Lodico leaves SSWSC after 20 years in freestyle program
After 20 years coach at the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, freeskiing program director Tony Lodico is moving on.
Aside from one year off, Lodico has worked for the club for two decades, seeing the sport evolve and grow over the years. Lodico said he doesn’t necessarily want to leave, but he’s excited to hit the road with his wife Claire and kids Frostee and Kirra, and travel the world while they are still young.
He said he’s had the pleasure of not only working with hundreds of athletes but their parents, as well, who warned him that kids grow up faster than you can imagine.
“My son is now in second grade, and he’s going to be in middle school in three years, four years, so my wife and I decided we’re going to take an opportunity and go and travel and try to see the world — and hopefully dodge COVID — and spend some time exploring as a family,” Lodico said. “I think it’s really hard in American society today to spend as much time with your kids as you want.”
The Lodicos have a very fluid schedule but hope to start in Grenada, Switzerland, in a couple weeks.
“I think he viewed the sports from the athlete’s perspective, which is the way a coach and program director should,” said SSWSC Athletic Director Dave Stewart. “He’s got that focus on developing the kids as a whole person.”
For the remainder of the season, the freeskiing program will be led by some of the coaches. In the spring, the club will start a search for a new program director, a position Lodico held for eight years.
When Lodico first arrived at the SSWSC, the freeskiing program was an arm of the freestyle moguls program. In the past decade, it became its own discipline at the club.
First, freeskiing was seen as a park and pipe sport, done on a halfpipe and slopestyle course. Then it started to encompass big mountain skiing, ski mountaineering and backcountry skiing and safety.
“It’s grown, it’s changed, it’s evolved,” Lodico said. “I think that the club’s willingness to move around to where we saw things happening has been instrumental in that. … Now we’ve got ski touring and backcountry education and skimo. That’s growing as the gear gets better and the club is excited to move.”
Stewart said Lodico’s openness to evolve with the sport helped guide the club and athletes in the ever-changing aspects of freeskiing.
In the summer, Lodico would travel to New York and work at a camp for kids who have already or are likely to have encounters with law enforcement.
Freestyle skiing has never been as mainstream as Alpine or Nordic skiing, but that’s one of the reasons Lodico loves it. Lodico stressed the importance of remembering the nature and enjoyment of the sport ahead of the competitive aspects. He sees skiing as a means to developing kids as people, not just a way to earn accolades.
“Tony has always been intrigued by kids who have a need to explore,” said SSWSC Executive Director Sarah Floyd in a news release. “Not just in sport, but in their lives and in search of their purpose. He is focused on the kids who often are searching in all aspects of their lives and those who engage in sport for social, emotional and personal development. He is the one you want when your kid needs guidance.”
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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