Keller tabbed to spearhead development
The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) has appointed Lester Keller as Regional Alpine Development Director.
The USSA makes the move with the goal to “create a national approach to alpine development.” The announcement of the new position follows the organization’s recent push toward a unified youth training program. In May, the USSA introduced a youth training curriculum called SkillsQuest and a new Club Development System.
“This shift will look at what is successful in our top performing clubs from each region and bring that knowledge together to create a national program that increases the number of young athletes we have qualifying for the national team,” said USSA Alpine Director Patrick Riml. “His experience in creating and building development programs over the past 20 years with the U.S. Ski Team and in guiding the highly successful Western Region make him a perfect fit for this innovative role within our organization.”
Keller transitions into the role after spending more than 20 years in USSA development programs, including serving as director of the top performing Western Region. The Western powerhouse has been the top scoring region at the U.S. Alpine Championships for the past 11 seasons.
According to a USSA release, Keller’s position will generate further support for USSA clubs and promote cooperation amongst regions with the goal of increasing the number of regional level skiers who qualify for the national team. Keller will provide direction and leadership to three new regional coaches (Eastern, Rocky/Central and Western regions) to be hired this summer.
“The first step is for me to visit each region and their top performing clubs to learn about what is working well within their programs,” said Keller. “After identifying those resources, we'll then build a national development program through our regional coaches that will support those clubs with some of the things that they maybe can't do on their own.
This is about creating the opportunity for positive cooperation nationally amongst our clubs and regions with the ultimate goal of increasing the quality and quantity of regional level ski racers in the United States,” continued Keller
Keller will also work with newly hired U16/U18 coach Thomas Erhard to help identify the top performing young athletes across the country.