The Coach in Me

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Over the holidays I had the opportunity to ski with family, and nothing puts more of a smile on my face. This seems like a shocking statement from the dubbed “Master Blaster” who strives for the sharp-end of the winter mountain-sports scene. Whether it’s SkiMo racing, the biathlon, or running up and downhill with crampons and an ice axe, I’ve truly, luckily, had it all. Ultimately, I’ve been very fortunate and successful in these pursuits.

But at the end of the day I’m a coach, and I like watching other people succeed at THEIR athletic endeavors.  Here are some of the folks, in my family, that have enjoyed the positive impact of winter sports.

Andy Egger

Having grown up in Western North Carolina, Andy has spent many years staring at the Blue Ridge mountain vistas. But Andy was born in Florida and as a fellow winter sport enthusiast, still shows allegiance to his beloved Tampa Bay Lightning. In his adolescent years, his family moved to WNC for one reason, to get Andy into a better school district for his diagnosis of autism.

Andy thrived here, locally, and we’ve shared a passion for skiing and ski racing. I’ve enjoyed servicing Andy’s skis and getting them ready for his big race . . . the Special Olympics of WNC. We spent a good part of the day enjoying some ‘tech’ laps on easy greens and blues.

Since the new year, Andy has been training on the weekends for the main event . . . the Winter Games at Appalachian Ski Mountain from February 11th thru 13th. This three day event is a cadre of alpine and snowboard races. Just before the event weekend, I had a heart-warming text from Andy about how awesome it was that we skied together, and that he was stoked for the races at App. Congrats Andy on getting a Bronze Medal and 4th place ribbon!

App Special Olympics Results

I know that we’ll ski again next year, and enjoy some more fun laps on Rock Island Run. More importantly, I’m excited to cheer you on in one of your races, someday.

Dylan Paull

For over eight years now, I’ve watched Dylan on his athletic journey. I coached Dylan as a National Champion rower, and taught him numerous other sports including rock climbing, whitewater kayaking, rafting, and the act of riding a board down the snow.

In January of 2022, we went out to Wolf Ridge to give him some snowboard lessons when he was 16 years old. A generation ago, I remember learning how to snowboard as a young adolescent as well. It’s safe to say I was probably more psyched than he was, on his first time.

Since he enrolled at UNC-Wilmington we only get out once a year or so. But he’s such a good riding buddy, that just that once or twice a year is enough to keep the stoke burning . . . to carry us over into the next winter.

Dylan has never been west of Nashville, TN. For spring break this year, we got his ticket booked for a trip out west. Just like that awe in him on his first day riding, I’m excited to see that awe when he sees Mt. Hood, in Oregon.

Dylan progressed well this session, and linked turns are the name of the game for him.

The day at Cataloochee was memorable, that’s always a guarantee. I had a great chat with Chris Bates, while I was there, and they always seem to deliver a top-notch product. I’m still psyched to call Cat my ‘home’ mountain, even at the races that I register at out west.

The journey you watch people go on to learn and succeed never gets old . . . but then again, that’s the coach in me.

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