Sailer, who coached Vail’s Vonn, is honored
Vail, CO Colorado
PARK CITY, Utah – Longtime ski coach Erich Sailer, who has coached over 20,000 athletes including Lindsey Vonn of Vail at Buck Hill Ski Racing Club, will have his name memorialized in the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association’s new national training and education center, the Center of Excellence. The new Erich Sailer Cardio Center was recently unveiled in Park City, a gift from his longtime friends Bill and Joanne Shiebler, who were among the facility’s leading donors. Bill is a trustee of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team Foundation.
With a career of coaching some of the world’s finest alpine athletes, it seemed only fitting to Joanne Shiebler that the cardio center her husband had originally intended to name after her bear Erich Sailer’s name instead.
“Of all the junior coaches, Erich has probably put more kids on the U.S. Ski Team than anyone. It seemed an appropriate way to honor his contribution to the sport,” Joanne said.
Sailer was among those who attended USSA Congress 2009 for a private opening of the new Center of Excellence. During his time in Park City, Sailer was also able to tour the USSA’s newly opened Center of Excellence training facility.
“He is a great person, a very humble man and he has given his life to ski racing. He the guy who taught me to be myself,” Vonn said of Sailer. “He always said I was leaning in, but he didn’t try to change me, he just told me to make it fast and I did.”
The only inductee to the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame for his work in junior athlete development, Sailer’s passion and drive has enabled his program to achieve over three and a half decades of success in helping young ski racers reach their goals.
While Sailer feels privileged to have his name attached to the facility, he is also excited for the current and future athletes who will spend time there.
“There are so many youngsters out there who will be happy to someday be in this building. I didn’t expect this. I am honored to have my name in this terrific building. It is a great feeling for me to have left a good and lasting impression in the sport of skiing,” Sailer said. “I want to thank the Shiebler family for making me a part of their lives and the USSA, under the leadership of Bill Marolt, for such an outstanding achievement in building the Center of Excellence for many others.”
After opening May 1 for athletic training, the Center is buzzing with athletes, including Vonn, who are now using the Erich Sailer Cardio Fitness Center. According to Vonn, the Center now holds new meaning that reminds her of the coach who inspired her career.
“This year I dedicated my first World Cup slalom victory to Erich. I have been skiing slalom for a long time but I’ve never had the success that I think Erich was hoping for. He’s the reason I’m involved in skiing and why I made it so far because he taught me to follow my dreams,” Vonn said. “This is now the Erich Sailer Cardio Center and I will be there every day, six to eight hours a day, thinking of him.”
Five out of 22 member ski areas have adopted pay-to-play policies when it comes to skinning, snowshoeing or hiking up the mountain.