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Jalilvand, Wilson Join U.S. Freestyle Ski Team Staff

By Lara Carlton
June, 8 2021
Farzad Jalilvand, Chris Lillis
Farzad Jalilvand, Aerials' new athletic development coach, trains Chris Lillis at the USANA Center of Excellence (Lara Carlton - U.S. Ski & Snowboard).

The U.S. Freestyle Ski Team kicked off their 2021-22 prep season with two new staff members. Farzad Jalilvand joins aerials as athletic development coach and Olympic bronze medalist and former U.S. Ski Team member Bryon Wilson joins moguls as World Cup coach. 

The work spent training this summer is crucial as the Team heads into the Olympic year, and both Jalilvand and Wilson look forward to preparing athletes for the opportunity to represent their country on the world’s highest sporting stage.

Jalilvand, who will also serve as the athletic development coach for the Freeski rookies, comes to U.S. Ski & Snowboard with more than 10 years of experience. Jalilvand earned his Bachelor’s of Physiology in 2008 and his Master’s in Exercise Physiology in 2010, both from California State University, Northridge, where he has also taught since 2011. He is currently pursuing his Doctorate in Sport and Exercise from the University of Gloucestershire. 

Jalilvand’s experience extends across almost all sports at all levels. Most recently he served as the director of strength and conditioning at Grenada Hills Charter High School, where he was responsible for the physical preparation of athletes for basketball, soccer, football, track and field, volleyball and baseball. Jalilvand has consulted with Atlanta United, and has collaborated internationally on projects with performance staff from England, Australia and Brazil. He has published 21 manuscripts, focusing on the areas of fatigue monitoring, sprinting, resistance training, and change of direction and agility. 

Born in Iran and raised in Sweden, Jalilvand moved to the U.S. in 2004 and became a citizen in 2019. This marks Jalilvand’s first foray into winter sports and he is incredibly honored to be working at the Olympic level. “I’ve always wanted to work at the Olympic level,” he said. “I became a U.S. citizen in 2019 and always wanted to represent the U.S. in some way, it’s been one of my biggest goals.”

Jalilvand is approaching his position from an educational perspective. “These athletes are so motivated to begin with. So instead of approaching my role from that perspective, I’m constantly educating the athletes on ‘why.’ Why do we do cleans? Why do we squat? I want to encourage them to ask questions so they understand how strength and conditioning work plays into their performance on snow.”

Joining the team heading into an Olympic season has Jalilvand focused on keeping his athletes healthy. “We want these athletes to be as healthy as possible so they can have good and productive training camps. My goal is to facilitate a performance program that keeps them healthy, but also improves their performance at the same time. Specifically for aerials, I want to make them as strong as possible as it relates to landing. They experience a lot of forces coming down, up to 15Gs. My goal is to mitigate that by making them stronger in those specific positions.”

“Farzad has already hit the ground running getting our team in shape for this prep and competition season,” said Head Aerials Coach Vladimir Lebedev. “His vast experience across sport has given our athletes a new perspective on their strength and conditioning program. Farzad’s dedication and professionalism in the gym means I know my athletes have the ability to perform the workload we go through at the pools and on snow. I am excited to have Farzad join our team!”

After retiring from mogul skiing competition in 2018, Wilson is making his comeback to the U.S. Ski Team on the coaching side. 

Wilson started skiing when he was three-years-old and fell in love with moguls when he was 12. After finding some success in local Montana programs, the Wilson family moved to Utah so Wilson and his brother, Brad (a current U.S. Ski Team member), could participate in a full time program. Wilson skied with Wasatch Freestyle from 2004 to 2006 and made the U.S. Ski Team in 2007. Wilson was a World Cup skier for 11 years, earning four podiums, including one victory in his 77 starts; was the 2009 U.S. National Mogul Champion; and bronze medalist at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. 

Following his retirement from the U.S. Ski Team in 2018, Wilson joined the mogul coaching staff of Wasatch Freestyle. Named U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s Freestyle Domestic Coach of the Year in 2019 and 2020, he has coached four athletes to achieving U.S. Ski Team spots: Sabrina Cass, Kasey Hogg, Madison Hogg and Nick Page; has qualified multiple athletes to Junior World Championships; and has coached multiple NorAm wins and champions. 

Wilson’s coaching experience extends back to when he was on the U.S. Ski Team and ran ski camps in Whistler with his brother and fellow athlete Sho Kashima, longer if you count the brother dynamic between him and Brad. “I’ve coached [Brad] since he was a little Grom,” Wilson quipped. 

“I thought what I had to offer [to the skiers in the Whistler camps] clicked and resonated with the athletes, and that’s what I really enjoyed. I enjoy seeing athletes figure stuff out and the light bulb light up. I like the challenge of figuring out what works for each athlete. Each athlete is different, you have to find out what verbiage and what kind of approach works for each individual. My goal is to try to have every athlete reach their highest potential.”

Bringing his competition and Olympic experience will be invaluable to the team this season and he is excited to be working at the national level. “I’m really excited about working with all of the athletes on this team. They are all very high-performing, dedicated, and willing to become the best. I enjoy working with athletes that want the best out of themselves. If they want that, I can help guide them there.”

“My goal right now is to develop a good relationship with the team. I want to be a great asset for them as they come into the season, hopefully I can help them get everything they can out of this sport.”

Serving as a coach on the U.S. Ski Team means Wilson is once again teammates with his brother, Brad. The Wilsons were teammates from 2012-2018, but this time the dynamic will be different. “[Being back on the team with Brad] is great, I love my brother. I am excited to work with him and not compete with him!”

“I am thrilled to welcome Bryon back to the U.S. Freestyle Mogul Ski Team,” said Head Moguls Coach Matt Gnoza, who coached Wilson from 2014-2018. “He’s been dedicated to the profession ever since he got into coaching. He is constantly working to better himself as a coach and has been very active in our sport committees. In a short period of time he has gained a lot of knowledge. He has earned the respect of our athletes and they describe Bryon as selfless, someone who will dedicate himself to everyone equally. I am excited to work with him heading into this important season.”

The U.S. Freestyle Ski Team is already hard at work on the water ramps at Official Training Site Utah Olympic Park and in the gym at the USANA Center of Excellence, with sights firmly set on the competition season ahead kicking off in December. 

U.S. Freestyle Ski Team Staff
Freestyle Director - Jeremy Forster
Team Manager - Alexis Williams
Communications Manager - Lara Carlton

Vladimir Lebedev - Head Coach
Eric Bergoust - World Cup Coach
JC Andre - World Cup Coach
Peter Toohey - Physical Therapist
Farzad Jalilvand -  Athletic Development Coach

Matt Gnoza - Head Coach
Riley Campbell - World Cup Coach
Bryon Wilson - World Cup Coach
Chuck Williams - Physical Therapist
Josh Bullock - Athletic Development Coach