topper Ski & Snowboard Club Vail

Coaches

Elana Chase, Freeski Program Director

Elana Chase, Freeski Program Director

Elana “E” Chase, is a former member of the U.S. Freestyle Development Team for inverted aerials and moguls. Elana has coached freeskiing and other sports for well over a decade. She began her career coaching skiing full time at Okemo Mountain School in Vermont for 4 years. She then made her way to Colorado where she coached the Aspen team for another 6 years. Elana is now starting her 6th season here at Vail. In the past few years at SSCV, we have seen tremendous positive changes in the freeski and big mountain programs.

“I can’t thank Aldo, SSCV and Vail enough for giving myself and the freeskiing community the opportunity to create something new and truly special here in Vail. I have had a great first few years and I am looking forward to many more.”

Chase has worked hard over the years and has created a strong reputation and loyal following. Elana has been fortunate to coach several top skiers, including: Jen Hudak, Torin Yater-Wallace, David Wise, Alex Ferreira, Aaron Blunck, Broby Leeds, Sammy Schuiling, Lennon Vaughan, Annalisa Drew, Anais Caradeux, Tucker Perkins, Anna Segal, Taylor Seaton, Adam Crook, Jess Cumming, Walter Wood, and more.

Chase was awarded at SIA, the Pioneering Women’s Award from the Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition | CAMBER® for her work as a mentor and coach in 2011. In 2008, she was named Freestyle Domestic Coach of the Year by the United States Ski & Snowboard Association (USSA). It was the first time a park-and-pipe coach or a woman had earned that distinction. April 2012, Elana was named Vail Ski & Snowboard Club’s Coach of the year. Elana was featured this winter 2011 in the ESPN’s series “Behind the Curtain.”

Under Chase’s direction, the Vail Freeski Program was the USSA Freeski Club of the Year for 2014 and 2013.  Vail Freeski is the only ski program in history to win this award from USSA back to back!

Chase has coached over a dozen freeskiing athletes at Winter X Games since 2004. She has helped both men and women achieve X Games medals every year since 2005 through 2016. Eighteen X Games Medals: 7 Gold, 5 silver and 9 bronze in both halfpipe and slopestyle. Elana also coached 14 of the freeski athletes who went on to attending the Sochi Olympics for its debut 2014. She also participated in Sochi as a coach of the French National Team. Elana has coached multiple athletes to achieve podiums and wins at every major, national, international and local freeski level of events. All three Gatorade Freeflow Champions in Halfpipe have come from her program. Two athlete have been invite to the prestigious Youth Olympic Games 2013 & 2016.

Elana Chase is a licensed USASA Coach and a USSA Coach -Level 4 Certified for aerials and new school acrobatic skiing.

“Although I have been very fortunate to work with amazing athletes, and I am currently working with a talented crew here in Vail, it isn’t all about the podiums. It is about helping kids learn to be good people, good student and good athletes. For me, the best part of coaching is helping someone dig deep down inside to achieve something they didn’t think possible for themselves. That could be something as simple as a 360 on a trampoline, to going off a jump for the first time, to sliding a rail or learning a double out of a halfpipe. It’s awesome to see someone put the effort in and come out learning a new skill!”

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Dave Zweig, Freeski Lead Coach

Dave Zweig, Freeski Lead Coach

Dave is back for another season with the SSCV Freeski program.  He has been with the program for 6 years, and enjoyed watching progression of the athletes throughout the years.

He started competing in park and pipe events on the east coast when he was 16 years old, and has kept that passion ever since.  Dave attended Penn State University where he graduated with a degree in Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Management in 2007.  His focus was on outdoor recreation, thus providing him the opportunity to get a senior internship at Copper Mountain Colorado.  He has been living, competing, working, and playing in Colorado since.  Dave is an avid mountain biker, billiards enthusiast, and outdoor fun seeker when he is not at work.

Dave is a licensed USSA and USASA coach.  He hopes to pass along many life lessons that he has learned through his many years of athletics, competition, and different coaching experiences he has had over the years.

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Justin Holder, Big Mountain Team Manager & Coach

Justin Holder, Big Mountain Team Manager & Coach

Justin joined SSCV in 2014. He hails from Bemus Point, New York. Justin graduated from the University of Northern Colorado in 2013 with a degree in Recreation, Tourism and Hospitality Management. In the time since, Justin has lived, worked, and played in Vail.  Now in his fourth season with SSCV, Justin’s coaching has impacted athletes from the Rookie level all the way up to National Team athletes. Justin holds coaching certificates with USSA, IFSA, and is also a SSCV Certified Trampoline Coach.
Justin is devout to develop strength and skill in his athletes. His upbringing as a competitive ice-hockey player has taught him value of hard work, focus, grit and discipline.  As a coach, Justin strives to pass along those lessons, helping athletes become successful on and off the slopes.  When he isn’t coaching he can be found touring, mountain biking and weight lifting. He also works at the local gym and as a WECMRD trampoline coach in his spare time.

