USDSSA: Unparalleled Racing Opportunities
Some athletes race at their local high school, through USSA, NCAA or the FIS level. The high costs associated with racing often puts a lot of strain on athletes. No doubt, it’s a big decision and a big commitment. On top of that, it often means communication barriers for Deaf and Hard of Hearing (HH) racers. The absence of sign language and/or accessibility tools for Deaf/HH racers on the hill means second hand access to knowledge, discovering, learning and comprehension of skills. This puts many Deaf/HH racers at an disadvantage at the starting gate. This recurring experience in the race scene can be discouraging and dispiriting.
The good news is that the key to success is not how much one puts into the hearing dominated racing scene – but rather the time, creativity and effort one puts into the sport. While some choose to brave navigating the hearing race scene, realistically, many Deaf/HH athletes choose to practice free skiing as much as possible, train in the evenings at their local ski area and practice personal drills independently. Whatever circuit our athletes choose to purse, USDSSA wants our athletes to have access to compete at the highest level. For many, that means the unparalleled opportunity of competing in the international 20th Winter Deaflympic in 2023 with other like-minded athletes.
It is important to note that the Winter Deaflympics takes place every four years and is recognized by the International Olympic Committee. This means races follow the same race standards set in place for Olympians. For this very reason, USDSSA is committed to providing ongoing mentorship opportunities for potential winter Deaflympic athletes, fitness classes, educational opportunities and in-person training opportunities for athletes. All resources through USDSSA break down communication barriers allowing many to thrive – more importantly prepare athletes for representing the United States of America at the highest-level possible.
Over the next three years, USDSSA will be putting on various small fundraisers with the goal of meeting our minimum financial goal of $25,000 to cover the bare bones. Simply stated, USDSSA has a skeleton crew for the Winter Deaflympic 2023 team: two Alpine Ski Coaches, one Freestyle Snowboard Coach and one Alpine Snowboard Coach -all with vast experience in racing with a lot to offer today’s athletes. Additionally, we have two volunteer team leaders essential to keeping things moving; our Ski Team Leader and Snowboard Team Leader – both highly regarded in their familiarity with the Winter Deaflympics. This team of six talented individuals are volunteering their time for the next 3 years, creating a pipeline of resources and training opportunities for current and rising athletes. They are mentors, advisors, and an guiding light for athletes as they train and compete in the international Winter Deaflympics 2023.
To break it down, it costs approximately $3,500 per individual for the Deaflympics (travel, lodging expenses, meals, and race fees). Admittedly, we could use up to $65,000 to cover expenses for our skeleton crew and athletes. For now, we've decided $25,000 is a good starting point to ensure USDSSA is able to continue providing unparalleled opportunities for current and rising athletes. With your support, you are helping USDSSA get to the starting gate with greater ease. Who knows, maybe we'll surpass our minimum goal which will allow us to focus on athletes getting to the finish line with greater resolve.
Will you help get USDSSA to the starting gate?