SSWSC coach named US Ski and Snowboard Alpine Domestic Coach of the Year
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Ben Brown refuses to take all the credit, but the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Winter Sports Club U16 Alpine coach was named the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Alpine Domestic Coach of the Year for 2020.
“I’ve been really lucky to work with a really hardworking, committed group of athletes that have been willing to meet me. It’s a reciprocal relationship where they work hard, and that hard work is immediately followed up with hard work from myself and other coaches,” Brown said. “I’ve also been very fortunate to work with amazing coaches within this community and within the larger ski racing community. I’ve learned so much from them.”
Apparently, being incredibly humble is just one of the qualities that earned Brown the award in the first place. This award wasn’t just for SSWSC coaches, or even an award for a coach in the Rocky Mountain/Central region in which the SSWSC participates. This was a national award granted by the U.S/ Ski and Snowboard Association.
“He is continually working on his personal coaching philosophy. He’s always working hard to figure out how to be a better coach,” said Darlene Nolting, the Rocky/Central Region development director. “He’s really humble. I think of him as an athlete as well. He’s really competitive, so of course, he wants to do really well, and he works really hard, but he is humble even though he is competitive in a way that he listens to the athletes.”
Brown has been coaching for about 15 years and started with the SSWSC in 2013. This past year, he helped his athletes earn podium finishes and titles. He helped six skiers qualify for U16 Nationals. Nick Demarco won the Rocky/Central U16 Super-G, while Tatum Grosdider won the overall title at the Rocky/Central U16 /junior Championships. She traveled to the U16 National Project in Alpe Cimbra where she took sixth in GS with Brown’s support. Meanwhile, Katya Thurston, Caroline Gilchrist, Colin Kagan and Charlie Welch all had podium or top-five finishes.
Nolting said Brown doesn’t just focus on his athletes who finish higher on the sheet. Her daughter competed at the U16 level a few years ago and while she wasn’t the most talented like some of the other skiers her age, Brown didn’t focus on her any less.
“When she finished her second year U16, she ended up qualifying for junior champs,” Nolting said. “At the start of U16, there’s not very many coaches that would have believed that that was possible for her at that point in her skiing career.”
Nolting added that not only does Brown have a technical eye for ski racing, but he’s able to translate what he sees into terms his athletes can digest and use to improve their form and results.
Brown probably connects with his athletes so well because he was one himself. Before coaching at Green Mountain Valley School and Loveland, he was a FIS skier and a Division I collegiate skier at Western Colorado University.
A year ago, he also took on the role as Rocky Mountain Division Alpine Competition Committee chair, which takes up some of his time. When he’s not coaching, he is spending time with his “most amazing” wife, Rita, who he married last October in Steamboat.
“I think this award is more of a reflection of your career,” Brown said. “This award is a reflection of the seven years that I’ve been in Steamboat and the success of the athletes that I’ve coached during that time.”
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