Types of USSA Clubs

USSA Clubs come in many shapes and sizes, and represent a variety of legal and operational structures.

It is important to note that most clubs are very small (over 80% have less than 100 USSA members), and more than 80% are nonprofits governed by volunteer boards. So, if you are "just a small volunteer-governed club" - you are not alone!

Here is a chart showing the breakdown of USSA club sizes by USSA members:

Numbers are from 2012-13 season

The USSA governs the following competitive snowsports: Alpine, Cross Country, Snowboard and Freestyle - and Freeskiing has recently joined the family. Here is a breadown of clubs by sport:

Numbers are from 2012-13 season

It’s important to establish what kind of club you are operating (or want to operate) and the structures necessary to efficiently run that type of club. USSA clubs have many different models and unique features. All of the USSA’s clubs are charged with providing a responsible athletic program for aspiring skiers and riders to develop skills while pursuing their dreams of excellence.

Below are the four most common types of clubs that the USSA encompasses, and it should be noted that many organizations are a combination, hybrid or collaboration of these common types:

1.  Non-profit: These are organizations that are formally designated 501c3 organizations by the IRS. It is important to note the nature of that status as defined by the Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3) at

The exempt purposes set forth in section 501(c)(3) are charitable, religious, educational, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, fostering national or international amateur sports competition and preventing cruelty to children or animals. The term charitable is used in its generally accepted legal sense and includes relief of the poor, the distressed or the underprivileged; advancement of religion; advancement of education or science; erecting or maintaining public buildings, monuments, or works; lessening the burdens of government; lessening neighborhood tensions; eliminating prejudice and discrimination; defending human and civil rights secured by law and combating community deterioration and juvenile delinquency.

A volunteer board that is a strategic and diverse representation of the community that the organization serves governs nonprofit organizations. Further the mission and organizing documents of these organizations must match the IRS code description above.

Approximately 80% of USSA clubs are 501(c)(3) charities.

Remember: NonPROFIT is a legal tax designation not a business model! It is important that nonprofits see themselves and run themselves as businesses.

2.  Resort Competition Department: There are many models of resort affiliated competition departments.

  • The resort’s competition center may be designated by the resort and the USSA as the organizing committee for USSA events.

  • The resort competition center may also provide training and coaching. Often this model will have a very close partnership with the resort’s ski and snowboarding school.

  • There may often be a 501(c)(3) in the scene with this type of model such as a Sports Education Foundation or Booster Club see OMARA, Crested Butte Snowsports Foundation, Mammoth Mountain Community Foundation

  • As private businesses, resort-based programs are governed by resort management and ownership.

3.  Academy: The academy structure endeavors to provide a complete athletic, academic and community environment for student athletes. Student athletes may participate as full-time residents at the academy or may be day students. These organizations are typically also accredited independent schools and maintain 501(c)(3) nonprofit status.

4.  College and University: College and university programs affiliate with one of two organizations that provide athletic opportunities for student athletes:

  • NCAA universities the NCAA affiliated colleges and universities field competitive teams of men and women in alpine and cross country sports. NCAA schools compete within either the Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association or the Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association.

  • The United States Collegiate Ski Association (USCSA) program offers programming in alpine, snowboarding, freeskiing and nordic sports.

  • Along with being USSA clubs these programs are also governed by their academic institution and all NCAA rules and regulations.        




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