WMR/Intro to Race Coaches and Staff
Updated Monday June 18, 2018 by Paige Sidler.
The * WMR Staff is dedicated to the highest standard of training. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in a coaching position. WMR is seeking two full-time coaches for the 2018/2019 season: A snowboard coach and a freeski coach.
WMR Program Director:
- Sara Montgomery, General Manager of West Mountain and VP of the West Mountain School, has been named WMR's Program Director. Sara has been helping manage the WMR program for five years. Sara has four children in the WMR program: Madeline (U19, FIS, USSA, NYSSRA), Hunter (U19, FIS, USSA, NYSSRA), Meredith (U14, USSA, NYSSRA) and Hudson (U12, USSA, NYSSRA). Sara is currently working with Head Coach Courtney Strait on developing a comprehensive training, development and travel year-round calendar that has a heavy Skills Quest focus. Sara holds a USSA RA license and will work directly with Events Director Sascha Mehalik on races and development camps held at West Mountain. Sara was responsible for creating the U12 Flight Camp (Pre-Kandahar Prep Camp) at West Mountain that is now scheduled with NYSSRA. Sara also writes grants and fundraises for the West Mountain School, which supports WMR program members with program scholarships, safety equipment and supplies. Sara is committed to running an organized, professional year-around race program. Sara is passionate about children, athletics and the outdoors. Sara is a graduate of the University of Iowa with a BA in Journalism. She worked as an editor for Crain Communications in Chicago before staying home to raise her 4 children. She returned to the work force at West Mountain when her youngest, Hudson, started Kindergarten. She can be reached at email@example.com.
WMR Head Coach
- Courtney Strait (bio below)
Events Director and Chief of Race
- Sascha Mehalik--A former ski racer for National Sports Academy, Sascha Mehalik has become instrumental in race event planning and organization at West Mountain. Sascha is responsible for coordinating everything from volunteers to officials to bnet set up/take down, equipment inventory and repair, course asthetics, and more. His attention to detail does not go unnoticed by outside race organizers or by the coaches and staff at West Mountain.
WMR On-Site Race Tuning Technician availble to service our team members at our West Mountain Sports rental and pro shop
WMR Head Race Crew
- Frank Hohman--Chief of Course
- Steve Piesnikowski--Race event/course assistant
- Brian Carter--Head Gate Keeper
- Michael Donlon, Mark Pavlus, Michael Robertson, Babs Donlon, Cynthia Carter, Arnie Morehouse, and Robert Ruth
- Steve Rodman--Chief of Timing & Data
- Steve Hudson, Robert Underwood and Gerry Trudell
* Coaches *
- Courtney Strait (U16/U19, Core FIS)--New York native and former US Ski Team member Courtney Strait has joined West Mountain Racing as its U16/U19 Head Coach. Courtney was named to US Ski team at age 16. Becoming an all 4 event skier, racing on both Europe's FIS B circuit and Eurpoa Cup circuit. She made her debute at the World Cup in 2000 in GS, winning 1st place North American SG and GS. Other accolades include: 1st place Innerkrems Austria FIS super G, and 2nd in Gunzesried Germany FIS GS. Unfortunately, she experienced an injury ending career. Later, she went on to race for University of New Hampshire.
- Michael Gilbert (U14)--Mike Gilbert, a former West Mountain racer, has been a full-time ski coach for West Mountain Racing since 2015. Mike is a certified Level 400 Alpine Ski Coach who is also a certified Strength Coach and Personal Trainer through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. During his ski coaching career, Mike has worked with skiers from Intro to Race to the FIS level. Mike’s professional pursuit has included notable accomplishments coaching skiing at Nashoba Valley where he served as Head Coach and Program Director 1997-2000, Woods Valley 2001-04, and here at West Mountain.
- Mario Hluch (U16/U19/FIS)--Mario has been coaching since 2000. He is entering his second season coaching at West. Before coaching as West, Mario coached in Austria and Slovakia. While there he worked under the leadership of some of Europe’s top coaches and competed against other ski schools as a member of a demo team. Mario’s athletic passion also extends to tennis. In Europe he competed as a professional tennis player and later played for a Division 1 school in America. Mario is a PSIA Level 3 instructor and a USSA Level 200 coach.
