Interview with Dean Sell, Ski Club Race Coach

dean sell race coach

How did you get started skiing?

I began skiing after a school sponsored ski trip to Red Lodge Montana in 1973. I remember after we took lessons and got to free ski knowing that this was my sport. I loved the entire experience from the first run!

Where are some of your favorite places to ski?

My favorite places to ski are Jackson Hole because of the incredible terrain and scenery, and the amazing ski culture there, and Taos, New Mexico because of the great terrain and culture of the area.

What are some of your favorite memories of skiing?

One of my favorite memories is of flying into Jackson after they had gotten 60 inches of new snow for a 3 day trip and then not being able to fly out because of weather, so we got one more day of the best skiing imaginable. Also participating in 3 Nastar National Championships in 2010, 2013, 2014, meeting Phil Mahre and Julia Mancuso, and placing 7th in 2014. In the 80’s I also participated in several pro series races in Montana that were loads of fun.

How did you get started coaching skiers?

I started race coaching in the 80’s. I was a ski instructor at Sleeping Giant in Northern Wyoming and because I ski raced the coach of their team asked if I would help him. I then became certified with the U.S.S.C.A. (United States Ski Coaches Association) and have been coaching since that time.

What do you enjoy about coaching?

My favorite thing about coaching is seeing young skiers develop a love of skiing and racing as I have over the years and witnessing them go on to bigger and better things in skiing and life.

How would you describe your coaching style?

My coaching style is based on what I believe is most important when teaching skiing in general. First teach safety, Secondly make it FUN! Skiing, whether racing or not is about fun, so I try to always keep that in mind when teaching different skills. Thirdly, get the young racers to develop a good work ethic when it comes to showing up to practice on time, or practicing in the gates and also creating an environment at practice where the racers are helping and encouraging one another.

What kinds of instruction do emphasize with members of the ski club? What kinds of things can prospective members look forward to?

As a youth ski team I think it is important to improve the kids general skiing skills, then adapt there skiing to running gates. The fastest racers are generally the best skiers. Free skiing is so important and getting the young skiers out in all conditions is important. If I can help them develop a love for skiing, then they will get out and ski whenever they can and become better.

What are some of the new activities you’re planning for this year’s ski club? Any special races or events?

In addition to having races at Snowy Range we hope to take the racers to the Cowboy State Games at Hogadon on Casper Mountain on January 26th, and arrange a practice at Steamboat, where we can run the Nastar course and maybe some can qualify for the national ski race.

What do you recommend to parents who want to get their kids started in skiing?

As a parent, if your kids are interested in skiing, get them on the ski team. It is a very good way for them to improve their skiing and have a fun time doing it. Although our team is not for beginning skiers, if a skier can ride the lift without help and can ski, say, Virginian Run then they have the ability to be on the team. It’s a great way for children to get involved with like minded children, improve their skills and have fun doing it!

What are some of your other interests?

My other interests include photography, traveling the world, and climbing, although now I don’t do much technical climbing – more mountaineering. Some of my fondest memories include seeing Mt. Everest from above base camp, Climbing Aconcagua, and meeting the different people of the countries I’ve visited. Also I love traveling our state and make several trips to Northwest Wyoming each year. We live in a state like no other. The wildlife is amazing, and I always have my camera ready.

More Info: Snowy Range Ski Club Coaches