Officials, many of which are volunteers, play a critical role in young athletes achieving their goals and dreams. The USSA sanctions over 4,000 individual competitions annually and provides an educational system for over 5,600 USSA officials. Those competitions would not be possible without the time from those dedicated officials and other competition volunteers.

This section of provides information for those wishing to get started, as well as valuable resources for existing officials in all USSA sports.

Getting Started

Why become a USSA official? Taking part as a competition official is exciting -- it brings you into the heart of the action! And it's a way of helping the thousands of young athletes who enter USSA competitions to have fun and to achieve personal goals.

It's simple to get started. Just join the USSA as an official. And work with your local USSA Club to volunteer at an entry level position.

Who becomes a USSA official? Oftentimes it starts with parents of young athletes who want to be more actively involved. Former athletes and coaches are also great candidates with their background in the sport. But it can be anyone who has an interest in helping young athletes and playing an important role in their success.

What Do Judges and Officials Do?

Officials ensure that USSA competitions run efficiently and fairly by the rules. They are responsible for the safe conduct of the event and the accurate timing, judging and scoring. They also play a key role in ensuring that the spirit of the sport and competition is maintained.

In the end, officials are responsible for providing the best possible experience for USSA athletes.


Officials are a lot like athletes. Once you start, you'll want to increase your level of expertise. The USSA offers a wide range of local, divisional and regional clinics where you can learn new skills and take on new positions.

Various levels of officials' certification are offered by the USSA. Checkout the detailed information on officials in each of the USSA's sports.

As you grow in experience as a USSA official, you may want to consider becoming certified internationally as a FIS (International Ski Federation) official. FIS officials work international events domestically, and may be considered for international assignments.


Certification Program

A comprehensive certification program has been developed by the USSA Alpine Officials Working Group and is in place on a nationwide basis. The program recognizes officials at six different levels and in a variety of categories or specialty areas.

The program is handled on a divisional basis according to nationally established guidelines, with certification at Level 4 based on divisional nomination and national AO Working Group approval. FIS technical delegates are certified only by FIS after national federation nomination and successful completion of the FIS examination and training program.

New officials, without certification credentials, but with USSA AO membership, will appear on the roster with no designation.

A USSA alpine official membership does not assume certification. Rosters of officials are available through the alpine department at USSA and at Rosters are managed by Divisional/State Chairs and submitted to USSA for update in the USSA database.

Certification Levels

The Alpine Officials Working Group has reviewed and modified the criteria for Alpine Officials advancement. The Certification Matrix outlines the steps necessary to advance as an Alpine Official. This document has been updated for the 2012 season. The criteria is competency based and can be found below.

Alpine Officials Certification Matrix

USSA Alpine Officials who are certified as Technical Delegate, Referee, Jury Adviser, Chief of Race, Chief of Course, Race Administration and Timing and Calculations are required to attend an update/clinic at least every two years to maintain certification.

  • If an official has missed an update for two years, he or she may be reinstated to the previous level by attending a recognized update.
  • If an official has missed an update for three or more years, he or she may be reinstated by passing the appropriate examination, i.e. Level 1 or 2 must pass the Level 1 exam, Level 3 or 4 must pass the level 3 exam.
  • An official may not violate the update rule for a second time and maintain certification.

Specialty Areas

Officials are recognized in eight specialty areas, reflecting different responsibilities, abilities and experience:

  • Technical Delegate - TD
  • Referee - RF
  • Chief of Race - CR
  • Chief of Course - CC
  • Chief of Timing and Calculations - TC
  • Race Administrator - RA
  • Jury Advisor - JA (for Start and Finish Referees)
  • Competition Official - CO

A complete description of each of these specialty areas can be found in the USSA Alpine Competition Regulations (ACR) and the FIS ICR.

Some USSA divisions may not recognize all categories at all levels, according to their own needs and circumstances. All officials should attend annual refresher seminars and work at least four days per year at USSA sanctioned events.


Seminar Program

A variety of seminars or clinics for alpine officials are held annually in each geographic division of USSA. Seminars range from those designed as mandatory refresher for FIS-certified technical delegates and other senior officials to introductory sessions for those officials with little or no experience. Topics may include timing and calculation, rules, gate judging, course preparation, paperwork and the race secretariat, press relations and data management. There is an emphasis on fairness, competitor protection and respect for the rules in all courses. Attendance at recognized seminars may be required for certification and for maintaining certification. Certification exams are offered at many seminars, according to divisional/state needs; exams are generally ‘open-book’ but must be taken at a seminar. Retesting of a failed Alpine Officials exam may only occur after a revision of the applicable exam become available. Exams shall be revised annually.

Clinics are held every Fall before the season begins. For the most current officials clinic information, please see the divisional and state links below.



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