Winter Sports Club hires new Alpine director
May 6, 2016
Steamboat Springs — Adam Chadbourne has not won an Olympic gold medal.
In fact, he hasn't even competed in an Olympics.
He took those life disappointments in stride Thursday, laughing as he considered the shoes he was tasked with filling as the new Alpine director for Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.
Following Olympic gold medalist Deb Armstrong and, most recently, three-time Olympian Caroline Lalive Carmichael, Chadbourne said he'll bring a different kind of experience to the position.
"I don't bring that Olympic pedigree, but I do bring a different skill set," he said. "I hope it will be beneficial in its own way."
Chadbourne may not have any first-hand Olympic experience, but with 20 years as an Alpine skiing coach, including four with the U.S. Ski Team, he does bring plenty to the table.
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He skied competitively through college at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, then jumped into coaching. It seemed a good way to build interpersonal skills that might be helpful elsewhere.
It didn't take him long to realize that "elsewhere" would be a long way off. He loved coaching skiing.
"I never intended to become a ski coach," he said. "I just fell in love with it."
He got the chance to work with the U.S. Ski Team two years later, starting at a regional level.
He may not have won any Olympics medals, but he has spent plenty of time coaching athletes who did, including Mikaela Shiffrin, Ted Ligity and Andrew Wiebrecht.
He eventually rose to coach the U.S. Ski Team's men's Europa Cup technical skiing — slalom and giant slalom — squad.
He also served as the Alpine director at Burke Mountain Academy in Vermont for seven years and, most recently, logged three years as director of athletic performance at Waterville Valley Academy in New Hampshire.
"What really gets me going is the human things in the sport," he said. "When you see someone learn, that's exciting to me. I love helping others learn, not just how to be a good ski racer, but how to be a better person and how to handle success and failure."
Chadbourne is the fourth director of the program in the past nine seasons. Armstrong was in the position from 2008 to 2014, then stepped aside when Lalive Carmichael took the lead in 2014.
Lalive Carmichael said her decision to resign was both difficult and, considering her five-month-old daughter, Freya, easy.
"That was entirely the issue," she said. "It's a big job, and whoever's doing the job serves everyone, and that person needs to be out on the hill a lot and available to all the groups. Before I had Freya, I enjoyed that, but after, I realized I wasn't able to commit quite the same amount of time to it."
She informed Winter Sports Club officials early in the spring she would be stepping down. The search began and eventually ended with Chadbourne, even though he comes without a single Olympic start.
He's getting right to work. He arrived in Steamboat on Thursday and will travel Saturday with a group of club skiers to Loveland for a day of work.
"I'm excited," he said. "It's a very attractive position on many levels. To work with such high-level coaches and athletes is great, and the community, that's what really attracted me. It's a great job."