Catching Up With Ski Coach Skip Fox
Jan. 3, 2007
Before embarking on a preseason training trip to Sugarloaf Mountain in Maine, new UMass ski coach sat down with UMass' Bob Behler to chat about his first season coaching the men's and women's ski teams.
Bob Behler: Skip, a lot of people here think that you're in a little bit of trouble with no snow and you now have to go on a little bit of a road trip to practice.
UMass Ski Coach Skip Fox: That's right we're going up to Sugarloaf, Maine today for 9 days. Two of those days will be racing, the other days will be training. It's just that Berkshire East isn't open right now.
BB: You have to try to make the best of it. What's a typical day like when you're up there training?
SF: We're up at 7 o'clock, have breakfast, and we get to the mountain by the time the lifts open. Some days will be slalom, some days will be giant slalom. We train until about 11 o'clock, break for lunch and then head back out until the lifts close.
BB: Are you able to watch your skiers as they come down to give them pointers on what they're doing, their turns and different things? Is it easy to see for you? Is it easy to give them what you need to give them?
SF: Well I've been doing this for a while so it gets easier as you gain more experience in the coaching world. We also use video, a lot, so not only can I see it but the racers can see it themselves.
BB: What about spectators? Is it easy to see a race when you're competing? Or do you have to sort of pick a spot and watch them come by?
SF: In every race course, there's something that we call coaches' knoll, which is where you can see the most of the course that you can see from any spot and you'll find ten or twelve coaches watching as well as parents and spectators.
BB: Well, tell us about your team. We'll start on the women's side. What do you think your strengths are? Can you give us a few names we can look for?
SF: Well, of course, Eliza Hawkins, the former National Champion of USCSA, is our captain and strong leader. We have returning, Amanda Lea. As for the rest of the rest of the team, we've got Lauren Levey from Wisconsin and Emily Schillito from Toronto, all good points skiers and we're looking forward to a strong season.
BB: And how about on the Men's side?
SF: Well, of course, brother Rush Hawkins is the leader of that team. Jason Small, our co-captain, is also one of our fastest guys. We've got a few new guys: Ian Hohmeister from New Hampshire and Andrew Hawes also from New Hampshire, and also, his sister is on the women's team, a strong skier. We have three sets of siblings on our teams.
BB: All brother-sister crossovers? Or do you have a brother-brother, sister-sister combination?
SF: Jason Small's younger brother, Matt, is on the team. The rest are brother-sister.
BB: Is it different coaching a men's team and a women's team together? Or is that pretty common in the business?
SF: It's very different. Actually, coaching every single kid is different. Some kids respond to tough love, some kids don't respond to that at all. So you just have to be half psychologist almost.
BB: What are you goals this year for the team?
SF: Hmm, that's a loaded question.
BB: Ski faster with every race?
SF: Ski faster with every race. The USCSA newsletter has us ranked 6th in the men's and 7th in the women's and if we don't beat that, I'm going to be very disappointed.
BB:Well, Coach, good luck. And I think the hardest thing for you is finding snow, because we've had none of it. Good luck up in Maine, do they have some up there?
SF: Yes, they do. We've got training space allotted to us and everybody is pretty psyched.
BB: Well, congratulations on getting the job here. We're very happy to have you at UMass and good luck as you start on your first season.
SF: Alright thanks, Bob.
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