Name: Collin Casper
Position: VP of Academic Affairs
Years with USCSA: 6 years as a Board Member, 10 winter seasons total
Home Venue: Mammoth Mountain
Hobbies: Skiing, cycling, camping, backpacking, rock climbing
1. Where and why did you first learn to ski/ride?
I first learned to ski when I was 2 ½ hears old. My parents took me up to
Tahoe and thought it was important for me to learn how to ski. I attribute
my skiing skills to the phenomenal ski school program at Alpine Meadows
Ski Resort. From there on it was a combination of ski lessons and un-official
training, mostly in the moguls, by my Father.
2. How long have you been involved with USCSA and how did you first become involved?
I have been involved with the USCSA since 1998 when I started ski racing for
UC San Diego. I raced competitively all 4 years as an undergrad, and I was the
team president for 3 of the 4 years at UCSD. My senior year, I was asked by
our previous conference coordinator to help out with the conference, and
then I was elected president of the conference the following year.
3. What are your current responsibilities for the organization?
Currently I represent the Southern California Collegiate Snowsport Conference
(SCCSC), which is one of 11 conferences within the USCSA. I manage all aspects
of race and event management for a member base of 375+ athletes. Outside of
this function, I am active with helping manage the Northern California Conference,
building their snowboard and freestyle programs. I also have been appointed to
the position of Marketing Director for the USCSA and I focus on all aspects of
communication, posturing within the ski/snowboard industry and work closely
with the USCSA corporate sponsors.
4. Describe your favorite on-the-hill memory.
There are so many. If it is related to ski racing in particular, I would say it was
the first time I was able to beat my fellow competitors who had high school
and other race training backgrounds. Since I never ski raced until I went to
college, it was a great feeling to know that I could actually compete at the same
level with those who had trained before college. On-hill, not racing, it would
definitely have to be after one of our awesome 10-foot powder dumps at Mammoth.
First tracks through ‘Dragon’s Back’ on Mammoth Mountain, including the roll
through the hole created by the morning’s dynamite avalanche blast site.
5. Why do you like being involved with USCSA?
I like being involved with the USCSA because it allows me to give back to the
current athletes some of the great experiences that I had when I was in school.
Truly the love of the sport and being able to provide my leadership skills in an
environment that is healthy and supportive is something that can’t be beat.
It’s clearly not about the money… but the skiing is why I do it.
6. If you could spend a week skiing at any ski resort in the world where would it be and why?
It’s got to be somewhere steep, a place where you get to the top of the
mountain and actually get butterflies in your stomach, like you used to
when you were a kid. So, I’d say Heli-skiing in Alaska would be one of my
top choices. Sure, it’s a long ways away, but you’ve got a small group of
friends in a ‘copter for the week, seeking out some of the best untouched runs.
You also don’t have to wait in lift lines or deal with a bunch of tourists…
how can you go wrong?
7. What are some of the changes you have noticed in the organization during your tenure?
The organization has undergone a huge internal campaign to boost
communication to all parties involved. When I first came on board the
USCSA, I would describe that it was in a period of status quo with no real
desire to rock the boat. Since then, there’s been a big shake-up and we’re
seeing action and expansion of our offerings throughout the nation.
Programs that coaches and athletes alike would never have expected
being in the USCSA are now being considered and implemented. We
just added freestyle skiing into the mix of events offered for our athletes
and I would now categorize the USCSA as a great change agent—striving
to improve in every aspect of the business. In the wise words of an anonymous
Korean quote, “No Change = No Future,” the USCSA is embracing change, not
for the sake of change, but to keep up with the dynamic industry that is skiing
8. What do you think students/athletes can do to help support USCSA's longevity?
Share the experiences that they have as ski/snowboard racers. Yes, there are many
choices, probably more now than there used to be, on students’ time, so having
each athlete share their experience with their friends and encourage all of the
freshman who attend their schools to compete is probably the best thing that
they can do. With this word of mouth, think grassroots campaign, the USCSA
can continue to permeate through to the next generation of college ski racers.
It would be great if students/athletes could better understand the importance
of such a unique program. College is the best 4 (or 5) years of your life to try
new things, to learn about the world, and to develop your own identity. If more
student/athletes are also willing to share their experiences with the national
board, then we, as an organization, can make sure we continue to provide the
highest level of ‘customer service’ and offer events that represent the desires
of our racers.