USSS President and CEO Sophie Goldschmidt recently addressed the clubs and pool partners in town hall meetings.
It is always a welcome privilege to hear directly from the leadership and get a glimpse into their thinking.
Goldschmidt started by acknowledging that over her first nine months, she has been gaining confidence in what’s possible. She sees a clear path to improvement and believes she has a team that can deliver. She then acknowledged the importance of the clubs’ role in developing a more successful future.
Following the town hall, Ski Racing Media asked her about her feelings on collegiate skiing and her need to communicate.
Goldschmidt explains that the organization has three priorities moving forward. However, when she reveals the three, you realize all of them are about athletic performance. After listening it was evident that priority one requires priority three to be executed and priority three requires priority two to be addressed.
The first priority she discusses is to raise athletic performance and results. The organization has identified a need to pursue operational excellence in sports and business to accomplish this. Throughout the conversation, Goldschmidt continually revealed that she directly connects financial resources with increased performance. She states that the most successful nations are not sitting idle and are constantly looking to improve. Therefore, she knows that if USSS is not aggressively moving forward, they are effectively going backward.
The second priority she reveals is raising the visibility of their athletes, sports, and the USSS organization. She realizes the sport and its athletes need to become more visible to provide opportunity to increase revenue. Goldschmidt again candidly says commercial success creates opportunities to invest in sports. At the same time, she acknowledges there will always be more things that need funding than the actual amount of funding available. However, Goldschmidt stresses that funding increases on any level are a crucial priority.
Staying with the funding theme, her third objective is to drive commercial revenue. She again points out the connection she sees between visibility, funding and performance. She explains that by raising the sports’ visibility, USSS’s commercial value rises and therefore increases available financial resources for projects that raise athletic performance.
Listening, it was easy to realize the priority is simply to raise athletic performance but to do that, she sees the need to raise more revenue which she realizes will require raising the visibility of athletes, snow sports and the USSS organization.
Connected to the three priorities, Goldschmidt stated that, in her view, USSS had spread its staff too thinly, which creates challenges to creating an organization that accomplishes goals. She doesn’t quite say it outright, but by mentioning the importance of OKRs, she tells you she believes in setting desired outcomes and key results. Goldschmidt noted she supports all avenues that support gains toward their priorities.
Goldschmidt moves on to the critical hirings she has made to increase the likelihood of achieving the three priorities. First, Goldschmidt mentioned that she saw a need for a Chief of Sport. This position exists to drive athletic performance. She believes that recently named Anouk Patty is moving the organization toward priority one.
Goldschmidt then mentions Chief Marketing Officer Guy Slattery. Slattery, hired in March, is an expert with a proven track record. A quick review of Slattery’s experience shows an expert’s understanding of the need for good content and media use. He is there to deliver increased visibility for athletes, sports, and the organization. Slattery’s efforts to increase the visibility will increase the commercial value of USSS.
Staying with the theme of people in charge of delivering progress on the three priorities, she mentions Chief Revenue & Philanthropy Officer Trisha Worthington. Goldschmidt is constantly weaving a story, but Worthington is clearly in charge of the third priority—driving commercial revenue. Worthington has the task of creating the income to be used by Patty to increase athletic results. Goldschmidt says, “Worthington is overseeing all of our revenue. So, all our commercial partnerships, servicing of our sponsors and partners, and everything we do from a licensing perspective. So, all our pool partners, those that provide all of our gear and tech, and the foundation.” Worthington is both qualified and ambitious to take on this level of responsibility. While the other two are more involved in the creative side, Worthington is charged with funding their ideas.
The town hall then moved to a subject of pride. Goldschmidt mentions that USSS manages 176 national team athletes across all sports. She informed the attendees that USSS athletes delivered 60% of the US medal count in China and that USSS is bullish on increasing that percentage in Milan-Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy 2026.
Like a proud parent, Goldschmidt informs the attendees that the number of top tens and podium near misses in China “gives me much confidence that we can shift our performance to the next level.”
She then goes on to acknowledge that choosing to train in the Southern Hemisphere this year was a good choice. Goldschmidt acknowledged the current challenges of training on European glaciers due to low winter snow packs followed by high summer temperatures.
Moving from the national team to development programs, Goldschmidt speaks about the need for the USSS to partner with clubs. She says, “We want to work harder to develop deeper connections with our clubs to support the individual athletes’ development. After each development project, we are communicating with our national development group athletes, coaches and parents to see what’s working and what we need to change.”
She says, “We built the skills quest fitness program to elevate conditioning with a national standard and age-based benchmarking.” Goldschmidt adds, “We don’t want to get in your way where you are crushing it in certain areas but we want to add where our capability and experience can be of value. For example, this year, we will provide access to Copper, a high-quality, valuable environment for the FIS, under 16, under 14 speed development projects.” Goldschmidt suggests they will continually look for opportunities to supplement development.
Goldschmidt then addresses SafeSport. She quickly acknowledges the ongoing investigation but then moves on. Goldschmidt emphasizes that the safety of athletes is the main priority and of paramount importance. She also confirms that SafeSport training is not optional and that they are looking for ways to enhance SafeSport education. She says SafeSport concerns are considered daily at USSS.
Finally, Goldschmidt addresses the post-Olympic revenue decline experienced throughout the organization’s history. But she hopes to maintain the organization’s level of revenue for the 2022-23 season. However, she acknowledges that their operational costs are rising, so financial belt-tightening will be required. But she believes she must continue investing in strengthening the organization.
Ski Racing Media reached out to Goldschmidt immediately after the town hall to ask her about important topics to us.
We asked her about the value she sees in the collegiate path. Goldschmidt makes it clear, “Yeah. Look, I think since day one, I’ve said that I value the collegiate system as a pipeline. I don’t think we are so spoiled for talent that we can afford not to embrace any pathway to the top. The collegiate system has proved that for certain athletes, it’s the best avenue for them to choose. We need to work flexibly and creatively with those athletes who choose that path and the colleges to ensure we optimize the program. I think it’s a critical pathway and one that I’m going to be continuing to embrace moving forward.”
Finally, she offers this thought about the town halls, acknowledging, “It’s beneficial for me to build those relationships and connections so that people feel more comfortable giving me feedback. Our club coaches, academies, and pool suppliers are essential. We’re all in this together. We need to support each other to be as successful as we can ultimately be. I’m committed to having a more regular dialogue. And it’s also part of our evolving mission.
Yes, we want to be the best in the world. And I’m very ambitious around the goals we’re setting on the performance side, but I’m committed to doing it more inclusively. In my mind, collaborating with anyone supporting our athletes or our sports will have a positive impact. We should be thankful and embrace their contributions. However, that doesn’t mean that we will be able to afford to support everyone financially. We still have finite resources and must make tough decisions, but there are many other ways to communicate, embrace and support our different stakeholders. So these calls are just another example of how I want to put that into practice.