“Although Justin did not start his athletics in competitive skiing, I knew all that hockey and his good nature would spill over to positively affect our ski athletes. My hunch was good. Justin is a diamond in the rough for our coaching staff.  I am continually impress with Justin’s willingness to work hard for the kids, put in long hours, and learn new things. He listen to the kids, the other coaches, and takes the time to educate and better himself within the ski world. Justin has fortitude and self discipline that the kids admire and respect.” - E. Chase | Freeski Director

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Matias Doherty, Freeski Coach - Big Mountain

Matias Doherty, Freeski Coach - Big Mountain

Matias joining SSCV Freeski Big Mountain coaching staff in January 2016. He was an instant hit with the athletes!  From the moment GO, he took an assertive and responsible approach to everything! From his first introduction email to the daily video and weekly emails he also won the parents over.  Athletes were very excited to be in his group because he was support, made things fun and he a damn good skier!  Matias hails from the country of Chile and Up State New York. That is an interesting combo, but it has definitely sharped him to have all the right ingredients for a successful ski coach.  Currently, Matias attends CMC, Competes on the Big Mountain professional circuit during Chile winter (our summer) and is an instructor for Beaver Creek.

“Due to the significant number of parent accolades on our end of season surveys, it was obvious that Matias could be offered a more significant role with our program for 2017 and succeed! Matias has competed at Big Mountain, and he is doing so right now, during the summer months (winter in Chile). I am pleased to have Matias back on staff, starting DAY ONE of our season.  I really look forward to having our kids be around those positive vibes that Matias brings to our big mountain team. “ -E | Freeski Director

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Spencer Booth, Freeski Coach - Park & Pipe

Spencer Booth, Freeski Coach - Park & Pipe

We are excited to announce that Spencer Booth will be joining Vail Freeski as a Full Time coach for the 2016/2017 season.  This is Spencer’s third season with SSCV. He joined SSCV during the winter of 2014 and graciously coached our Rookie Team while balancing time with VR Ski School. 

Spencer started his love for Freesking with his own competition career, based out of Park City, Utah. Afterward, Spencer finished his B.S in Business Marketing and a minor in Mental Aspects of Sports at Utah State University.  In his spare time, he still worked with athletes up in Park City.  Spencer developed a knack for Sports Marketing and applied this to a few start up projects in sports. One of which is a wakesurf company currently based out of San Diego, California - his original hometown.  Another project was working with our SSCV to build edits to enter online competitions.
Spencer fills his personal time quite well, but he has a strong passion for helping others, especially athletes!  His mission in coaching is to apply his knowledge on and off the slopes to help that budding athlete be the whole package: have a great personal brand and reputation off of the slopes as well as achieve great things in competition on the slopes.

Spencer has a great reputation himself as we head into this winter.  He coached summer water ramp camps and the athletes were please and enjoyed with his coaching skills. “Is it really training if you are having fun, being challenged, and love what you are doing? Let’s work hard, but enjoy it! You’ll find great satisfaction in your personal growth!” - Spencer Booth

“Spencer was a stand out coach last winter. I am delighted to have Spencer back in Vail coaching with us this winter.  I am very please to have Spencer full-time staff and look forward to working with him again. Spencer will mostly work with the middle school athletes, and keep his creative juices going with our landmark video projects that we started last year.”  -E. Chase | Freeski Director

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Bob Sonntag, Freeski Coach & Rookie Team Coordinator

Bob Sonntag, Freeski Coach & Rookie Team Coordinator

Bob Sonntag has been with SSCV since 2011. He was previously affiliated with Beaver Creek Competition Department and Gore Mountain. He has coached a wide array of ages.  Bob is a certified PSIA Level 2 Freestyle Specialist, a certified USSA Level 3 Freeski coach, and a licensed USASA Coach.

Bob has skied every season since he was three years old, (don’t ask how many!), and has skied 12 consecutive months of the year for the past eight years straight. Bob’s father recalls a time that young Bob was punished by taking away his lift ticket but continued to ski by climbing the hill time after time. This early passion for the sport led Bob to compete in professional freestyle skiing, mostly moguls, and big air, with one international podium and many top ten finishes. Bob has coached, and instructed both recreational, and competitive skiers for many years.

Because of this experience, in the mid 2000’s the ski school at Beaver Creek put Bob in charge of groups of kids interested in what was at the time a fledgling park, and pipe program. Some of the kids in this program excelled, and it was natural that they wanted to show their skills and push themselves to another level, so Bob began to travel with them to local events. As a group they were very successful locally and went on to compete in USASA events in Colorado. With limited resources at Beaver Creek, and a growing desire to compete, Bob and his core group of kids moved over to Ski and Snowboard Club Vail in 2011. Some of the members of this original group continue to compete today at both national and international events. 

