Woods still works while trustees discuss complaints
Monday at a hastily scheduled parents meeting, about 25 parents, 10 coaches and a handful of athletes spoke with trustees president Pete Seibert, who also has a child in the program, about the resignation of Chip Woods.
“I went to the meeting and listened to the parents’ concerns,” said Seibert, who is just concluding his first year as president. “I’ve taken what they told me and I have been in communication with the board.”
According to Woods, the weeks in early May are usually spent scheduling activities for the next ski season and organizing training runs. Both were something usually organized by the executive director.
“There’s very little communication with the board and the rest of the staff,” Woods said. “Nobody else is doing the scheduling and nobody else is available to do it. I owe it to the organization to do it. We can’t let adult negative opinions affect the kids’ positive opinions.”
More than 300 youth athletes are involved with the club, which Woods has run as executive director the last nine years. After months of budget problems and an unstable relationship with a newly appointed board, Woods was asked to resign April 26. The board explained its decision, saying it needed an administrator, not a ski coach, to be the director.
“I was extremely disappointed he was asked to resign,” said 2002 U.S. Olympic skier Lindsey Kildow, who attended and spoke at a meeting Monday for people affected by the resignation. “Our family came out to Vail because of Chip. It’s still so important to have him as a coach.”
The board did ask Woods to stay on as head womens coach, but Woods said he had no desire for that position, and that the position had already been filled. The board gave Woods until May 10 to decide, but he said the offer was not appropriate and turned it down immediately.
Kate Asoian, parent of a men’s ability racer, said the parents realized a change was needed. The million-dollar non-profit organization has lost money the last two years, but getting rid of Woods, Asoian said, was not the answer.
“We all strongly urged (Pete) to get back to the table to work with Chip and get him back to the club,” said Asoian, who has been with the club since 1991. Asoian was also Wood’s assistant until 2000. “What we recommended was that the board members sit down with Chip and with a impartial mediator to work something out.”
Seibert would not comment on whether anything, including a mediated discussion, would occur outside of discussion with the board.
Jeanne Nedrelow hosted the Monday’s meeting, and has been involved with the program the last four years.
“We’ve known for a while that there was tension and conflict,” Nedrelow said. “It’s a huge issue for people of all over. We don’t want this one issue to be the downfall of one of the best ski programs in the country.”
Nedrelow continued, “There are administrative and organizational corrections that need to be made within the club, but we need to keep what works. Fix what doesn’t.”
The parents asked Seibert to have Woods rehired as head alpine technical director, meaning he would control all racing aspects for the club. Woods had submitted a similar proposal April 13 at the annual meeting, where Woods would have stepped down as executive director and into the position of head alpine director. The 14-member board voted it down, with one abstention, and soon after drafted a letter asking for his resignation.
The parents want the board to reconsider the proposal.
“I certainly appreciate the support,” Woods said. “I’m flattered by the amount of people that have taken notice.”