We Are The Snow Sports School!

Franz Krickl, Snowsports Director

Employed at Windham: Since 1972
Certification: Alpine Level III
PSIA-E Educational Staff – Examiner Certification: Level II USSA

Coach Skiing has been my passion since I was 4 years old. My father would take me skiing on his weekend trips into the mountains. A week after the season ended, I would ask my father, “when will we go skiing again?” Later I discovered the love of racing and when my family no longer could afford to sponsor me, I decided to become a ski Instructor to earn some money to sponsor myself for new equipment and gear that was always needed. After completing my Austrian National Certification and Mountain Guide Training, I immigrated to the US in 1972. I was hired by the Windham Mountain Club as a racing coach and Ski Instructor. In 1974 I became the Assistant Director and in 1978 I assumed the Directorship of the snow sports school. I am a level 2 race coach and for the last 26 years an active member of the BOE for PSIA-E. What keeps me coming back to the mountains to do my job is that there are never two turns alike, and the reward of coaching someone else in the beauty of skiing and experiencing the rewards of the sport of skiing. After all, this is one of the few sports the whole family can do together.

John Morgan, Snowsports School Office Manager

Employed at Windham: Since 1999
Certification: Alpine Level II

Skiing is one of my passions… after college, I began to ski and have not left the slopes yet. Some of my greatest moments are skiing with my son and daughter. After a long career of teaching at Scotch Valley Ski Area, and after its closing, I came to Windham and worked in the Group Sales Office. The next year, the Snow Sports School invited me to join them… a move I have never regretted. What a great place to work.

Joan Heaton, Teacher Trainer and Education Consultant

Employed at Windham: Since 1997
Certification: PSIA Certified – Level II
PSIA-E Area Rep Program Coordinator Awarded:
PSIA-E Distinguished Service Award Author of PSIA Publications

“How Do I Teach? That Is The Question!” “A National Survey on Teacher Behavior in Ski Teaching” “The Teaching Dimension” While teaching at The City College of New York, I began my ski teaching career by teaching Physical Education Ski Courses for credit. In 1976, I began teaching skiing professionally at Mount Snow, then Hunter Mountain, and, now, at Windham. In the early 80’s, I introduced the ‘teaching styles’ into the PSIA Curriculum. More recently, together with Jim Vigani, we have been instrumental in bringing ‘Experiential Learning’ into the ski-learning process. We have co-authored, “A Little Book About Skiing Better”, Vigani and Heaton (Barbara-Gayle Publishers). I thoroughly enjoy teaching. It is my life’s career. Sharing the enjoyment of a student’s accomplishments is the best part!

Phil Davenport, Race Program Supervisor

Employed at Windham: Since 2000
Certification: Alpine Level III

I’ve been involved in skiing all my life. Raced through my college years. Taught at Stratton, Mont Tremblant, Perisher Valley (Australia). I was PSIA certified in 1967, and French certified in 1971. I Owned and operated a small ski area – which meant I became experienced as lift operator, snowmaker, janitor, groomer, etc. By far the most rewarding ski industry job I’ve had is the one I have now, working with the mountain and with our coaches to develop a program that brings out the best in our young racers.

Jere Jaeger, Head Coach Alpine Racing Program

Employed at Windham: Since 1993
Certification: Alpine Level II
Certified USSA Level I

I have worked full time in the skiing business for twenty six years. I started skiing at Windham Mountain in 1965 at the age of 5 and eventually turned to ski racing. Ski racing is a passion of mine, but I also love to free ski, especially back country, and the steep and deep. I raced as a Jr., into college, and was on the pro tour for a stint. I finally moved to Utah, or as I would call it the college of skiing, where I earned my USSA level I, and my PSIA level I. I taught and coached there until 1985. Moving back east, I worked for Hunter Mountain for seven years, and finally made the switch to our lovely Windham Mountain. I’ve been here for the last seventeen years. Coaching at all levels, including the F.I.S. level. I had the great pleasure to work with some outstanding athletes. Some of whom have come full circle to work along side of me. Currently I am the Head Coach for our Jr. race program, and also Head Coach for the Windham Ashland Jewett high school team… KEEPING IT LOCAL…