- Chris Krochina (U10, Core FIS)--New hire Chris Krochina is joining WMR to coach the U10s and FIS level Core athletes. Chris will also be working with Courtney scheduling FIS races for WMR's FIS athletes. Chris has been coaching and instructing skiing for the last 30 years and has spent the last ten years as an independent NYSSRA, USASA, and FIS coach for his daughter Madison. He is a USSA Level 200 Certified Coach and USSA Level 2 Referee.
- Bill Bennett (U10)--Bill Bennett will be returning to coach in the 2018/2019 season for his 26th year at West Mountain. Bill is a Level 3 PSIA certified instuctor and USSA Level 100 certified coach and referee. Bill taught first lesson at West Mountain in 1968. He was formerly Assistant Director of Brodie Mt Ski School '75-'77, Ski School Director Alpine Meadows '77-'92 and then Race coach at West Mountain from '92- present. Bill is the proud father of coaches John and Victoria.
- Alex Hohman (U12, Core, FIS)--Alex will be entering his second season as a coach for West Mountain. Alex is a former ski racer for Queensbury High School, USSA racer for WMR, and FIS skier for Mount Mansfield Ski Club. Alex was a 2 time NYSPHSAA champion both at the team and individual level. At the Eastern US High School Championships, Alex took third place in GS. Alex has been a USSA member since 2004 and during that time was a NYSSRA representative to multiple Eastern US Alpine Championships. In his spare time, Alex enjoys restoring antique trucks and back country skiing in the Adirondacks and Tuckerman Ravine.
- Jason Kunzmann (U14)--Jason started his ski racing career when he was in 6th grade racing for Bristol Mountain Race Club. He then went on to be captain of his High School's Varsity Alpine Team. While going to college at University at Buffalo, Jason raced in the USCSA division while also acting as the Assistant Coach for his High School's Varsity Alpine Team. Upon graduating from Buffalo's Business School, Jason also obtained his New York State Coaching License. Jason is also a USSA certified Level 100 coach. Jason has a passion for coaching and helping others. In his free time he enjoys many outdoor activities such as hiking.
- Wesley Bishop (U16/U19)--A longtime West Mountain fan, Coach Wes Bishop, is entering his third season coaching for WMR. Wes has been involved with racing at West Mountain since he was 10 years old. As an amateur athlete at West, he was coached by the great Tom Jacobs, Izzy Ture and Mike Annett and went on to ski at the Canadian American FIS series and European Cup level. He then earned his first coaching position in 1974 at Bristol Mountain where he helped build the program from 29 kids to 60 kids in four years. He began coaching at West in the early 80s with Royce VanEvera and held coaching positions on and off until 2005. Several of Wes' athletes went on to competitive level skiing including one whom was an Olympic participant in the Calgary games. He attributes his coaching successes to his former West Mountain Racing coaches and mentors.
- Erin Collins Welch (U8)--Erin grew up skiing at West Mountain and racing for West Mountain's race team. She also raced for Glens Falls High School, qualifying for states all four years. Erin continued racing for Plymouth State University in New Hampshire and qualified to participate on Plymouth's national team, freshman and sophomore year. She continues to have a love and passion for ski racing and has coached the intro to racing program for the last two years. Erin and her husband Brian, have two young boys also enjoying the race program at West!
- Erik Smith (U12)--New hire Erik Smith grew up in Lake Placid, NY and competed for NYSEF and Northwood School and then went on to race for the University of Albany in the late 90s. Erik is a Level 100 coach and has been coaching for several years first at Jiminy Peak and then at Bromley Mountain. He is looking forward to helping coach WMR's U12s this season. Erik lives in Albany with his family.
- John Bennett (U14)--John Benett has been coaching at West Mountain since 2014. He is a graduate of Clarkson University where he ski raced in the USCSA division. In 2010, John's 9th place GS finish at the USCSA Mideast Regionals helped the Knights win the National Championship. John is a Level 100 Coach and referee.
- Marcus Steven (U8)
- James Woods (U8, U10)
- Nick Gush (U10, U12)
FIS Support Coaches
- Courtney Strait, Chris Krochina and Alex Hohman
Intro To Racing Coaches
- Patrick Cunningham
- David Newey
- Scott Palmer
- Brian Fish
*The WMR staff may change from time to time and without notice.