Park City, UT (September 25, 2008) — Finn Gundersen, who has nearly 40 years of educational experience from the club level to the national team, has been named director of sport education by the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association. Gundersen, who is presently director of alpine education, will continue developing programs to educate the USSA’s coaches, clubs and parents, providing support for young athletes to achieve their goals.
“Finn has so much experience in both athletics and education, and has developed such an expertise in both fields, that we’re lucky to have the opportunity to have him lead the education build out now in each of our sports, not just alpine,” said Associate Athletic Director Luke Bodensteiner. “He also brings a tremendous amount of vision to the educational opportunities the Center of Excellence will generate for all of our members.”
In his position, Gundersen will be tasked with educating coaches, clubs and parents by developing informational materials, training instructors, overseeing coaches clinics and running seminars similar to the Elite Performance Conference for USSA clubs he managed in May in Park City, UT. Gundersen also will oversee all sports to ensure they have a certification and curriculum for instructors and coaches.
“Our job in sport education is to provide our young athletes with the ability to achieve their goals,” Gundersen said. “Our ability to educate our coaches and clubs, and to have parents of young athletes understand the development pipeline, will be key factors in athletes getting the most out of their experience as a USSA ski or snowboarding athlete.”
USSA Sport Education works closely with each sport, including alpine skiing, freestyle, cross country, nordic combined, ski jumping and snowboarding. It also produces educational material for use across all sports, including its award-winning Sports Performance Series of DVDs and CD-ROMs. All of the content is produced using the top athletes in each sport, integrating the USSA’s world class sport science and sports medicine expertise.
With the opening next spring of the USSA’s new national training and education facility, the Center of Excellence, USSA Sport Education will be able to provide even more educational materials through Web-based content. “The Center of Excellence will allow us to gather more educational materials from the activities that take place there with our top athletes,” said Gunderesen. “It will allow us to bring new content to the Web, and over time, bring coaches, clubs and parents closer together across the nation.”
A Wisconsin native, Gundersen began his career in the ski industry in 1970 with the opening of Burke Mountain Academy, the nation’s first winter sport academy. He moved on to the U.S. Ski Team as a coach for women’s World Cup from 1975-78 before returning to Burke where, in 1984, he became the academy’s headmaster.
In 2000, Gundersen left his headmaster position to work for the Salt Lake Olympic Organizing Committee as the event manager for Snowbasin Resort, which held the alpine speed events. Gundersen rejoined the USSA in January of 2003 as director of alpine education.
“In the end, the best part is still going on the road and working with coaches, parents and club leaders. I used to coach athletes and used to be a teacher in the classroom – but now the act of going on the road and teaching is the best part,” Gundersen said of his duties with the Team.