Racing at MRG | Junior Race Program | Race Department Staff | Mad River Ski Club
Racing at MRG
Since the beginning, Mad River Glen has been a venue for racing. From sanctioned F.I.S. events to fun, family-oriented competition, our history is steeped in racing. Today, Mad River Glen offers a range of traditional and non-traditional races and events with it’s own “Ski it if You Can” twist. The Mad River Glen Race Department is wholly owned by Mad River Glen and headed by Jim Komarmi who oversees its season long children’s junior race program as well as college, high school, club and fun races. To learn more about our programs and events, please see the event description or link below. For additional information, please contact the race department at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mission of the Race Department:
“The Mad River Glen Cooperative Race Department’s Mission is to provide racing, training and competitive programs and services in accordance with international, national, regional and local guidelines while continuing to operate and embrace the Cooperative’s mission, vision and values.”
The Junior Race Program (Season Long)
The Mad River Glen Junior Race Program is the season-long racing program for children ages 6-18 run by the Mad River Glen Race Department. Our program is dedicated to providing quality training and competition experiences to skiers. We create athletes that are competitive at all junior levels of competition through high quality coaching, focused training and a premier skiers’ playground. Our program is focused on creating an environment for healthy competition, sportsmanship and character development. Depending on the age, we offer a limited Saturday only program or our full program, which gives the athlete access to over 70 days of organized training per year. The Junior Race Program, through the Race Department at Mad River Glen, provide the coaching and technical support necessary for junior athletes to achieve their personal best. Our group size is usually less than ten and we always have two coaches working with each group, therefore an excellent athlete to coach ratio. We believe that family support and participation though the Mad River Ski Club are essential to our program’s and each individual athlete’s success.
Mission of the Junior Race Program:
“The Mad River Glen Junior Race Program seeks to teach higher-level, technical skiing and race techniques to junior athletes in a fun, supportive and secure environment. Our Program will do so by challenging athletes in conventional drills and training courses, USSA competitive events, and recognizing and utilizing the rich natural terrain that Mad River Glen has to offer. Central to our mission is core belief that good ski racers come from good skiers and good skiers love and enjoy their sport.”
Shelly McSweeney is an avid long-time skier at Mad River Glen and mother of two former MRG club racers who went on to race at the FIS level. During the week she mentors/coaches parents in at-risk families as part of the Children’s Treatment Program at Lund. She especially enjoys working with and motivating young kids to learn basic technique while developing a love of skiing, hot chocolate and MRG.
Growing up, Chris Downing’s father was on the Smugglers Notch Ski Patrol, where Chris learned to ski and eventually into competing USSA freestyle. He first started coaching freestyle at Smuggs before transitioning to the Sugarbush program. After his competitive and coaching career in Freestyle, he converted to Alpine Racing with a coaching position with the Sugarbush/GMVS Ski Club and various Masters Race Clinics. He has raced ski bum race league’s with many successful years at Smuggs, Bolton Valley, Sugarbush, Mad River and Stowe ski bums. Chris’ love for skiing allowed him to meet his wife, Hillary on a blind ski date at MRG. Chris has two children in the Program; third generation MRG skiers Brooke and Parker (grandchildren of Callie McCallister of the Cricket Club and Callie’s Corner Handle Tow!) Chris brings a unique perspective of the ski industry having worked for VT Ski Safety, Sugarbush Rental, Ski Sharp and Vermont North Ski Shops. He currently works at Mountainside Ski Service as a Master Boot Fitter and race tuner.While MRG is the Downing’s winter home, in the summer Chris spends his summers working at The Moorings Marina Inc. on Lake Champlain which allows for his other passion; sailing and racing sailboats with his kids. along side him.
