2018-2019 Race Department Staff
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.
Nick learned how to ski at Mad River and calls Waitsfield his hometown. He transitioned to the GMVS Ski Club weekend program at Sugarbush when he was introduced to racing. From there, Nick attended GMVS starting in 7th grade year and continued through to his senior year. After graduating, Nick took a post-graduate year at Mount Mansfield Ski Club where he continued to pursue his ski racing passion. Following his PG year at MMSC, Nick returned and being a student-athlete at Saint Michaels College to race NCAA. Now out of the competitive side of the sport and at Johnson State College, Nick is looking to give back to the ski racing community. Outside of Mad River Glen, Nick has no problem occupying his time outdoors. He loves fishing, exploring, playing soccer, driving his car, skateboarding, and dirt biking.
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.
Kathy was a youth ski racer in NH and later attended Burke Mountain Academy & University of Colorado, Boulder where she coached J2’s at Eldora Mtn. After college Kathy worked at BMA as a J3 coach. She joined the Mad River Ski Club as a J5/6 coach in 2002. During a few seasons away from coaching Kathy taught second grade at Lincoln Community School, started a business and a family. Since 2009, Kathy has coached U8/U10s. She is working toward USSA certification and lives in Waitsfield with husband, Steve, and children, Zachary, Sadie & Tela. Kathy is an avid mountain biker, riding with the Mtn. Moxie Team and enjoys powder days at MRG and Alta.
Tim lives in Maple Corner, Calais, Vermont with his wife and three kids. As a physical education teacher at Morristown Elementary School, he loves being active and enjoys working with children and adults. Skiing is his favorite recreational activity and enjoys skiing in all conditions and terrain. Before settling down, Tim use to travel extensively for skiing and mountaineering. He first experienced MRG 20 years ago and has been hooked ever since. Octopus Garden is his favorite area of the mountain. In addition to skiing, Tim enjoys cycling, fly fishing, music, and spending time with his family. When his kids get older, he plans to get back into ski mountaineering and traveling for big mountains. Tim hopes to go to Mt. Eyak some day and enjoy the deep, heavy powder at Mt. Baker again. One of his pet projects is to bring back the community rope tow in Calais and make skiing affordable and accessible for Vermont families.
Patrick grew up in Richmond, Vermont but now lives in Waterbury. He’s well versed in all the varieties of skiing including those uphill and skinny types. During the week, he teaches 4th grade to eager little learners in Morrisville, VT and coaches Nordic skiing at People’s Academy. He’s an accomplished cyclist and runner and loves long documentary-style movies like Ken Burn’s Civil War and Finding Nemo. Just kidding about the movies and the “Finding Nemo” part. Patrick can’t sit still that long.
He loves MRG for it’s community and accessibility. He’s most content when he’s outside playing.