U.S. Alpine Ski Team Coach Forest Carey (Park City, Utah) and Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club U16 Coach Ben Brown (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) picked up Alpine Coach of the Year honors from U.S. Ski & Snowboard. Carey was named Alpine International Coach of the Year while Brown was honored as Alpine Domestic Coach of the Year. It was the third time Carey has honored, having won in 2011 and 2015.
Overall Coach of the Year honors went to U.S. Snowboard Slopestyle Rookie Team Coach Nichole Mason (Dillon, Colo.). Former World Cup ski jumping winner Mike Holland (Norwich, Vt.), who coaches at Ford Sayre in Hanover, N.H., was named Development Coach of the Year.
Carey is a former national team athlete and a 10-year veteran coach of the Land Rover U.S. Alpine Ski Team. It was inspiring for fans to watch Carey’s athlete, Tommy Ford, come of age with his first career World Cup victory, winning on home snow in Beaver Creek last December. Ford took a second podium in Japan two months later, finishing fifth in the season World Cup giant slalom standings before the season was cut short with two races remaining.
Carey was recognized for having a deep sense of caring about his athletes and that shows every day on the hill. He is passionate and has so much belief in his athletes that he instills confidence. Carey is a student of the sport and always analyzes the details after every training session and competition – split times, course sets, equipment performance, snow quality. He has a sixth sense for his athletes’ needs and an unwavering standard for slope preparation. Carey has shown himself to be a gifted coach and it’s no coincidence that he has coached three of the seven U.S. athletes who have earned a World Cup giant slalom win.
“It is sort of an odd feeling because we are a part of these athletes’ lives when they are at the elite level,” he said. “But their families and their entire local ski communities are really the people who cultivated these athletes’ passion, commitment and skill, and, therefore deserve the recognition.
“I share this award with the selfless, caring, competent staff of coaches, servicemen, and physios whom I work with every day. We as a staff are fortunate to work dedicated athletes who are also great people. I hope we represent the American ski community well at the World Cup level. I’m honored to win this award.”
Brown, a former Western State College racer who has been coaching for over 15 years, is known as a humble coach with a strong work ethic. His success with athletes has been achieved by extending his own qualities to his athletes, with strong expectations of them, gaining their respect and achieving results. His work, and that of his coaches, have resulted in SSWSC having a high percentage of athletes transition from U16 to FIS racing.
“It is quite an honor to receive this award as there are many great ski coaches in this country, many of whom I look up to as mentors,” said Brown. “I am grateful to have had opportunities to coach at U16 International Competitions each of the past three seasons. Witnessing the best U16’s in the world train and compete has helped me to develop a sense of ownership in the mission of US Ski & Snowboard to win at every level.”
Steamboat qualified six athletes this season for U16 Nationals. Tatum Grosdidier was the overall winner at the Rocky/Central U16 Junior Championships and qualified for the U16 National Project in the Alpe Cimbra U16 Childrens Cup, where she finished sixth in GS. Brown attended Alpe Cimbra to support Grosdidier but also help all the U.S. athletes and learn from other international coaches. Nick Demarco won the Rocky/Central U16 super-G while Katya Thurston, Caroline Gilchrist, Colin Kagan and Charlie Welch all had podium or top five results. The results are typical of what Brown has accomplished in building a rich history in the Steamboat U16 program under his leadership.
A year ago, Brown was nominated by his peers to serve as the Rocky Mountain Division Alpine Competition Committee chair. He has brought his work ethic and positive attitude into the important divisional role. He also frequently serves on regional and national projects.
“To improve my coaching, I am constantly analyzing and questioning my own processes and fundamental beliefs and looking for ways to grow my knowledge of all things related to ski racing, skiing technique, tactics, coaching and athlete management,” he said. “I look to recognize the full potential in all the athletes I coach, regardless of their past performances. This belief helps me to see each athlete as a true individual and to address his or her needs in skiing and in life beyond with attention to detail.
“It is my goal to help all my athletes become great ski racers as well as to guide them into becoming model citizens who care about their teammates and the world around them. As a team we strive to build each other up during the tough days and we share in the celebrations of the achievement with one another.”