Shepherd comes to the SSWSC from his most recent position as the Associate Head Alpine Coach at the University of Denver, where he worked with over thirty NCAA All-Americans, led his teams three NCAA titles and was most recently named RMISA Coach of the Year in 2018. As an athlete, Shepherd raced on the U.S. Ski Team for three years and was an NCAA All-American skier at the University of Colorado. Later he worked for the U.S. Ski Team as its Head Skicross Coach, leading the team at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Prior to his work at DU, Shepherd was the Head Coach for the University of New Mexico Ski Team, and he has served as the president of RMISA (Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association) since 2012. Shepherd will be moving to Steamboat with his wife, Amanda, and their three children Soren (9), Ramey (7), and Hansen (4).
Ben has been coaching at the SSWSC since 2013, and was named U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s Alpine Coach of the Year in 2020. Ben grew up racing in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He continued his racing career at Western State Colorado University, competing Division 1 NCAA. After graduating college Ben continued racing full-time at the Continental Cup level in pursuit of his goals. He coached at Green Mountain Valley School and at Loveland prior to coming to Steamboat. Ben currently is the chair of the Rocky/Central Region and Rocky Mountain Division Alpine Competition Committees that govern ski racing in the region. He has been part of the coaching staff overseas at international children’s championship events several times. He is a Level 300 certified coach by U.S. Ski & Snowboard. When he’s not coaching, you’ll find Ben spending time with his wife Rita and enjoying his favorite hobbies of bike racing and back-country skiing.
Michael was born and raised in Mequon, Wisconsin. He skied USSA and FIS during high school and continued to race in college at the University of Minnesota. Michael followed his passion for sports, earning a degree in sports management. After graduating, Michael moved back to Milwaukee and started his coaching career with Heiliger Huegel. Michael spent six years coaching and also served as the assistant program director before taking the position with SSWSC. Michael is a Level 300 certified coach by U.S. Ski & Snowboard, and was named the “Best of the Boat” Youth Sports Coach in 2019. Michael has a passion for working with youth athletes! When not on the hill, Michael enjoys traveling, hiking and listening to music.
Going into his sixth coaching season at the SSWSC, Mike has become a strong leader on the FIS circuit. A talented racer at both the University of New Mexico and Westminster College, Mike spent the summers coaching on Mount Hood and quickly translated that into a full-time coaching role. Mike’s ability to relate to the athletes and help them understand ski racing technique and strategy have made him a highly sought after coach. He has worked extensively with U.S. Ski Team coach Sasha Rearick at U.S. Development Team and NDG projects in the past couple of seasons.
Robert has spent many years as a FIS women’s coach with Ski & Snowboard Club Vail, Squaw Valley and Sugar Bowl prior to coming to the SSWSC a few years ago. He was the head coach and program director for the Mt. Shasta Ski Team in California for five years. He has guest coached with the U.S. Ski Team World Cup group for both speed and tech event projects over the past few years. He is a Level 400 certified coach with U.S. Ski & Snowboard. He is also a fully certified ski instructor with PSIA and has Canadian coach certification as well. Robert really enjoys working with the women’s program, helping them achieve their goals and continuing to build Team Viper’s culture on the women’s side.
Scott brings a great veteran presence and a keen coaching eye to the FIS staff. His long, illustrious coaching career has seen him in key positions at Ski Club Vail, Sun Valley and Buck Hill as well as coaching stints with the U.S. Ski Team. Scott was one of the founders and original managing directors of the U.S. Ski Coaches Association. He feels very fortunate to have been coached and mentored by great coaches and skiers. He has loved skiing, racing, and coaching all his life and is very proud and happy to be with the Winter Sports Club.
Sean grew up in the Vail Valley skiing for Ski and Snowboard Club Vail through high school and for two PG years. After leaving Vail , he skied on the Westminster College ski team for a year, before transferring to Rocky Mountain College in Montana. At Rocky Mountain College, Sean raced for the ski team, coached and studied aeronautical science and sport management. He is actively pursuing an aviation career that he plans to continue toward while coaching in Steamboat.
