U.S. Alpine Ski Team Announces Additions to 2019-20 Staff
Following spring planning meetings, the U.S. Alpine Ski Team has announced key staffing additions for the 2019-20 season, which kicks off with initial prep period camps starting this week at official training sites at Squaw Valley and Mammoth Mountain, California.
Alpine Director Jesse Hunt rejoined the U.S. Ski Team in spring 2018, at a key moment, when there was a desire among athletes and staff for a cultural shift within the organization. At the core of Hunt’s goals is the “winning at every level” mantra - one which he implemented successfully in his previous tenure. Under this mantra and the renewed focus on development, the Team saw success at both the elite and the junior level, including NorAm titles, as well as the best performance at FIS Junior World Championships in years - with two gold and two silver medals.
Another key objective for Hunt is hiring quality staff from within the American system and creating a path for development with these coaches at U.S. Ski & Snowboard. Headlining this list is Randy Pelkey, who previously worked at U.S. Ski & Snowboard as the head men’s development coach from 2007 to 2017 before taking the role as head coach for the Korean Ski Association’s men’s speed team heading into the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Games.
Pelkey will replace longtime U.S. Ski Team coach John “Johno” McBride, who announced in March that he’d chosen to leave in order to spend more time on the ranch in Aspen, Colorado with his family. While Pelkey was in South Korea, he utilized key relationships he built from his U.S. Ski & Snowboard days to create a vital training partnership between the Americans and South Koreans that would be valuable for both parties.
Having worked for the Western Region for a number of years prior to taking the head men’s development coach role with U.S. Ski & Snowboard, Pelkey has significant experience coaching speed, and specifically doing so with many of the current men’s World Cup speed team athletes, including veterans Steven Nyman (Sundance, Utah) and Travis Ganong (Squaw Valley, Calif.), as well as World Cup mainstays Bryce Bennett (Squaw Valley, Calif.) and Jared Goldberg (Holladay, Utah). Longtime coaches Scotty Veenis and Josh Applegate - who is also a former U.S. Alpine Ski Team member and men’s tech strength and conditioning coach - will round out the men’s speed coaching staff.
“This is really a dream job for me,” said Pelkey. “I’m looking forward to being back with many of the athletes I worked with in Western Region as they were coming up through the club system, and honored to work alongside a coaching staff with as much experience as this one. Scotty and Josh bring a great mix of coaching experience, knowledge of competition in speed at an elite level, and a deep understanding of the athletes we’ll be working with.”
On the men’s World Cup tech side, former Park City Ski Team men’s head coach Will Courtney will join Forest Carey and Ian Garner as an assistant coach and strength and conditioning coach, while former Head FIS Alpine Coach at Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, Ryan Wilson, will join Carey to support men’s slalom at the World Cup level. Matt Underhill will lead the Europa Cup/NorAm teams on the men’s side. As a former Ski & Snowboard Club Vail coach - and more recently Opportunity Racing coach - Underhill was a key member of the Junior World Championships coaching staff at Val di Fassa, Italy this past season. Underhill will be joined by assistant coach Josh Benge, who returns to the Europa Cup/NorAm level.
On the women’s side, the one key addition will be Katie Twible (formerly Hartman). Twible will join the women’s NorAm coaching staff, having previously served as U16 Head Alpine Coach at Craigleith Ski Club and was an elite level ski racer herself, competing for the University of Colorado. Twible will be a key player at the women’s World Cup technical and Europa Cup level, working with Magnus Andersson and Kris Shampeny, and her experience as both an elite level ski racer and women’s coach will serve her well as she takes on this new role with U.S. Ski & Snowboard.
“I am really excited about our staff changes for the upcoming season,” noted Hunt. “It is never easy to see accomplished coaches move on, but these changes will allow us to better position ourselves for the future. We have recruited some of the most successful young and veteran domestic coaches and I couldn’t be more thrilled to see them step up to the international level. These coaches are knowledgeable, dedicated and - in some cases - already have positive relationships with our athletes that were forged during their development. We are building a positive and professional staff around our athletes.”
The 2019-20 U.S. Alpine Ski Team nominations will be announced in May.