The newest addition to the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA), namely U.S. Freeskiing, now has an identity, that as two of its athletes, Jen Hudak and Simon Dumont went on a media blitz to promote the new organization’s brand.
Hudak and Dumont were in New York earlier this month promoting the new logo and brand (pictured above), created by New York communications firm DraftFCB
U.S. Freeskiing is the newest member of the USSA family, created in January 2011, despite some criticism of freeskiing’s legitimacy as an Olympic discipline.
Then, just three months later, the IOC announced the inclusion of six new sports on the docket at the 2014 Sochi Games. One of those being freeskiing, marking a shift by the federation to support new, non-traditional disciplines and increased participation for women. Seemingly ending any controversy with it acceptance of freeskiing.
The decision opened the door for male and female freeskiers to jump in the halfpipe and thrash the slopestyle course at the 2014 Sochi Olympics (considered two separate sports), featuring a competition similar to that of the major, current tours.
Still, USSA was ahead of the curve, and the IOC, on adding freeskiing as described by USSA Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer Andrew Judelson, “This plan started to accelerate last fall when we felt greater momentum that the IOC was leaning toward naming some if not all of these [freeskiing] disciplines to the Olympic Games. We were confident that it would happen."
Besides the branding and marketing effort, another step toward legitimacy came when NorthFace and U.S. Freeskiing announced an eight-year, multi-million dollar contract for the company to become the main partner of the newly formed organization.
While Hudak, Dumont and others were involved in the generation of the logo and brand, USSA will continue to rely on the opinions of its athletes to collaborate on a team structure, coaching, sponsorship, training camps and more.
An alternative way of developing the organization for a sport all about being alternative.
Hudak chimed in on the process, "Having athletes involved in the development process of U.S. Freeskiing was the only way that it was going to work for either the organization or the athletes."
"Freeskiing's success is as dependent on the unique lifestyle as it is on the skiing, so we knew there was a level of integrity that was imperative to maintain. U.S. Freeskiing has involved athletes in every aspect of development...This is going to be an unstoppable formula," Hudak added.
Now, it’s wait and see on how U.S. Fresskiing develops and how successfully the sport is received in 2014.