Why Rocky Mountain Won’t Sign the Affiliation Agreement


Dear Fellow Ski and Ride Pros:

As members of Rocky Mountain, we all share a commitment to teaching and service to our guests and our sports.  As true professionals, we dedicate ourselves to learning so we can experience growth, change, and improvement for ourselves and for our students.   As board members, our learning has to extend even farther, to the organization itself.  As your elected representatives, we are committed to and responsible for ensuring Rocky Mountain’s health, growth, change, and improvement, and we need to share some very important information that directly involves your organization’s future.

You may be aware of communications over the last year regarding the effort of the divisions and the national organization to more formally define their relationships.   The attempt to create a document with input from the divisions went from draft form to final form without suggested revisions, and most importantly, without a fundamental shift in the ability to determine our own organization’s direction.  The final Affiliation Agreement that Rocky Mountain did not and will not sign was thoroughly discussed in the boardroom, and included the advice of our organization’s legal counsel.   Here is a summary of the reasons on which we based our decision:

  1. The agreement gives ASEA complete control over the logos, marks, and intellectual properties that have been developed through the combined efforts of the divisional memberships.  We do not object to their registration of the marks, etc., but rather to the fact they can be used to require compliance with whatever policy ASEA sets.  As a separate company, we as board members are unable to put the responsibility for RM’s health in the hands of another.  We develop the education and certification to suit the needs of our guests, members, and member schools.  We have and will continue to work with other divisions to share best practices, explore new information, and improve exam processes.  This has been and can be done without the oversight of ASEA.
  2. There are concerns about potential financial and operational risks to RM.  Without a direct voice in how budgets, dues, and management are handled, the integrity of our own business is in jeopardy.  Operational decisions made for the whole may create challenges for the separate businesses.  Again, having the fate of your organization in the hands of an outside party was not the outcome intended.  Our goal was to have the divisions in charge of their own destinies while sharing the logos, the commitment to educational excellence, and the provision of benefits to their respective memberships (shared marketing, pro deals, and the like)
  3. We have a long history of excellence in RM and a sense of ownership of the processes we’ve created.  We want to maintain the flexibility to evolve, grow, and change in ways that serve our unique demographic and geographic membership base.  Most importantly, we want to create opportunities that maximize the talents of the people who make up our division.  We want to show support for the depth of our education and office staff whose efforts contribute to our collective sense of pride in our profession as RM members.   As leaders and learners, Rocky Mountain wants to continue and exceed its past efforts to make progress and contribute at its most creative and efficient pace.

We want to remind you that there were other divisions who chose not to sign the Affiliation Agreement. A separate effort was made to address other areas of concern to the divisions, in particular the area of governance and the ability to have real representation at the national level.    This effort was meant to be distinct from the Affiliation Agreement that we repeatedly told ASEA would not be acceptable to us. A Governance Task Force was created, and while there has been some productive discussion, Rocky Mountain continues to be singled out as unwilling to compromise.  Our belief is we share differences in what compromise means.  We have done our best to be consistent in communicating what would work for RM, and there is no flexibility on the part of ASEA.  We are described as the unchanging party when we have suggested all along that the process has proceeded from one point of view – that of ASEA in control of the divisions.   Despite the initial sense that having more divisions sign the agreement was not part of this effort, recent discussions suggest they are moving the effort in that direction. Keep in mind that at this point, the five divisions that signed the agreement only represent 26% of the total membership in divisions nationwide. We believe we are at the point where we must agree to disagree and will turn our efforts to running the RM business to create a great 2013-2014 season for all of us.

The Rocky Mountain Board of Directors

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