Other Opportunities for Coaches
Imagine spending months prepping an athlete for one race. Gritting your teeth as they squeak past the finish line a thousandth of a second ahead of the competition. Feeling the thrill and the rush of putting your talents and efforts into a skier who is number one. Coaching is a rewarding career for dedicated individuals.
Coaches take raw talent and combine it with experience and practice to mold athletically gifted individuals into winning machines. Coaching means long hours of work in the cold winter air on the race courses of the world. It’s not a job where you get a huge paycheck, but the rewards are all in watching your team win.
Types of Ski Coaching
Coaches are needed in specialized niches, such as…
Freestyle – This daring niche of competition includes big air, halfpipe, skier and snowboard cross races, moguls. Speed, grace, acrobatics, and pure talent are needed in this versatile category.
Adaptive – Disabled skiers and riders love to hurtle themselves down the mountain in races of all sorts.
Alpine – Alpine events are the oldest type of racing. This niche mesmerizes the world and is where the big money is located.
Nordic – There are downhill telemark races and cross-country races all over the world for athletes that like to lift the heel.
Snowboard – Going fast on a single board takes balance, skill, and talent.
Levels of Coaching
Most successful skiers and snowboarders start training at a very young age. Only a few make it to the professional level, but there are coaching opportunities for talented people at every level…
Many ski resorts have ski clubs that focus on coaching developing athletes in moguls, racing, freestyle, cross country, and every other niche. These clubs work with kids from a very young age and help them develop the necessary skills to be top-notch athletes in their respected sports.
There are approximately 7,000 racers on 600 men’s and women’s teams competing in United States Collegiate Ski Association (USCSA) competitions, which encompass 92 percent of all college ski racing.
Many of the participating schools are smaller colleges. Consequently, these schools are more apt to include skiing as a varsity activity and need the services of a full-time program director. Some powerhouse USCSA schools include Whitman College in Washington, Boston College, Brigham Young University, Sierra Nevada College in Nevada, and Central Oregon Community College. As budgets are often tight, it may be impossible to hire additional assistant coaches, which puts the entire work load on one coach. A nice benefit of coaching at some of these schools is that a contract may reduce or eliminate tuition fees if the coach wants to take classes on the side.
Schools competing in NCAA competitions include traditional powerhouses like the University of Colorado, Dartmouth, Middlebury, and the University of Vermont. These schools have well-developed programs, and their coaches are top-level administrators and technical specialists.
Ski and snowboard competitions are a growing phenomenon. In recent years events like skier cross and half pipe have been added to the Olympics. X-Games is always a smash event for snow sport enthusiasts. And every athlete at every event needs a qualified ski coach.
Related: Winter X Games Video
Ski racing is the oldest type of snow competition and has an incredible worldwide following. World Cup events can bring hundreds of thousands of people to small ski towns. Over a billion people watch the World Championship ski racing events. It is big business. Only the best of the best ski coaches make it to this level of prestigious coaching, but with hard work and dedication, maybe you could be one of them.
Different Events That Need Coaches
Skiers and snowboards compete in all sorts of events. Local resorts, regional groups, college associations, Olympic committees, International Ski Federation, and other organizations oversee most competitions. When deciding to become a coach you need to develop your skills to excel in a niche. What do you want to coach?
- Giant Slalom
- Super Combined
- Ski Jumping
- Nordic Combined
- Cross Country Ski Racing
- Half Pipe – Snowboard and Skiing
- Big Air
- Speed Skiing and Boarding
- Skier or Snowboard Cross
- Telemark Racing
Coaching is a small segment in the ski industry and a hard area to break into without experience, but it is possible for a dedicated person to become a ski coach. However, because of the myriad of skills required and the opportunities to travel, ski, and develop outstanding athletes, it’s a fascinating career avenue worthy of consideration.