Jim Vigani, Training Supervisor

Employed at Windham: Since 1986
Certification: Alpine Level III PSIA-E Ed Staff:
Division Clinic Leader (Retired)

I have been teaching skiing professionally since 1975 and was the Ski School Director for Plattekill Mountain Ski School for 8 years prior to coming to Windham. Beside teaching all levels of skiing, I’ve been involved in training both new and experienced instructors for 30 years. Together with Joan Heaton, we have been instrumental in bringing ‘Experiential Learning’ into the ski learning process and have co-authored with Joan ‘A Little Book About Skiing Better.’ I was very active in the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) for skiing safety standards development. I am a Forensic Engineer and President of my own technical consulting firm.

Diana Swanson, Jr. Snowboard Program Supervisor

Employed at Windham: Since 1989
Certification: USASA Trainer Level I Certification:
AASI Snowboard Level I Certification:
Alpine Level II

I have been teaching snow sports for 25 years, and I have loved every minute of it!! There is nothing more satisfying than turning someone on to a winter sport. From skiing to snowboarding and snowshoeing, a bad day on the slopes is better than a good day anywhere else. In my capacity at Windham as the Jr. Program Snowboard Supervisor, I have had the pleasure of developing skills in children that will last a lifetime. In turn, the children’s’ sheer joy and playfulness in the sport has inspired me to approach snowboarding with a sense of fun and abandonment.

Dennis Moore, Junior Race Program Supervisor

Employed at Windham: Since 1985
Certification: Alpine Level III Certification: Level I USSA Coach

I have coached and taught skiing since 1970 at Intermont ski area, Greek Peak, Jiminy Peak and Windham. I earned my PSIA Level III certification in 1974 while in college at SUNY Cortland. I am also a Level I USSA coach. I taught myself, I taught my three children to ski and all are still skiing! Imagine that. Currently, I coach in the junior race program at Windham and I hold the position of Director of Parks and Recreation in the town of Guilderland. I believe in simple proper ski techniques and tactics at a young age to have fun for the rest of your life. Free skiing is the key to better skiing! Don’t teach: Precision! Breathe! “Don’t fall here!” “Look ahead!”

Barbara Hendricks, Mountain Master Supervisor

Employed at Windham: Since 1987
Certification: Alpine Level II
PSIA member.

I have always enjoyed watching people learn and expand their horizons in the world of skiing, whether it be the never ever student or the instructor(s) with whom I work or ski with. There is a need for all of us to be versatile in our skiing, in an effort to add to our ever growing skills pool. I have always tried to convey this in a fun manner, so that we all become better as a result. In the years that I have been at the mountain, I have seen the way that the mountain has grown and taken many positive turns towards that fun that we often need and clamor for. Let’s keep it going.

Katie Frankovich, CLC Mini Mountaineer Instructor Supervisor

Employed at Windham: Since 2000
Certification: Alpine Level I

I have been in the ski industry since 1981; working at the first ski shop in the Delaware Valley (Wilburger’s Ski Shop in Bryn Mawr, PA) working my way up from sales clerk to store manager and then on to clothing and accessories buyer. I left the ski shop in 1998, met and married my husband Michael. We reside in Island Heights, NJ with our son Mikey (born in 2005 – yes, I taught while I was pregnant!). My husband and I discovered Windham Mountain through a Barnegat Bay sailing friend. We rented a home on South Street for two years and purchased our Windham home in 2001. That same year, after having been in the ski industry for 17 years and taking two years “off” I started my coaching career, with the Children’s Learning Center, at Windham Mountain. In 2003, I assumed the role of Mini Mountaineers Program Supervisor and I obtained my PSIA Level I instructor certification I love working with children as they are so open and receptive to learning but most of all because the role of coach is fun and children are fun which make my days at Windham not work but FUN. I look forward to many more seasons of skiing and teaching at Windham but most of all I look forward to watching the children grow and mature, and to renewing the friendships that we have begun and maintained at our home away from home.

