John Dowling of Ski & Snowboard Club Vail named moguls coach of the year
VAIL — Team USA sent eight moguls skiers to Pyeongchang this year, and four came through the Ski & Snowboard Club Vail program and coach John Dowling.
But that’s not what earned Dowling the coveted Freestyle Domestic Coach of the Year award from U.S. Ski & Snowboard this month.
No, instead Dowling was recognized for what U.S. Ski & Snowboard called “the most important job in the sport, teaching the younger generation the skills they need to succeed.”
Moving from coaching older athletes to the youth level was a decision Dowling made years ago, with the intent of making a greater impact on the sport in the U.S. To be recognized for that move from U.S. Ski & Snowboard was a rewarding achievement.
“It’s an award I’ve always wanted to win,” Dowling said. “I had been working at the high end of the sport for a lot of long years, and I did make a conscious decision to move more into the domestic side of things and more regional programs. You can have a lot more influence for young skiers, and do more for a skiers career earlier, I would say.”
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In getting to the Olympics this year, 22-year-old Casey Andringa thought back to some of the pivotal moments in his career.
Among the many moves that helped him make it to Team USA was seeking out Dowling.
“When I was 18, everyone that I grew up skiing with at Winter Park left to go to college,” Andringa told the Vail Daily in January. “I knew I wasn’t done yet, and I also knew that John Dowling was arguably the best mogul coach in the entire world. My parents said if you’re going to do this and be serious about it, you might as well go where the best coach is.”
Dowling said Andringa’s story is one of the many successes he’s had in his 37-year coaching career.
“I started coaching when I was 17,” Dowling said. “Just having a broad influence with not just athletes, but coaches and parents, has been the most significant accomplishment, I think.”
‘VAIL IS WHERE MY HEART IS’
Andringa, along with local skier Tess Johnson, 17, and transplants Emerson Smith and Morgan Schild, all made it to the Olympics this year.
In recognizing Dowling, however, other local names were mentioned by U.S. Ski & Snowboard.
“Young talents such as Emily Szabo, (age 14), Kai Owens, (13), and Tegan Large, (14), are all on a fundamentally sound path to the peaks of mogul skiing success, thanks to John Dowling,” wrote U.S. Ski & Snowboard President and CEO Tiger Shaw.
Dowling said while those athletes are certainly stand-outs, there’s plenty more where they came from.
“We have athletes coming through the program who aren’t on anyone’s radar yet, but they will be,” he said.
In developing those athletes, Dowling said the Vail program has provided him the resources to see through the next generation of talent.
“Right now, Vail is where my heart is,” he said. “I’m looking forward to some of the projects we have going and I think Vail is the place where a lot can happen for athletes.”