyle World Championships.

January 22-28, 2001

Rosey Fletcher medalled at Snowboarding World Cup and World Championships.

January 29 - February 10, 2001

Daron Rahlves captured 2001 super G title at World Championships.


USSA introduced new U.S. Snowboarding program and logo.

February 8-24, 2002

U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team athletes achieve ten-medal goal at Salt Lake Olympic Winter Games.

February 20-24, 2002

Four World Championships medals earned by halfpipe riders.

March 6-17, 2002

Sarah Will and Steve Cook each win four medals at 2002 Salt Lake Paralympics.


Darron Rahlves won Hahnenkamm downhill.

January 13-19, 2003

Seth Wescott won snowboardcross World Championships.

January - March 2003

American skiers, riders, and jumpers won 15 World Championships medals.

February 28, 2004

Bode Miller won World Cup giant slalom title.

March 2004

Lindsey Jacobellis earned snowboardcross bronze in World Cup competition.

January 16-22, 2005

Americans won four medals at Snowboarding Worlds.

January 29 - February 12, 2005

U.S. skiers brought home six medals from Alpine World Championships, Bode Miller with two golds.

February 2006

U. S. skiers and snowboarders brought home five gold medals, three silver medals and two bronze medals from the Winter Olympic Games in Torino, ITA.

U.S. Ski & Snowboard Medalists

Ted Ligety, 21, alpine combined
Julia Mancuso, 21, giant slalom
Hannah Teter, 19, halfpipe
Seth Wescott, 29, SBX
Shaun White, 19, halfpipe
Gretchen Bleiler, 23, halfpipe
Lindsey Jacobellis, 20, SBX
Danny Kass, 23, halfpipe
Toby Dawson, 27, moguls
Rosey Fletcher, 30, snowboard PGS

July 17, 2007

Olympic champion Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) and former moguls World Champion Nate Roberts (also Park City) joined U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association President and CEO Bill Marolt and Gov. Jon Huntsman in groundbreaking ceremonies for the $22.5 million Center of Excellence, described as "the most significant project” in the USSA's history.  The Center, designed for use by not only national team athletes but USSA's 400-plus club, will include a sports medicine center, sport performance facilities (state-of-the-art gymnasium, weight room, cardio respiratory, recovery and rehab center, ramps & tramps area), nutrition center, as well as education and equipment facilities.

October 19, 2007

Olympic champion Eric Bergoust and downhill World Championship medalist Doug Lewis highlight the 2007 selections to the U.S. National Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame. The Hall also selected nordic combined Olympian Tom Jacobs and its first snowboarding members, Jake and Donna Burton Carpenter. Ski industry pioneers Everett Kircher, who founded Boyne USA Resorts, and Mitch Cubberly of Cubco bindings, rounded out the selections.

April 2008

The U.S. Ski Team wrapped up an amazing year with the close of the 2008 season. U.S. athletes captured 29 victories (six from disabled) and an incredible 92 podiums across all six ski sports.  The most notable historic results include five alpine World Cup titles by three Americans - Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO), Bode Miller (Bretton Woods, NH) and Ted Ligety (Park City, UT), the first women's cross country World Cup win by Kikkan Randall (Anchorage, AK) and the best American nordic combined ranking by Bill Demong (Vermontville, NY) who was third in the World Cup standings