As Theodore Roosevelt once said, “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” This message, along with others, are the themes of this year’s national cohort leading staff education program presented by Ski & Snowboard Club Vail.

Being true to our motto, “For the Kids,” SSCV’s Continuing Education Program, totaling 50 hours of both general and discipline specific education, reinforces SSCV’s approach of working with the total person. More than 50 full-time coaches and staff spend most of the last two weeks of October in in-service training while part-time coaches attend a weekend-long education program in December.


Below are highlights of the program:

• John O’Sullivan, author of “Changing the Game: The Parent’s Guide to Raising Happy, High-Performing Athletes” and “Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids” and head of the Changing the Game Project, addressed SSCV staff and the community. With the increased pressure for young children to perform in sports and a significant decline in participation in youth sports over the past five years, John presented a number of game changing concepts. The simplest of these, which he has found to be most effective, is his advice to parents to simply tell their children, “I love watching you play (or compete)” and nothing more, to best support their athletic endeavors.

• Christian Mitter, head men’s alpine coach from the Norwegian alpine men’s team and one of the most successful rising World Cup and Olympic coaches of our generation having coached from development to Olympic level athletes, also addressed SSCV staff and the community. His message included the importance of the team (“we do it together”), hard work and repetition as well as the necessity for parents to realize their boundaries so that athletes are able to perform for themselves and not for someone else.

• Bill Tierney, University of Denver head men’s lacrosse coach, who led his team to their first ever Division 1 Championship title this year after many successful championship years as head men’s lacrosse coach at Princeton University, spoke on “How to Build Champions” with inspiring advice readily transferable to the world of competitive snow sports.

• Stacey Truitt, a specialist in organizational training and development, conducted a leadership training seminar cultivating further the skills required of all SSCV employees to maximize effectiveness and enrich the workplace.

• Nick Winkelman of EXOS (formerly Athletes’ Performance) will this week deliver presentations — “Coach like a Caveman” and “What We Say Matters” — in the field of human performance.

• Vail Resorts, in collaboration with SSCV management, provides a seminar on mountain operations and mountain safety, focusing on SSCV’s #expectmore safety initiative.

• Feature presentations are being delivered by SSCV staff members with topics including development of great coaches, teaching accountability, periodization strategies and building practice plans.

• Specialized training and/or certifications related to the legalities of working with minors as well as interactions in the workplace, SAFESPORT, concussion management, CPR/AED, First Aid and trampoline coaching certification are being led by staff and outside professionals.


Studies have shown that coaches are among the most influential people in children’s lives, typically second to parents, and sometimes self-reported in studies as more influential than parents for these older athletes who spend more waking moments with coaches than family.

The goal of SSCV’s Education Program is to provide the best educational and growth experience possible to prepare our coaches and other staff members to do what is best “For the Kids” in a professional environment. Of utmost importance is the ability of these men and women to instill in our athletes, as well as model for our athletes, SSCV’s core values of character, courage and commitment (the three C’s).

These are the values that will influence the future of our ski and snowboard athletes long after their days at SSCV are over. As I reminded everyone at the in-service in my keynote address last week, “The technical aspects of your job are not nearly as important as the emotional ones.”


SSCV created the SSCV C3 (Character, Courage and Commitment) Athlete and Staff Awards to be given out monthly from October through April to the one athlete and one staff member each month who best exhibits these traits. At the end of the season, one athlete will be selected from among the monthly C3 Athlete Award winners as the Walter Kirsch Award winner to be recognized at the SSCV President’s Dinner.

To learn more about nominating someone for the C3 Athlete or Staff awards, which anyone can do, please email Watch for monthly C3 Athlete Award nominees and winners along with C3 Staff Award winners in my columns throughout the season.

Aldo Radamus is the executive director of Ski & Snowboard Club Vail. For more information, go, email or call 970-790-5161.