Sports

U.S. Ski & Snowboard names top coaches for the 2021-22 season

PARK CITY, Utah. — On Tuesday, U.S. Ski & Snowboard recognized the top club and national coaches as a part of its annual awards program. Recipients were acknowledged both for athletic accomplishments and contributions to the broader success of the sport.

“Clubs and coaches are core to the success of athletes both at the local level and nationally,” said U.S. Ski & Snowboard Director of Sport Education Gar Trayner. “It’s exhilarating to recognize the amazing success stories we’re seeing around the country.”

OVERALL DEVELOPMENT COACH OF THE YEAR

SNOWBOARD DEVELOPMENT COACH OF THE YEAR
Ben Wisner, Mammoth Ski & Snowboard Team, Mammoth Lakes, Calif.

Ben Wisner, director of freeski and snowboard for the Mammoth Mountain Ski & Snowboard Team, was named both the overall and snowboard Development Coach of the Year. He was recognized by his peers as a ‘one-of-a-kind coach’ whose success with his own program at Mammoth also has a strong impact on the sport nationally.

During his 20 years of coaching, Wisner has found success by always looking to the next generation of athletes. This past season, he extended his expertise as a coach at Junior World Championships in Switzerland.

OVERALL U.S. SKI & SNOWBOARD TEAM COACH OF THE YEAR

ALPINE TEAM COACH OF THE YEAR
Forest Carey, Park City, Utah

Veteran alpine coach Forest Carey was recognized as Coach of the Year, as well as Alpine Coach of the Year. It was the fourth time he has won the alpine honor.

In his 12-year career with the national team, The highlight of the season came at the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing, where Ryan Cochran-Siegle took super-G silver.

U.S SKI & SNOWBOARD TEAM SPORT COACHES OF THE YEAR
Cross Country – Jason Cork, Stratton Mountain, Vt.

Longtime U.S. Ski Team World Cup Coach Jason Cork was awarded the Cross Country Coach of the Year honors.

Cork has worked with three-time Olympic medalist Jessie Diggins since 2010, before she was on the national team. He serves as both her personal coach and wax technician. A year ago Diggins won the overall World Cup title as well as the distance World Cup title. This past season, she won two Olympic medals—silver in the 30k freestyle mass start and bronze in the freestyle sprint—and became the first American since 1976 to win an individual Olympic medal.

Freeski – Dave Euler, Park City, Utah

Dave Euler, who coaches the U.S. Pro Freeski Slopestyle and Big Air Team, was named Freeski Coach of the Year. Euler was previously the 2019 recipient and in 2016 was named Freeski Development Coach of the Year.

Euler led the U.S. Freeski Slopestyle and Big Air Team to great success this season starting off with a podium sweep by Colby Stevenson, Alex Hall and Nick Goepper at Dew Tour. At the 2022 Beijing Olympics, Alex Hall won gold and Nick Goepper earned silver in slopestyle, and Colby Stevenson earned silver in big air. At the conclusion of the season, the team was awarded the FIS Nations Cup.

Freestyle – Vladimir ‘Vlad’ Lebedev, Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Vladimir ‘Vlad’ Lebedev, head aerials coach for the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team, was named Freestyle Coach of the Year for the third year in a row. Lebedev joined the team in 2019 and has been a valuable asset with his extensive knowledge of the sport, background as an athlete and international coaching experience for multiple countries.

It was a strong season for the U.S. aerials team, capped by Olympic gold in the debut of the team event with Chris Lillis, Justin Schoenefeld and Ashley Caldwell, and a bronze from Megan Nick in the women’s individual event. In addition to the team’s Olympic success, five U.S. Freestyle Team aerialists finished in the top-10 in the season-long FIS World Cup rankings.

Nordic Combined/Ski Jumping – Chris Gilbertson, Steamboat Springs, Colo.

Chris Gilbertson, jumping coach for the U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team, was named Nordic Combined/Ski Jumping Coach of the Year.

Gilbertson, who had coached up to 2013, returned to the United States in the summer of 2020 when the nordic combined team was challenged to get international coaches into the USA because of the pandemic onset. The team heartily welcomed him back. In the two years since his return, he has been consistently supporting, challenging and motivating athletes.

Snowboard – J.J. Thomas

JJ Thomas, Olympic bronze medalist in halfpipe from 2002 and U.S. Snowboard Team halfpipe coach, was recognized with the Snowboard Coach of the Year award.

As a private coach for Shaun White, he was instrumental in White’s stunning comeback in 2018 to win his third Olympic gold medal. He then brought his skills to the U.S. Snowboard Team where he has impacted a wide range of athletes.

This past season his athletes had a remarkable season, led by Chloe Kim winning a repeat Olympic halfpipe gold. His men’s team placed three in the top seven in Beijing, including White just missing a medal in fourth.

SPORT DEVELOPMENT COACHES OF THE YEAR

Alpine – Ian Dunlop, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail, Vail, Colo.

Ian Dunlop, the head U16 men’s coach at Ski & Snowboard Club Vail, was recognized as Alpine Development Coach of the Year. He was recognized not only for the success of his own athletes, but for his overall contribution to development within the region and nationally.

In 2019, he took on his current role in Vail making an immediate impact with his U16 athletes posting strong results and moving on to be successful at the FIS level. This past season his U16 men dominated national junior championships with podium finishes across all disciplines, including four of the top five overall. Although top national results get the headlines, Dunlop is known for building an atmosphere where every single athlete on his team feels 100% committed to the team.

Cross Country – Miles Havlick, University of Utah, Salt Lake City

Miles Havlick, cross country coach for the University of Utah, was awarded the Cross Country Development Coach of the Year Award. He was recognized not only for the success of the Utes cross country athletes who won a 15th national title this past year, but for the impact he and his athletes are having on sport development.

This past season, his Utah cross country team included five U.S. Ski Team members, three of which competed at the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing. Four of those athletes raced in World Cups and the fifth competed at the U23 World Championships.

Two of his athletes, Sophia Laukli and Novie McCabe, were top-20 in their debut Olympics. Both also took NCAA titles to help boost the Utes to the national title. They also finished fifth and seventh in the Tour de Ski final hill climb. In addition, Sydney Palmer-Leger is ranked as the number one junior woman in the world on the FIS distance points list.

Freeski – Greg Ruppel, Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club, Aspen, Colo.

Greg Ruppel, who heads the freeski program at the Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club, was awarded the Freeski Development Coach of the Year Award. Ruppel, who has been coaching for nearly 20 years, was acknowledged for his all-around work in coaching and program management at AVSC and his engagement with the Freeski Sport Committee.

Freestyle – Bill Harris, Mont Chalet Freestyle Aerial Training Center, Chesterland, Ohio

Bill Harris, an innovator in freestyle aerials skiing for over four decades, was named Freestyle Development Coach of the Year. While most wouldn’t look at the state of Ohio as a hotbed of freestyle skiing, Harris’ work over the years has helped develop a host of Olympians including 2022 team gold medalist Justin Schoenefeld.

Nordic Combined/Ski Jumping – Todd Eing, Harris Hill, Brattleboro, Vt.

Vermont ski jumping coach and program leader Todd Eing was awarded the Nordic Combined/Ski Jumping Development Coach of the Year Award. Eing has been instrumental in developing a junior ski jumping program at Harris Hill, which just celebrated its 100th year of holding an annual tournament.

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