Bob Says, “I am honored to work with coaches, Elana, John, DZ and others! Coaching is a never ending learning experience and it is great to glean ideas from these talented athletes/coaches in order to help our athletes succeed. My #1 goal is to develop a cohesive team where the kids really support each other and are able to develop fundamental skills as safely as possible while their passion for the sport of skiing continues to grow! Since I have been with SSCV I have been extremely proud of the efforts of the athletes I have coached, and in 2014, nine SSCV Rookie Team athletes were invited to USASA Nationals at Copper Mountain where they earned seven podiums! I am also very proud to have participated in my small way to the club that earned back-to-back USSA Freeski Club of the year awards in both 2013, and 2014!”

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Garrett Scahill, Freeski Big Mountain Coach

Garrett Scahill, Freeski Big Mountain Coach

Garrett joined SSCV in 2002. He is originally from South Portland, ME. He is certified with USSA, PSIA and IFSA. His goal for his athletes this season is to foster an environment to help them become the best athletes and humans they can.

Garrett graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2000 with a BS in Outdoor Experiential Education. When he isn’t on the slopes he is biking, hiking, surfing, climbing, traveling and spending time with his wife and son.

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Tanner Coulter, Freeski Big Mountain Coach

Tanner was born and raised in Eagle, Colorado, and skied for Ski Club Vail for years before getting into coaching. He has coached both park/pipe and big mountain teams, and enjoys watching SSCV athletes improve and get more comfortable on their skis. In the offseason, Tanner is a hunting guide, builder, and student. This season, Tanner looks forward to working with SSCV’s Big Mountain Team on both strength and and overall skiing ability.

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Nick Courtens, Freeski Big Mountain Coach

Nick Courtens, Freeski Big Mountain Coach

Born on a farm in Hudson, New York, Nick started skiing at the age of 3 at Hunter Mountain. Nick started racing at the age of 10 at Catamount and Jiminy Peak where he then took up park skiing in his early teens. He then joined the Mount Snow Academy Freeski program where he competed in Park & Pipe for 3 years. After high school, Nick took a year before school to travel and compete around the east coast. After graduating with a Horticulture degree from Temple University in PA, Nick moved to Vail in April 2010 for a job as head gardener at Betty Ford Alpine Gardens. Nick started coaching the following season as a freeski coach for the rookie team. He now coaches the Big Mountain team on the weekends and plans on competing in the Freeride World Qualifier events.

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Steve Guarascio, Freeski Rookie Team Coach

Steve Guarascio, Freeski Rookie Team Coach

Steve grew up in Southern California, surfing at Hermosa Beach, and discovered skiing in his teens. He made his first turns on Snow Summit at Big Bear lake, and knew right away that he wanted to live in a ski town some day. After moving to Vail in ’76, Steve joined the Vail Ski Patrol in ’89 and enjoyed an amazing 27 years with a great crew of fun and amazing people. This season, he is looking forward to working with the SSCV crew and coaching the weekend Freeski Rookie program. Steve says, “I raised two awesome daughters on Vail mountain and know how much fun it is to work with kids on their skiing and knowledge of the mountain while keeping it fun and safe.”

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Taryn Miletti, Freeski Coach - Rookie Team

Taryn Miletti has been with SSCV for 4years. She is one of the most requested coach each Fall when we are creating the coaching group. Taryn lives locally in the Vail area and is also the manager at the Fitz.

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Max Silver, Freeski Rookie Team Coach

Max Silver, Freeski Rookie Team Coach

Originally from West Hartford CT, Max began his coaching career in 2010 at Sugarbush resort in VT, where he worked for the Diamond Dog’s competition freestyle program, as well as the Snow Blazer non-competitive team. Looking to take his career to the next level he moved to Vail and was grateful to be hired at the club, hearing about the great reputation. As well having a fine tuned technical approach to coaching skiers of all ages, Maxwell also strives to be a role model on and off the hill.

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Leo Wolfson, Freeski Coach

Leo Wolfson, Freeski Coach

Leo grew up skiing the icy slopes of Minnesota and started getting very serious about his riding around 2005. He competed consistently in slopestyle and rail jam competitions throughout high school and loved every aspect of the sport whether wearing a bib or just filming with friends. Leo moved to Colorado in 2009 to attend college at CU-Boulder but his passion for skiing hardly wavered, routinely making the 90-minute trip to the mountains throughout the winter.
Although no longer a competition rider these days, Leo still takes a passionate approach to his skiing- hiking rails for hours and skinning mountains well into the summer. The opportunity to share his passion with a future generation of skiers is what got Leo into coaching and he loves every minute of it. He notes, “there is nothing more thrilling to me than helping someone else progress at the sport I love so much.”

Leo spent his first year coaching with Team Summit last winter and is excited to join the Ski Club Vail team this season!

Leo is currently 18 mountains deep in his goal to hike every 14,000 ft peak in Colorado and also enjoys rock climbing, struggling at golf, and writing in his spare time.

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