Andy Bertisch, Supervisor/Coach of the Junior Instructor Training Program

Employed at Windham: Since 1992
Certification: Alpine Level III

My involvement in the ski industry started at Catamount in 1974 in skier services. I began my teaching career at Haystack Mountain, Vermont in 1989. I joined Windham Mountain in 1992 and have been employed there ever since. My teaching experiences at Windham have been varied. I began in the CLC (children’s learning center), then moved on to group and private lessons, teaching mostly children. I then joined the Junior Program as an instructor of 6 to 8 year olds which lead to my current position as the Supervisor/Coach of The Junior Instructor Training Program. Over the last 13 years, the Program has grown and diversified. I found that within the structure of this program adaptability and flexibility are key elements enabling students to conquer the entire mountain with confidence while developing their ability to instruct other students. A large majority of the students in this program have gone on to become snow sport instructors, adaptive instructors and members of ski patrol at Windham. Those that have gone on to college and beyond frequently return to let me know how they are doing in life. This is one of my greatest rewards. I’m very proud of my students and their accomplishments.

Eddie Kiziukiewicz, Adult Program Supervisor

Employed at Windham: Since 1981
Certification: Alpine Level II

While I enjoy and love skiing, I love to learn and to teach. I like sharing this love of skiing with others. I am grateful for the help and training I’ve received, and am grateful for the opportunity as a Staff Trainer to pass this along to others. I look forward to each and every snow season.

Tony Sturnolo, Beginner Area Supervisor

Employed at Windham: Since 2000
Certification: Alpine Level II

I first started teaching at Scotch Valley, Stamford, NY. After 17 years, it closed, and I came to Windham. The past ten years have given me the opportunity to acquire many new ideas in teaching by attending clinics and skiing with other certified instructors. Windham’s internal training programs offer a great deal of knowledge which helped me expand my abilities and achieve goals I’ve set for myself. This past season I was asked to be the Beginner Area Supervisor. I’ve enjoyed this role because it gave me the opportunity to help customers with their beginning skiing skills, and the opportunity to work with our experienced staff to make our clients first ski experience a safe and fun time.

Laurie Marshall Lauria, Freestyle Program Assistant Supervisor

Employed at Windham: Since 2001
Certification: Alpine Level II

This will be my second year in the freestyle program and there’s no turning back now! Prior to this position, I taught and supervised in the Mountain Masters Program, which afforded me the ability to hone my skills at a variety of different levels. I am an educator and love my weekend and holiday opportunities for “teaching without walls” in the snow! I treasure my time on snow, as I have gained my love of skiing from my father, John Marshall, former team physician for the US Ski Team, who taught me how to ski at the age of four in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah. I now have the opportunity to share my passion for skiing with my family, friends and students – What a life! I am grateful for being part of a ski school filled with so many talented and energetic colleagues who eagerly share what they know. Let it snow!

Hank Wolters, Freestyle Program Supervisor

Employed at Windham: Since 1995
Certification: Alpine Level II

I started skiing in my early twenties and fell in love with the sport immediately. I soon met my future wife and infected her with my passion for skiing. When my children came along I discovered one of the most rewarding experiences I could imagine- teaching them to ski and enjoy the sport I love. I soon began training and teaching at our home mountain, Plattekill. Hearing of the legendary children’s programs and training opportunities for teaching professionals at Windham Mountain I moved my family and career there. At Windham I’ve taught in the children’s learning center, mogul masters and the junior program. I began teaching in the freestyle program in 1995 when my children began competing on the Eastern Freestyle circuit. I am currently the director of the freestyle program and my daughter Veronica is our head mogul coach. Teaching the children of Wind ham to love and excel in this sport the way my family does, never gets old.

Elyse Loughlin, CLC Instructor Supervisor

Employed at Windham: Since 1999
Certification: Alpine Level I

I always knew I was going to be a teacher. My first job was a Children’s Learning Center ski instructor at Windham Mountain. I was 14 and I was eager to improve my own skiing technique. I also was excited to give youngsters a memorable start in the sport I love so much. My enthusiasm for teaching mixed with my love for skiing lead to an energy level that got noticed around Windham, and eventually got me recognized in Ski Magazine in 2001. I continued to teach at Windham while attending college at SUNY Cortland, and after graduating I was offered the CLC Instructor Supervisor position. I love leading the trainings for the new instructors in the early winter, and helping them develop their teaching skills throughout the winter.