Nick returns to the SSWSC after a year as the Head FIS Coach with the Alpental Snoqualmie Ski Team in the Pacific Northwest. Nick is fairly fresh off the racing circuit where he raced as a member of the University of New Mexico Ski Team from 2015-19 after skiing in the SSWSC PG program.
SSWSC alum Joe Gilbertson has returned to the club in a coaching role to share his passion for alpine ski racing. The former Dartmouth College racer still has a racer’s mentality, and puts himself in his athletes’ shoes to give them great technical advice and perspective in sport. Having spent over a decade as a water biologist in the Pacific Northwest, Joe’s return to coaching was for all the right reasons - a desire to help kids become great ski racers while learning all the life lessons that go along with a pursuit of personal excellence.
Matt and his family came to Steamboat from New England where Matt was the FIS coach at Waterville Valley, NH. A skiing family, Matt’s wife coaches for the SSWSC youth program and his sons are both ski athletes. Matt is known as a compassionate and caring coach with an unflappable positive attitude. He’s a Level 200 certified coach with U.S. Ski & Snowboard.
Melissa Jones (MJ) grew up in Holderness, NH and skied for Waterville Valley’s Black and Blue Trail Smashers in Waterville Valley, NH. Melissa graduated from Bates College in Lewiston, ME in 2008 with a degree in Environmental Science with a concentration in Chemistry. During her time at Bates, she was a member of their NCAA Division 1 Alpine Team and served as Captain her senior year. After college, she relocated to Colorado, where she coached at Ski and Snowboard Club Vail for four years before moving to Steamboat in 2014 where she has been coaching since and teaching science at the Steamboat Springs High School. Some of MJ’s favorite things include dorking out on chemistry, rock climbing, attempting to fly fish, cheering on the Red Sox and bacon.
Scott has been an Alpine coach with the SSWSC since 2000. He has coached athletes from Buddy Werner to FIS, with the majority of that time with the age class groups- his favorite. Scott took a brief hiatus for a few years before departing from his regular job, returning to coach U14s last season. Scott has also worked with the Masters program and Ski Corps’ Race Crew.
Brian grew up in La Crosse, WI as an Alpine racer. He continued his ski racing career at Colorado mtn college and the University of Nevada Reno. He moved to Steamboat in 1990 where he began coaching for the Billy Kidd center for performance skiing and the SSWSC. He enjoys working with young athletes and takes pride in their accomplishments. He and Lisa have two Daughters Taylor and Abby, both being former and current members of the SSWSC Alpine program. Brian also serves as vice president of the SSWSC Foundation board, and is currently a U14 Alpine Coach.
Chantal is a native Vermonter who learned to ski in her back yard at the Underhill Ski Bowl where skiing every free moment fueled a passion for skiing. Chantal found her drive for competing at Smuggler’s Notch Ski Club, when she began racing at age nine. During her high school years at Burke Mountain Academy, Chantal competed in her first World Cup at the young age of 15 which landed her a spot on the U.S. Ski Team. There she spent nearly a decade with her most promising results on the World Cup DH and SG circuit. Following her ski racing career, Chantal began studies at CU-Boulder where she studied Journalism while also competing as a professional triathlete and mountain bike racer. In 1996, Chantal landed a position with a professional mountain bike team and simultaneously competed in cross country skiing. Now with over two decades of coaching, Chantal enjoys coaching where she can inspire and share her passion for skiing.
Matt Graves moved with his family to Steamboat from Denver in 1976 at the age of 5. With four winters of skiing under his belt he began with the SSWSC, he started in Training Squad, a multidisciplinary program in 1978. Since then he raced, jumped, and cross countried his way through to some national level performances. A long-time alpine coach, Matt has also coached nordic ski jumping and cross country skiing. Matt lives with his wife Sandy and their sons Wyatt and Sawyer, both SSWSC athletes. Matt is a builder, wood sculptor, hunter, gardener and cook. Growing up in Steamboat as a Winter Sports Club athlete, coach and now parent, Matt feels a strong connection to the tradition and legacy of what happens here at Howelsen Hill.