U.S. Olympians Lindsey Jacobellis, Andrew Weibrecht and Donna Weinbrecht and two-time X-Game champion Jen Hudak were in New York City on Tuesday as the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association announced a new partnership with luxury jeweler Tiffany & Co.
Surrounded by gems and precious metals at Tiffany's flagship store on Fifth Avenue, the athletes helped unveil the new 2011-12 Gold Pass, an all-access token offering donors unlimited skiing or snowboarding at resorts across the USA.
The prestigious Gold Pass—only 400 are produced annually—is the USSA's largest annual fundraising program and requires a minimum annual contribution of $10,000.
These funds are crucial to athlete development and assist in offsetting the cost of elite-level training, education, travel and sport science support, since the association receives no government support.
"I love the look of the new Gold Pass," said Jacobellis, an Olympic silver medalist in 2006. "We're so happy to have the support from donors that the Gold Pass program provides and now it's a bonus that it comes in a little blue box."
In addition to producing the USSA Gold Pass, Tiffany & Co. will continue its partnership through other fundraising initiatives with the USSA.
They will also sell collection pieces including glassware, cufflinks, bracelets and tie clips later in the year, although the first prototypes were on display at the Breakfast at Tiffany's launch.
"The USSA and Tiffany & Co. stand for similar expectations in excellence," said USSA's chief revenue and marketing officer, Andrew Judelson. "You know the quality you're going to get when you open a Tiffany blue box and you can look for that same level of expectation from our athletes. Taking the physical product and collaborating with the best in the business to produce the Gold Pass boosts the overall prestige of the program."
The USSA is the national governing body of Olympic skiing and snowboarding and the parent of the U.S. Ski Team, U.S. Snowboarding and U.S. Freeskiing.
From grassroots programs to governance of sport, management of rules, competitions and athletic rankings, the USSA oversees athletic pipelines for development in the sports.
With a vision to make the USA the best in the world in Olympic skiing and snowboarding, the USSA provides leadership and direction for tens of thousands of young skiers and snowboarders who share an Olympic dream while maintaining a strong adherence to core values.
"It is with great excitement that Tiffany & Co. partners with such an outstanding organization as USSA," said Thomas O’Rourke, vice president of business sales for Tiffany & Co.
"USSA fields the best and most dedicated representatives in their respective sports to create Olympic teams that are founded on strong personal values, and we are honored to help support their vision by instilling Tiffany’s own values of craftsmanship and quality in the creation of the USSA 2011-12 Gold Pass."
For more information on donating to the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team Foundation, including specifics of the Gold Pass, visit the foundation's website here.