Interview with Chris Baxter, Ski Club Race Coach

snowy range ski club coach chris baxter

How did you get started skiing?

I started skiing when I was 4 at Happy Jack Ski Area and skied at Medicine Bow (Snowy Range) that year, so this year makes 47 years skiing!

I started racing NASTAR in Steamboat at age 7 then got in to Laramie Ski Racing Association (LSRA) at 11. We raced USSA Rocky Mountain Division and some Intermountain Division races until I joined the Laramie High School team my sophomore year. I won the state my junior year and managed low points in USSA as well. I broke my femur racing motorcycles that next summer, so I didn’t do as well my senior year.

Where are some of your favorite places to ski? Why?

Some of my favorite places to ski are Steamboat (lived there from ’93 – 2000), Jackson Hole, Chamonix (France – skied the Aiguille du Midi when I was 19), and Telluride. I consider Snowy Range my home hill though! I love skiing the steepest slopes possible and steep trees on powder days but running gates is still the best…all these years skiing and I am still looking to improve!

What are some of your favorite memories of skiing?

Some of my favorite memories include skiing Winter Park and Steamboat with my Grandmother, jumping into Corbet’s Coulior for the first time, skiing in France, Austria, and Switzerland, and dropping off of the chutes on Medicine Bow Peak.

How did you get into coaching?

I got started coaching helping out the high school team the year after I graduated setting courses and such. I also coached some of the kids on LSRA until moving to Santa Barbara, CA for college in 1988. I also helped with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club for a couple of years when I lived there.

What do you enjoy about coaching?

I got back in to coaching last spring at Snowy Range and absolutely love it! I feel I have a lot to offer the kids and want to share my knowledge, skills, and enthusiasm about skiing and teach them to be better skiers and racers and to have as much fun as you can skiing! I really enjoy coaching youngsters because when I was learning I had some really great coaches that knew what they were doing and were great inspirations for me to do well in skiing and life for that matter.

How would you describe your coaching style?

After getting back in the swing of coaching last year I would say that my style of coaching is to lead by example, pay close attention to how the kids are skiing then get on their level and give them the feedback they need. I am a kid at heart so its not hard for me to relate to them.

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

My emphasis with kids in the Club will be primarily in racing and how to be faster in running gates. With that comes teaching the basics of skiing, but most importantly the emphasis is on having fun! Prospective members can look forward to not only running gates but free ski days and playing in the terrain park, etc. I will do my best to help everyone be better skiers!

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

For parents out there who want to get your kids started in skiing, you could do like my Grandmother did and just take them up and get them a half day lesson and see what happens (she did take me up to watch what was going on with learning how to ski and I wanted to do it immediately! ). These days you can show them videos of World Cup races or skiercross or extreme skiing beforehand to pique their interest. In my experience, most kids will at least try it and most who do will like it.

What are some of your other interests?

Some of the things I do other than skiing include fly fishing/tying, mountain/road biking, hiking and camping above timber line in the summers. I am also a rockhound from crystals to agates to exotic minerals and everything in between! I am also involved in the preservation of the Wyoming Toad which was discovered by my Grandfather.

Learn more about our Snowy Range Ski Club Race Coaches.