Mermer Blakeslee, Training Cadre

Instructor at Windham Mtn.: Since 1979
Certification: Alpine Level III
PSIA-E Ed Staff: Examiner of Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA)-Eastern
PSIA National Demonstration Team: 1996-2000
PSIA National Demo Team selector: 2000, 2004, 2008
Head Coach, Women’s Camp, Snowbird, Utah: 2003-present
Author, “In the Yikes! Zone” (Dutton, 2002)
Creator and Director of The Fear Clinic: 1985-present
Director of Power Learn: 2006-present

Windham has always been my home mountain. I’ve skied here (first called Cave Mtn.) since 1960. As a young ski racer, I attended Burke Mtn. Academy in Vermont and competed at the Junior Nationals and in the Can-Am circuit. In 1979, I started teaching here and a few years later began a workshop for fearful skiers. A decade later I was dubbed by Stu Campbell as “the ski industry’s fear expert.” My book, In the Yikes! Zone: A Conversation with Fear (Dutton, 2002) emerged from twenty years of giving workshops on learning, fear and performance anxiety. In 1987, I became an examiner for PSIA-Eastern and in 1996; I earned a spot on the PSIA National Demonstration Team (the first mother to do so).
I still travel throughout the country coaching ski teachers, trainers, and examiners, and each spring I lead the Women’s Camp at Snowbird, Utah. But I love being back home here, coaching my fellow instructors and developing my Power Learn program, a one-of-a-kind, comprehensive ski program for seriously committed students. I’ve also written two novels, “Same Blood” (Houghton Mifflin, 1989) and “In Dark Water” (Ballantine, 1998). I am currently working on my third.

Ken Sauer, Training Cadre

Instructor at Windham: Since 1985
Certification: Alpine Level III 1983
PSIA-E Ed Staff: PSIA – Examiner/ ETS current
PSIA-E Educational staff 1984
PSIA-E Education Chairman 1990-1993

Got hooked on skiing a little later in life during my late teens. Started before snowboarding, so who knows….but I was hooked. Within a few years I was teaching and then it went like this….from level 1 to Examiner in 6 seasons. Missed out on some trips out west from taking all those exams, will try to catch up for the rest of my days on snow!!!! I truly enjoy just meeting all the people I get to ski with. The bonus is being able to guide them to feel the magic of what could be while sliding on the white stuff!!!! By the way got my start at Hunter, have spent 25 seasons doing the up and down at Windham and was blessed with all the on the road adventures thanks to PSIA. Some other careers that have kept me going; fighting fires, short order cook, all phases of home remodeling, candy, snack and beverage sales and can spin nice puffy cotton candy cone!

Ned Crossly, Training Cadre

Employed at Windham: Since 1987
Certification: Alpine Level III
Certification: Snowboard Level I
PSIA Education Staff: DCL (Division Clinic Leader)

I taught and learned to ski better at the West Point Ski Area, Windham Mountain, and Professional Ski Instructors of America clinics. I’ve never stopped taking ski lessons and sharing my knowledge with others since I started skiing in 1985 at the age of 39. I love developing other skiers, instructors and giving back to a terrific sport….skiing. For 42 years, my whole life has been teaching and coaching gymnastics, rock climbing, skiing, physical education, windsurfing, and track and field. Doing it, feeling it, loving it, plus sharing it.

Bonnie O’Hara, Training Cadre

Employed at Windham: Since 2005
Certification: Alpine Level III
PSIA-E Ed Staff: DCL (Division Clinic Leader)
Former Advanced Children’s Educator (ACE)

Since starting at Windham in 1999, I have taken advantage of as much training as possible, and have taught all kinds of people from toddlers to octarians. I earned my Level 3 certification in March 2008 and I look forward to helping my fellow instructors along the same path.

Whether I’m teaching a first time skier making their first runs, or a fellow instructor honing their skills in the bumps, it’s a thrill for me to help others grow in a sport that I love. It’s all good – it’s all about fun!

