Coaching staff changes heading into 2018/19
*See the latest updates to this article at the end
The Olympic cycle often marks the end of coaches' contracts, which results in a series of changes to the staffs of many teams. The so-called “ski mercato” has begun, and here are some of the major changes announced so far:
Hans Flatscher leaves his position as the head coach of the Swiss ladies’ team. The announcement was made during the World Cup Finals in Åre, with the 49 year-old Austrian expressing his wish to spend more time with his family, including his wife – former World Cup skier Sonja Nef. Since 2012, when Flatscher took over his position, the Swiss team has been very successful, with Lara Gut’s Overall World Cup win, Wendy Holdener’s World Champion title and Michelle Gisin’s Olympic gold medal, among others. The Swiss ladies also moved up in the Nations’ Cup ranking and finished 2018 only few points shy of the leader Austria. Flatscher will remain within the Swiss federation and will work as the head of the alpine development department.
The Swiss federation announced Hans Flatscher’s successor as Beat Tschuor, who previously held the position as head of the development department. He also worked as a coach and team leader in the past for Liechtenstein and other European Cup and World Cup teams. The 49-year-old from the Grisons is looking forward to the challenge of taking over such a successful team.
At U.S. Ski and Snowboard, men’s head coach Sasha Rearick and Alpine Director Patrick Riml resigned from their positions. After 10 years on the World Cup tour, Rearick decided to make a move in order to lead the men's development team. “I am very excited about bringing my 16 years of World Cup and Europa Cup experience, my knowledge and my enthusiasm to this new role,” he said. At the same time, Patrick Riml, who served two terms (six years) as the alpine director of the U.S. Ski Team, decided to leave and has not yet announced another role. “I am proud of the contribution I have made to the U.S. Ski Team, but I also recognized the need for continued evolution of the sport in America to ensure that same success for the future,” said Riml.
Jesse Hunt returns to the U.S. organization as alpine director, a role he last held with U.S. Ski & Snowboard in 2009 after 16 previous years with the organization. Hunt returns after nine years with Park City Ski & Snowboard where he was program director and general manager,. “We have an exciting challenge ahead of us to give our alpine ski racers the chance to be Best In The World, but that is precisely the challenge that motivates me the most, helping athletes achieve everything that they are capable of," said Hunt. "We have a strong mix of highly experienced athletes and those coming up through the ranks in both the men’s and women’s teams, in speed and tech, and the chance to help all of them achieve greatness is one I could not turn down."
Another change is likely to happen in Italy. Max Carca, currently head coach of the Italian men’s team, announced that he would like to quit this position and would like to take over a team. No official announcements have been made so far about Carca's departure or a possible replacement.
The German men's team will have a new head technical coach in Bernd Brunner, the Austrian who has worked with the U.S. Ski Team in a number of capacities for the past six years. Brunner will be responsible for leading the men's World Cup slalom and giant slalom skiers, a position held by Albert Doppelhofer for the past nine year. Doppelhofer will continue to work with the German Ski Federation and will lend his experience and expertise to a newly created development squad to guide junior racers at a critical point in their careers.
Sweden has named Fredrik Kingstad as its new head men's coach to lend management experience from his time as operations manager at Skistar Vemdalen to the team. His role includes oversight of the top level with an eye on developing Sweden's next World Cup stars as well. Former men's head coach Heinz-Peter Platter who held the position since 2016 will assume a more focused coaching role with the men's World Cup team.
Race Ski Magazine reported that Paolo Deflorian, head men's technical coach in Canada, would not return to that role for the 2018/19 season. Alpine Canada officially announced his replacement shortly after, welcoming one of its own to the head coach position for the men’s technical team: Dusan Grasic. Grasic returns to coaching at the World Cup level after spending time in the Alpine Canada head office as the Director of Domestic Sport. “Coaching is my first love and I’m really excited to continue working with athletes that I was coaching when they were at the Europa Cup level,” said Grasic about joining the team. “The goal for the first year is to build as a team and improve results at the World Cup level. Building the team culture and working on preforming well at all the World Cup races is the first goal. We have a very talented group of athletes, and I know we can be competitive with the rest of the world. They have all demonstrated they have the speed to be on the podium, and I look forward to seeing what they can do next season.”
Originally published on 6 April 2018, this article will be updated weekly with new announcements.