Friday, May 18, 2012

Ben Verge is promoted to U.S. Freeskiing Team

Head development coach

     Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation coach Ben Verge, 30, of Ketchum has taken a huge step forward with his recent appointment as Head Development Coach of the U.S. Freeskiing Team, according to the SVSEF Web site.

     A coach with the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation for six years, 1999 WoodRiverHigh School graduate Verge came up through the SVSEF program as an alpine racer.

     “I was a national FIS racer,” Verge told Jody Zarkos, SVSEF office manager. “Then I got into freeskiing, big mountain competitions and filming. I got involved in the park and pipe because Andy Ware called and wanted me to do it. He wanted to create all-around skiers and I had the background.”

     Ware, director of the SVSEF Freestyle program hired Verge in 2008. Since that time the local program has developed U.S. Team member Tai Barrymore. Verge has been the personal coach for USSA Freeskiing athletes Brita Sigourney, Maddie Bowman and Devin Logan.

     Ware said, “Ben's ability to relate to athletes is a unique characteristic and advantage. He's young, enthusiastic and versatile. Ben is able to ride a snowboard in the pipe just as well as he skis it. He understands what freeskiing is and how it is different from alpine skiing and freestyle skiing.”

     Verge, who was also named USSA's Freeskiing Domestic Coach of the Year in 2012, credits his success to a few different things.

     “I got lucky having some good kids to start with,” he said. “We created an environment that was so much fun. It made me get into it and work with them and for them. I think I can relate to athletes and see what is in their head, help them visualize it and turn it into reality.”

     Verge is one of two former SVSEF coaches currently on staff with the USST. Chris Grover is head coach of the Cross Country team. SVSEF alum Michael Jaquet was recently named Chief Marketing Officer for U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA).

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