Nick Pera, Training Cadre

Employed at Windham: Since 1974
Certification: Alpine Level III

Several enthusiastic and talented instructors inspired me to pursue ski teaching. They all had one thing in common, they would say, “Skiing is an experience”! They lived that experience every day. This spirit fueled my desire to be an instructor. I continually work to stay current in this sport. I have had the privilege of understudying and training with some of the best National level coaches and team members. I served as an Assistant College Race Coach for 2 years. I believe knowledge is not something you keep but something you pass on. I have enjoyed passing this knowledge on to new and experienced instructors for over 30 years as a Staff Trainer. I have also developed and run season long guest training programs. My personal skiing adventures have taken me to most major western ski areas, Europe, and heli-skiing. I look forward to sharing my experiences.

Paul Geibel, Training Cadre

Employed at Windham: Since 1979
Certification: Alpine Level III

I began skiing with my dad when I was 5 years old. During my college years, I participated in junior patrol and then began teaching in 1972. I joined Windham Snowsports School in 1979 as a full-time instructor, assisting with the Adult Program and Instructor Training. I received my Level III PSIA certification in 1983.

Frosty Blakeslee, Training Cadre

Employed at Windham: Since 1994
Certification: Alpine Level III

I was raised in the Catskills on good food and great skiing. This has been my life for 40 years and I love it. I was a member of Burke Mountain Academy’s original graduating class of 1972. After that I was on the ski racing team at Johnson State College. By the 1980’s I was able to teach all levels of skiing on Mt Mansfield and Spruce Peak in Stowe, VT. I was also a Chef… skiing by day and cooking in a restaurant by night.

From the 1990’s to the present, with ski racing still in my blood I coached J4 racing at Windham Mountain for a few years. I presently coach one of Windham’s adult ski programs. I also teach fear clinics, power learn, and at the children’s learning center. I maintain my PSIA level III certification and participate in the PSIA National Academy as well as other educational offerings. I am happy to say I still love the Catskills, good food and great skiing. … See you on the mountain.

Michael Lancto, Training Cadre

Employed at Windham: Since 1997
Certification: Alpine Level III

For me, skiing is a lifetime sport to do with your family and friends. My parents started skiing with me at Catamount in 1964. My wife and I brought our two children skiing to Windham when they were two and three years old. They grew up in the ski programs at Windham Mountain and became Snow Sports Instructors themselves. I have learned so much from the trainers here at Windham Mountain. Currently, as a staff trainer, it is important for me to help people of all ages and abilities to become all mountain skiers.

Elizabeth Gross, Jr. Development Instructor Training (Alpine)

Employed at Windham: Since 1994
Certification: Alpine Level 1

My career at Windham Mountain has been entirely about kids, and after 15 seasons, I can’t quite explain how rewarding it is seeing teenagers and young adults ripping it up at Windham and suddenly realizing, “wow, I showed that kid how to make his or her very first turn ever.” Watching others turn-on to the thrill of skiing is remarkable and something I never tire of. Recently I have joined the “Junior Instructor Training Program” at Windham and am now in a position to pass on what I have learned and experienced over the years to the instructors of the future – very cool!!

I also spend three amazing days each season working with Mermer Blakeslee’s “Fear Workshop”, a 3-day program designed to coach women through various fear-related issues on the slopes. For me, the workshop journeys beyond the mechanics of skiing, and is a wondrous exploration of the spirit of the sport and of the women who embrace it.

Each season I marvel at the diligence and skill level of our internal staff development team and am grateful for the continued opportunity I am offered at Windham to further my life-long passion; one it is a privileged to pass on to others.

Michael Swanson, Training Cadre

Employed at Windham: Since 1989
Certification: USASA Trainer Level II
Certification: AASI Snowboard Level II
Certification: Alpine Level II

Over 25 years of snow sports instructing experience. I started my career in Vermont ski instructing for 5 seasons at Mt. Ascutney. After relocating to the Windham area I initially taught skiing full time my first season along with an Adult Program ski group. In the mid 90’s I crossed over to snowboarding. I coached the Windham Mtn. snowboard team at 7 USASA National Competitions. These days I am focusing on instructor training and coaching an Adult Program snowboarding group. To this day I still get excited about teaching a beginner in the morning and seeing them later in the day up on the hill enjoying the sport I love.