New faces Coach changes in Alpine Skiing

FIS – News, July 18, 2013: During most summers, some teams make changes in staffing and with the Sochi Games around the corner most National Ski Associations are fine-tuning their support personnel in order to have the best possible teams working together. What follows below is a summary of the main coach changes in Alpine Skiing that have come to the attention of the FIS Newsflash:

France: The French Ski Federation (FFS) announced one of the first changes in staff this year. After working for almost 25 years within the FFS Jean-Philippe “Pilou” Vulliet, Head of the French Alpine Skiing Ladies’ team decided in consultation with the President and the National Technical Director the FFS, to retire from his position at the end of last season.

“I wanted to go for new challenges and therefore allow the younger generation to have a new dynamic in the group,” explains Jean-Philippe Vulliet. Benjamin Melquiond from Serre Chevalier, who served as Head of the Regional Alpine Skiing Alpes-Provence has been appointed as Vulliet’s replacement.

Canada: In Canada, Martin Rufener, who helped transform the Swiss men’s team into a powerhouse that won multiple World Cup, World Ski Championship and Olympic titles, has been named new alpine director and will oversee Canada’s men’s and ladies’ alpine programmes as they prepare for the 2014 and 2018 Olympic Winter Games. Rufener will also take on the role of Head Coach of the men’s team.

Massimo ‘Max’ Carca, who coached Italian stars including Christof Innerhofer, Dominik Paris, Manfred Moelgg, Peter Fill and Giuliano Razzoli to multiple World Cup, World Championship and Olympic titles, has been named Head Coach of Canada’s men’s alpine technical team.

Working alongside Carca will be Paolo De Florian, who will help coach the men’s slalom team. The new development team will be led by former men’s Technical Head Coach Kip Harrington, who will coach the nation’s best young male prospects, with Pete Rybarik coaching the ladies. Pete Bosinger, formerly head coach of the men’s team and Alpine Skiing Sports Manager for the Olympic Winter Games 2010 in Vancouver, becomes Alpine Canada’s Director of Events.

Austria: In Lenzerheide Herbert Mandl stepped down from the ladies’ head coach position he has held for 11 years to lead the OeSV managed ski academy in St Christoph, near St Anton, Jürgen Kriechbaum who was chosen as his successor has previously been the Group Coach of the Austrian speed ladies until the 2010/11 season before moving to work at the Ski Gymnasium in Stams after the GAP 2011 Championships. Among his successes with the team were the Olympic gold with Andrea Fischbacher (super-G 2010),the World Championship titles with Elisabeth Görgl (downhill & super-G 2011) and Anna Fenninger (super combined 2011).

The Austrian Ski Association has also reported that Marko Pfeifer has been named new coach of the Austrian slalom World Cup team. The 39-year-old, who has been working as Head Coach in Sweden for the past three years will be in charge of a group, which includes Marcel Hirscher, Mario Matt and Manfred Pranger. Pfeifer follows Michael Pircher, who will now work more intensely with two times Overall World Cup winner Marcel Hirscher.

The European Cup head coach position is filled by Martin Sprenger. In the past three seasons Sprenger was in charge of the giant slalom and combi teams overseeing among others Hannes Reichelt, Philipp Schorghofer and Marcel Mathis.

Stefan Bürgler has been appointed the new Group Coach of the Austrian tech ladies including Marlies Schild, Michaela Kirchgasser, Kathrin Zettel and Nicole Hosp. The 41-year old Salzburg native succeeds Günter Obkircher, who returns to the Ski Gymnasium in Saalfelden.

“I would like to bring my experience from recent years to bear on the entire tech group and am very excited about this new great challenge,” said Stefan Bürgler.

Sweden: In Sweden, Ville Bylin is the new Alpine Director. He replaces Lasse Kjällberg who has held the role on an interim basis since September 2012.

“Lasse has done an excellent job and we are pleased to be able to introduce his successor. The choice seems to fit perfectly since Ville has experience both from club, regional and elite levels and is trained as an economist. The main focus of his tasks will be on the marketing side,” said Secretary General of the Swedish Ski Association Niklas Carlsson.

There have also been some changes with the coaching. Marko Pfeifer, the men’s head coach left to join Austria so Rudi Soulard, who has been training the ladies’ tech group, will move to the men’s side. Rudi will work together with Johan Brolenius and Oscar Larsson. Ulf Emilsson continues as coach on the speed side with Anders Andersson and Thomas Ericsson coaching the men’s development team.

Fredrik Steinwall continues as the head coach for the ladies, whilst Christian Thoma from Italy will take charge of the tech team with the support of Hans Ottosson and Anders Nilsson. Matias Eriksson will head training group 2 together with Calle Enocson.

Switzerland: Walter Hlebayna replaces former men’s head coach Osi Inglin in Switzerland in order to recover from the weakest season they have seen in a long time. Coaches Walter Hubmann, Jörg Roten and Steve Locher will work with Hlebayna. The new Group Coach for the Swiss men’s combined group including Carlo Janka will be Jörg Roten who used to coach up-and-coming talents Caviezel, Pleisch and Tumler.

Meanwhile Roland Platzer will be moving from the men to the Swiss ladies’ team where he will coach the skiers racing both in the speed events and in the combined.

Norway: In Norway Christian Mitter has been appointed to a new coaching role. Head of the men’s European Cup team last year, he will be the World Cup Tech Coach next season.

USA: USSA announced the inclusion of a World Cup Multi Team comprised of overall skiers Ted Ligety and Bode Miller. Forest Carey has been promoted to lead the group and will work directly with Ligety and Miller, who hopes to return for his fifth Olympic Winter Games in Sochi. Joining Carey are Assistant Coach Mike Kenney, who returns to the men’s programme along with Adam Cole, a former Junior World Champion for downhill and a two-time NCAA champion.

The World Cup Technical and “B” programmes will merge under Head Coach Bernd Brunner and longtime Technical Coach Josh Applegate. Veteran ski technician Kyle Darling has been promoted to an Assistant Coach position along with former Development Team Coach Ian Garner. Bob Poehling will manage team conditioning.

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