Olympian John Farra has been named as the new nordic director for the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA). USSA President and CEO Bill Marolt announced Farra's appointment to head the organization's sport programs for cross country, nordic combined and ski jumping. He will replace Luke Bodensteiner who was recently named as associate athletic director for high performance.
"John brings enthusiasm, excitement and a strong background in nordic sport at all levels," said Marolt. "We have made great strides with our nordic programs in the last decade in bringing our community together nationwide and starting to produce top international results. He will be a great leader to continue those efforts on behalf of our U.S. nordic athletes."
"I am thrilled to be back at the USSA at such an exciting time," said Farra. "Luke and the coaching staff have been running world class professional programs that are creating impressive opportunities for athletes. They are rising to the occasion en route to the 2010 Olympics. And USSA clubs are doing their part to prepare their skiers for high-level competition. It is a splendid time to be a U.S. nordic fan."
Farra's background touches on all aspects of athletic participation and sport management. The former U.S. champion was a 1992 Olympic cross country skier and member of the U.S. Ski Team from 1990-93, and was a 1991 NCAA All American at the University of Utah. He graduated from Utah in 1995 and moved into a coaching role. He then served six years in leadership roles at the National Sports Academy in Lake Placid.
Since 2002 Farra has worked for the Maine Winter Sports Center, a non-profit economic development corporation based around skiing as a healthy lifestyle, where he served as vice president. His work there included significant development in cross country and biathlon venues in Fort Kent and Presque Isle, as well as other areas. He was responsible for tremendous growth in the organization using the promotion of skiing as a healthy lifestyle activity, especially its Healthy Hometowns program.
His position with USSA will be diverse, overseeing pipeline programs in clubs and regions around the country in cross country, nordic combined and ski jumping. He will also be responsible for management of elite national teams.
The U.S. Ski Team has begun to make headway internationally. Nordic combined skier Bill Demong won a World Championship silver last year and was third in the World Cup standings this season, a new U.S. mark. Cross country sprinters Kikkan Randall (Anchorage), Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT), and Torin Koos (Leavenworth, WA) have been on World Cup podiums, with Randall taking a win this year. And ski jumpers Jessica Jerome (Park City, UT) and Lindsey Van (Park City, UT) are consistently challenging for podiums on the Continental Cup.
"I am genuinely inspired to put my energy and skill to work for today's tremendous U.S. Ski Team athletes and for all those who aspire to join them," said Farra.
"John brings a deep history with all of our nordic sports, and an expansive skill set developed as an athlete, coach, race official, facility operator and sport administrator," said Bodensteiner, who has worked with USSA's nordic programs since 1996. "He's a strong and dynamic leader, an excellent communicator, and he has the international credibility he needs to be effective in the job from day one.
"I will be deeply involved with the transition, and I think this will be nothing but positive for the nordic community," Bodensteiner added. "There are still plenty of areas within nordic that we want to build out and improve, and John has the proven ability to build highly effective programs."
He will join the USSA staff in April and will be an active leader in the organization's annual Athletic Summit planning process and USSA Congress in May. Farra, along with his wife Tess and two children, will move to Park City this spring.