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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.
In 2017, Franz was recognized with the PSIA-E/AASI Einar Aas Award. The award recognizes dynamic leadership of a Snowsports School while achieving and maintaining the highest standards, as nominated by members and selected by his/her peers.
The Eastern Division of PSIA/AASI (Professional Ski Instructors of America/American Association of Snowboard Instructors) began awarding the Einar Aas Award for Excellence in Snowsports School Management in 2009. The Einar Aas Award is presented to a snowsports school director in the Eastern Division as a tribute to the late Einar Aas and to honor his memory. Einar was an outstanding snowsports school director; his dedication to his students, his school, this organization (both divisionally and nationally) and the snowsports industry is legendary. This award recognizes a snowsports school director for achieving and maintaining the highest standards in snowsports school management as nominated and selected by his/her peers.
Franz is a living (and skiing) legend at Windham, having been a fixture at the Snowsports School there for nearly 40 years!
Franz received a record number of individual nominations for this award – 46. In their nomination forms, his staff describes him using the following terms: Spectacular leader – role model – dedicated – involved – available – visible – supportive – encouraging to us in every way.
One staff member summed it up this way: “Without a doubt the best director/ manager I have ever worked for in my entire life and 35 year career as a Professional Instructor. Franz represents all we are and all we could hope to be.”
Another wrote, “Franz Krickl, born and raised on skis in Austria, understands skiing deeply, but more than that he understands people. He leads rather than manages his staff, allowing for creativity, innovation, and also – a few mistakes. He is willing to allow for these mistakes that then need to be transformed into deeper learning, to keep the culture vibrant and fresh. Franz stands strong, fighting for his teachers and, ultimately, for the culture of skiing itself.
After tributes, toasts (and a bit of roasts) were offered to Franz by Windham staffers (and Eastern ed staff members) Ned Crossley and Mermer Blakelee, the audience of nearly 300 at the Snowsports School Management Seminar banquet at Mount Snow, VT rose to their feet in an affectionate standing ovation for Franz. That Windham Mountain CEO, Chip Sieman and CFO Larry Bloom made the trip from Windham to Mount Snow was further testament to the appreciation, respect and love that the Windham Mountain community feels for Franz.
Congratulations and thank you to Franz Krickl for his decades of dedication to his school staff, Snowsports education, PSIA-AASI and resort guests from near and far!