Race Department Director, Head Coach, U12/U14 Coach
Jim grew up skiing up and down his (very flat) driveway in Western New York and on the short hills in Buffalo’s Lake Effect snow belt. He Alpine raced from age 10-15 before taking up teaching and coaching. A USSA Certified Coach and PSIA Level II certified instructor, Jim has 20+ years coaching experience (mostly Alpine) at Green Mountain Valley School (Academy and Ski Club), as Alpine Program Director/Head Coach at Mad River Glen, at DEVO Ski Camps and Ford Sayre-BLK Program. He is still considered an expert in on-hill safety and security having lectured and presented during coaching clinics and USSA workshops/panels on behalf of World Cup Supply & SPM. Currently Jim is the managing partner at Eventset, LLC, an event infrastructure company that specializes in venue design, presentation and athlete/spectator safety. When Jim’s not skiing (or thinking about skiing), he’s probably outside doing something, but promises he will be home for dinner. He lives in Lyme, NH with his partner Alicia and her son Aidan.
U12 Coaching Assistant
Mad River Glen is Hilary Clark’s second home. She grew up learning to ski at Mad River Glen at a tender age of two! She participated in the Mad River Glen Ski School, Mad River Ski Club Race Program and raced on the Harwood Union High School Alpine Ski Team. Since becoming an alumnus from the MRSC, she has been an assistant race coach for the club and the MRG Ski School. When she is not at the mountain she works part time as an office clerk working for the State of Vermont in the Corrections Department and is the NEAT Project Outreach Coordinator for Green Mountain Self Advocates in Montpelier. She also works at Mad River Garden Center part time. In the off season, you will find her at Thunder Road International Speedbowl or other race tracks cheering on her brother, Brooks while he races his late model race Car #68. Her other hobbies of interest are snowmobiling and horseback riding. She loves being part of the MRSC and sharing her passion for ski racing and skiing! She lives just 3 miles from MRG on Route 17 in Fayston.
Margret comes from the great Doemland skiing family. Originally from Connecticut, she spent her junior years racing at Mad River Glen and then matriculated to GMVS. She is currently a student at St. Michael’s College in Burlington.
Mile was born in Ridgefield, CT. He always enjoyed playing outside as a child. Mike attended St. Michael’s College, where he met his wife Ali. They have two wonderful children, Lydia their youngest is in eight grade and attends GMVS and Ethan their oldest attends Harwood Union High School. Mike has coached alpine skiing for four years. He encourages children to dream big to attain their goals. He loves Mad River because of the beautiful terrain and smiles he sees on the mountain.
Eric Palola is a USSA certified coach with an extensive ski racing background as a member of two junior national teams, eastern Nor-Am and University of Colorado NCAA teams, and several years on the North American Pro Skiing circuit. He has volunteer coached all levels at MRG over the years and currently serves on the MRG Cooperative Board of Trustees. Eric is Executive Director of the Guanacaste Forest Fund, a non-profit group that supports biodiversity conservation in northwest Costa Rica and a father to two former MRG racers.
Mad River Ski Club
Mad River Ski Club can trace its roots back to the early days of ski racing in the Mad River Valley. Long before Glen Ellen became part of Sugarbush, Al Hobart and friends founded the Mad Academy (now Green Mountain Valley School), the Mad River Ski Club was the original downhill race program in The Valley.
Today, the Mad River Ski Club is an independent organization comprised of athletes, parents and others who are vested in ski racing at Mad River Glen. It is a wonderful community that connects athletes young and old that share a love of competition and our home mountain. While not all athletes in the Mad River Glen Junior Race Program race in USSA races, everyone is part of the Mad River Ski Club. Memberships are by family and are due at the beginning of each season.
Mission of MRSC:
“Our goal is to foster a love of skiing and the outdoors as a lifelong pursuit. Mad River Glen provides an exceptional experience with regard to its powerful natural beauty and unique terrain. Race training with the MRSC allows time for free skiing with coaches and teammates and time to experience the pure joy and adventure of skiing Mad River’s rugged terrain. The club aims to mirror the unique aspects, traditions and philosophies associated with the Mad River Glen Cooperative.”
Role of MRSC:
The Mad River Ski Club serves as a booster organization for the Mad River Glen Junior Race Program. It funds strategic initiatives that benefit junior racing, provides that namesake for competition and holds social functions for race families.
The Board of the Mad River Ski Club is comprised of the following members. They meet regularly throughout the year.
- Peter Salts, President
- Meg Singer-Huffman, Treasure
- Liza Carey
- Hilary Downing
- Scott Johnson
- Rick Ruback