Hanover Resident Named USSA President
2-Time Olympian Shaw Says Leading Ski Group ‘a Dream Come True’
Park City, Utah — Former Dartmouth College Olympian Tiger Shaw will be heading back to the slopes in October when he takes over as the new chief operating officer for the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association before assuming the role of president and chief executive officer of the USSA in spring 2014.
“It’s a dream come true,” Shaw, 52, said in a phone interview from his office at Global Rescue in Boston. “I’ve always been interested in that job, and this time the timing was right; I felt qualified for the job.
“That wasn’t the case in the past, but with the business experience I have had the past 10 years, I felt confident I could do the job.”
Shaw, a 1984 and ’88 Olympic alpine skier, will replace the retiring Bill Marolt who has held the post for 18 years. Marolt will head the organization through the Sochi Olympics in Russia this winter before stepping down.
A firm was brought in to conduct the search, casting a wide net through the athletic and business community. One name that was brought in: Tiger Shaw.
“I was thrilled to be included,” said Shaw. “There were many stages of interviews — I’m sure there were many other great candidates — but I think it ended up that I had the right background and experience.
“It was a good fit.”
It was a good fit for Marolt, too.
“Tiger is an outstanding addition to USSA staff leadership as we prepare for Sochi and beyond,” Marolt said in a news release from the USSA on Monday. “He brings an exceptional combination of leadership skills, knowledge and experience gained as an Olympian, USSA club coach, athlete parent and successful entrepreneur and business executive.
“I had the privilege of working with Tiger during the ’84 Olympics in Sarajevo as well as while he was a trustee of the Foundation Board. I welcome his passion for furthering a ‘best in the world vision’ that means a great deal to us both. He has earned success on and off the slopes, and I’m confident that the USSA will be in good hands under his leadership.”
Shaw, who graduated from Dartmouth in 1985 and lives in Hanover, takes over an organization at the top of its game. It was only eight years ago that Marolt declared that the United States would be No. 1 in the skiing world.
“Everyone said, ‘Yeah, right.’ But now we are,” said Shaw. “The biggest challenge for me will be defending the top of the mountain — literally and figuratively.”
As head of the organization, Shaw will have a varied set of responsibilities. On one hand, his big job will be to hit the road, meeting groups around the country to sell the team to sponsors and donors in the critical position of fundraising.
“It’s something I’m really comfortable at doing,” said Shaw, who has been a part of the U.S. Team Foundation 70-member fundraising group since 1986. “It’s important to be a credible spokesperson, and it’s easy for me to say that I’ve been there, and done that.”
Another part of the job is being the overseer of the grass-roots operation of athletes and volunteers who work and compete up the ladder to — hopefully — the elite level, where the USSA takes over. There are some 23,000 competitors in the U.S, with another 7,000 volunteers working at the local level in clubs and federations.
“Our job is to support the programs and ensure that people don’t fall out or give up,” Shaw said.
“It’s a pyramid that is fed from the bottom up. At the top is the elite skier who move on, so we have to keep filling to keep the programs thriving.”
Shaw knows all about being an elite skier, having been part of two Olympics — 1984 in Sarajevo and 1988 in Albertville. He was also a nine-time U.S. alpine champion. Most recently, he was the senior director of response services for Global Rescue — a crisis response company that provides evacuation services to corporations, academic institutions, government agencies and injured athletes, travelers and outdoorsmen all around the world. (He will give that job up when he takes over at the USSA.)
He will work with Marolt at the Winter Games to get the up close look at the organization in high gear. It’s also possible that the slopes will beckon.
“I’ve never skied in Russia before,” said Shaw. “It will certainly be interesting.”
Don Mahler can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-727-3225.