Ride the Lift with... Savannah Nelson
Our new U14 lead coach
Gilboa: Hey Savannah, how old were you when you started ski racing?
Savannah (Savvy): I started ski racing when I was 5 years old at a little ski area called Ski Gull in Brainerd, MN. My family had recently moved from Oregon to Minnesota, where I had learned to ski on Mt Hood. Another family told us about the Northland Junior Race Series (NJRS), and we were hooked! I raced that series until I was in 5th grade and then made the switch to USSA (now USSS). Through the sport of ski racing I was able to participate in multiple Junior Olympic races, J2 Nationals, Mid-Am races, and travel the country!
My skiing inspiration definitely comes from my dad. He was a ski instructor on Mt Hood while we lived there. I was about 2 years old when he started bringing me along. He would drop me off at ski school for the day while he taught, then when he was done, we would sneak away to do a few extra runs. My dad was also my ski racing coach all the way through until I graduated High School. Hundreds of chairlift rides, video analysis hours, miles on the car, inspections, and so much more together. He learned just as much about ski racing as I did over our 15 year journey together! I am forever thankful for his dedication and love of the sport.
G:When did you decide you wanted to be a ski coach?
S: When I decided to pursue collegiate golf at Concordia University St Paul I knew that skiing still had to be a big part of my life somehow. I had a “right place, right time” situation which landed me a winter job coaching high school skiing at Jefferson in Bloomington. The next four years I spent my winter evenings at Hyland, often crossing paths with Team Gilboa. After graduation, I was looking for the next step. I ran into Scully at Ski Gull one spring ski afternoon and now it’s 6 years later already. I guess you can say coaching has always been my passion!
G: How long have you coached for Team Gilboa?
S: This will be my 6th year with Team Gilboa! Time sure does fly. It has been so much fun to see the program develop and see the athletes grow up into incredible young adults.
G: Where’s your favourite place to ski?
S: Right now, I would have to say Aspen Highlands! My husband and I hiked The Bowl twice last season and the snow was incredible. We are planning to go again over New Years!
G: What are you most looking forward to this season?
S: I am very excited to be back with the U14 group this season working with an incredible team of coaches. I’m most excited about the numerous camps and mini camps that we will be offering this season. Camps are a great place for athletes to have breakthroughs, plus it’s so much fun to have team bonding events during those camps!
G: I know you have coached U16s before, what’s the difference between coaching U16s and U14s?
S: I think the U14 group is unique because it’s a time with a lot of physical and mental changes. You start to get stronger and start analyzing ski racing under a more critical light. It’s really fun to coach this age because you see a lot of experimenting in their skiing when they are figuring out what’s fast. There are a lot of breakthroughs at this age, and sometimes they come down and are even surprised with how fast they just went. From first year U14 to second year U14 there are huge amounts of growth as they prepare for high levels of skiing. It’s fun to be part of that process!
G: What’s your goal for the U14s this season?
S: My goal for this group is to fall in love with the process of becoming great skiers. No matter what level you are at, realizing that ski racing is a long journey rather than a sprint really helps give some perspective on the learning process. We can save ourselves a lot of anxiety and stress if we understand that there are going to be highs and lows in this sport, let’s be honest, it’s a tough sport! All of these pieces are just part of the intended process we must go through to get stronger and faster! Let’s enjoy the ride and have some fun while we are at it!
G: I heard that you were a golf professional (among your many other talents!) - what skills would you say translate from the golf course to the piste?
S: I have always found that there are many similarities between golf and skiing, even if that is hard to believe. Both sports deal with manipulating equipment, which can be challenging. One small movement or adjustment can make a big difference in the outcome, whether that is swinging a club or bending a ski. I would also say patience is a mental skill that translate across both sports. Sometimes you have to go through the valley before you get to the mountain peak, understanding that it takes time to perfect your skill. Falling in love with the process of becoming a great athlete is so important.
Thank you Savvy for your time! So great to hear your thoughts on ski racing, coaching and how to be a great athlete in any sport.
Ride the Lift with… Elizabeth Monico
New Team Gilboa President
Athletes: Vincent Monico, U16
Gilboa: Hi Elizabeth, What are you looking forward to over the next year as the new Gilboa president?
Elizabeth: Hi, Gilboa! I look forward to making progress together and having a positive impact on our ski community. Together our BOD, coaches, volunteers and families have created an inclusive club which does a great job in engaging, respecting, and supporting our community.
I feel so lucky to be part this wonderfully engaging community that cares so deeply about our club and has such a passion for skiing
G: Did you ever ski? What’s your most favorite ski memory?
E: I ski as much as I can! I am a certified PSA ski instructor and I have skied with Ski Away for years. When I am not volunteering, you will find me skiing.
I have so many favorite ski memories: I love the journey of a road trip and the stories that are shared for years afterwards. As a child, the second we loaded up our suburban for Colorado, my father immediately whipped out his Stetson. For those that do not know me well (yet), I LOVE cowboy hats!
PS Looking forward to more cowboy hats this ski season!
G: For young athletes, what makes Gilboa special?
E: For over 37 years, TG has been inspiring and developing alpine athletes. Listening to athletes that are in our program and those that have graduated from it, they often reminisce about friendships, resilience and lessons learned and lessons gained from racing. It is not just about winning the race….
G: What do you like most about the TG community?
E: TG community’s become a family to us. It has and continues to be an amazing place to meet so many parents and athletes and we are so grateful to be a part of it.
G: What would you say to all new members of the Gilboa community?
E: The fastest way to meet other families in our community is by volunteering. There are so many volunteer opportunities that do not require experience - ski swap, party with a purpose, hand timing, bib collection and many, many more.
Thanks Elizabeth for taking the time to answer our questions!
Ride the Lift with... Torey Greenwood
NEW Gilboa U18 / FIS coach
Gilboa: Hey Torey, What are you must excited about as the new coach at Gilboa?
Torey: I can't wait to meet the new athletes and coaching staff. I'm excited to get back to my roots at Team Gilboa and maybe run into some familiar faces from the past! I'm also excited for something new and fresh.
G: What do you like doing when you are NOT skiing?
T: Spending time with my family, enjoying our new home and watching our boys grow up and learn new things everyday
G: What is your best memory from your time as a TG athlete?
T: I personally loved the road trips and going to the races with my team mates. The fall camps we had at Lutsen were always so much fun when I was young.