Born in Argentina to Estonian parents, Aldo Radamus was a professional ski racer before becoming a coach in 1979. He went on to coach at Ski Club Vail in the early ’80s, where he met his wife Sara, before moving on to the Steamboat Spring Winter Sports Club, and then the U.S. Ski Team. Radamus returned to Vail in August to become Director of Ski Club Vail, replacing Chip Woods.Q: You’re an expert. Are we going to get a lot of snow this winter?A: Of course! We’ll get big snow this year, and we need to fill up those reservoirs again.Q: You started out in Argentina. How did you get involved with ski racing?A: We didn’t have snow where I was in Argentina. But after my parents moved from Buenos Aires to Minnesota when I was seven, I fell in love with snow and all snow sports. Then, when Jean-Claude Killy won his three gold medals, it was an inspiration to me. I finally did join a high school (ski racing) team, and I continued to race past that. Obviously I got started late, but I had a real passion for it. And as I got into coaching I said I’d give myself five years at that and see where I went in the coaching ranks.Q: What techniques and methods will you bring to Ski Club from your experience with the U.S. Ski Team?A: A lot of the planning, goal-setting, and organizational aspects involved with the U.S. Ski Team are applicable and needed here. We’re working to bring all of the key people in (Ski Club Vail) onto a management team, and we’re going to reformulate the vision for the organization, so that everybody has a say in the direction of the club.Q: What is that vision?A: I have a personal vision, but I want to be sensitive to the fact that we’re creating a team atmosphere. First and foremost we have a responsibility to provide a service to the community, for the kids that want to learn and (every level of racer). I see Ski Club as a vehicle for learning and self-discovery, that the kids that are a part of the program can set goals, set life goals, and develop a work ethic and a sense of community all of those things that will serve them in every walk of life after skiing, in college, their careers, and their relationships.Q: What is the most difficult challenge you face as the new director of the Club?A: I’ve got a lot of learning to do about the program, the people, the families that are involved here. We’ve implemented a snowboard program, which I’m really excited about, and there’s a lot of enthusiasm about that. The snowboard program has been on again off again, but we’re really excited about (snowboard coaches) Ben Boyd and Nathan Park, and although we’re still searching for a freestyle coach, we really want to take both of those programs to a different level. We want to bring those programs to the same level as the tradition that’s been established in the alpine program.Q: The USSA is trying to incorporate newer sports like skiercross and big-air competitions to their traditional, gate-racing events. How do you feel about that, and do you think the sport will change?A: I’d love to see that kind of addition to competition come to skiing. Most of the good competitors in skiercross come from a racing background, and a few guys from the national team have competed in skiercross and done well. The FIS has labeled skiercross as a freestyle competition, but I think it belongs as an alpine competition. There’s components of skiercross some of the things with terrain and some of the things that make it spectator friendly that could be added to traditional racing.In then end, I think youll see an evolution in skiing the same way you see in basketball, or football, or hockey. There’s a way sports can be tweaked while still maintaining its traditional roots.Downhill, though, is still the most extreme athletic event on the planet. There’s not anything, even motorized sports, where a human can traverse such varied terrain at such speeds as they do in downhill on a pair of skis.Q: You’ve worked with two-time Olympic silver medallist Bode Miller; is he as wild and out-of-control as he appears?A: Bode is clearly unique, but I think that Bode has a deeper understanding of what he’s doing than any other ski racing athlete that I’ve ever talked to, and he had that at 19 when he first came to the team. He’s the kind of athlete that looks a little wild, but all that movement is to keep the skis moving down the hill. If you watch his skis, you see exactly why he’s as fast as he is. He’s a rare talent, but also a rare intellect.Q: How does it feel to be back in town?A: It’s great to be back in Vail. I run into people that I haven’t seen in years. In the six years that (my wife and I) lived here, we developed a big network of friends. It’s very much a coming home. And who wouldn’t want to be here? What a great place.
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