Coaches and Staff
U18/U21 Head Coach/Juniors Program Director
Conor McDonald hails from Copper Mountain, Colorado. Most people know him as Da Bucky. When he wasn’t pursuing his outdoor adventures of climbing, hunting, and guiding, he ski raced for Team Summit. After sweeping the Junior Olympics with wins in all four disciplines and qualifying for the US Ski and Snowboard Development team, Bucky broke his back. After several years off due to surgery, Sparky Anderson gave him a spot to join the Seawolves. Being involved in the sport, and then away from the sport, Bucky discovered he loves to see how much others enjoy the sport of ski racing.
I come from a small place in North East Europe, Latvia. I grew up skiing all over Europe. My passion for skiing started when I was 5 and after 20 years it is still there. In 2014, I qualified for the Sochi Olympic games and I have also raced two World Championships in Schladming in 2013 and Beaver Creek in 2015. In 2014, Sparky Anderson gave me a chance to ski for UAA and for five years I competed in college ski racing. In those five years, I really fell in love with Alaska. I have traveled a lot and I’ve seen some beautiful places in the world. But nothing compares to Alaska. Besides skiing, I play amateur soccer and hockey. During the summers, I am a full time carpenter, part time hiker, and a fisherman. In 2018, I graduated with a degree in Aviation and Business. Currently I am pursuing a MBA degree.
Kjersti von Wichman
Kjersti was born and raised in Norway. From as early as she can remember, Kjersti was told to go outside and ski until dinner was ready. Learning early that cross country skiing was not a good fit for her, she gravitated towards downhill skiing when not skijoring with the family dogs. Growing up ski racing in Norway, and being a part of their National team, she was lucky enough to travel all over Europe and experience the Europe Cup and World Cup circuit. She came to the US to study at the University of Utah and skied for the Utes for 3 years. At that point serendipity made her fall in love with Alaska so she moved up here to coach after finishing school in Salt Lake City. Kjersti spent 4 years coaching the UAA Ski Team with fellow Alaskan Paul Crews, followed by 2 years on the women’s US National Tech Team which brought her back to her European roots. Kjersti and her husband, Brad, have 3 kids who all love to ski. She is very excited to be a part of ASC’s U14 programs. Kjersti’s philosophy is that the U14 programs should be FUN and for everybody that likes to ski!
Rob grew up in Juneau and learned to ski at Eaglecrest when he was 9. He raced in the Mighty Mite and Junior programs until sustaining a knee injury in high school. After college and earning his Aircraft Mechanic’s license, Rob joined the Alaska Air National Guard and spent 26 years in various jobs around the world. His favorite job was being flight engineer & door gunner on combat search and rescue helicopters where he helped save over 100 lives. He recently retired from the military and works as an instructional lab tech at UAA’s aviation maintenance program. Rob is an Alpine Official and Level 100 coach who loves watching athletes meet their hard-earned goals. When he’s not coaching, he enjoys waterskiing, camping, hunting and fishing with his wife Jessica and their 5 kids.
U16 Head Coach
Growing up in Twin Mountain, New Hampshire, Nick began skiing at the age of 2. In 8th grade, he attended Cardigan Mountain School and finished high school at New Hampton Schools, where he began ski racing full time. While at University of New Hampshire he began his career at Loon Mountain coaching U10’s & U12’s, working his way up through the program, finishing out as the Head FIS Coach by the time he graduated from UNH in 2006. Following his tenure at Loon, he returned to Cardigan Mountain School where he taught Life Skills and coached soccer, lacrosse, and ski racing. In 2007, he moved to Vail, Colorado and began working for Ski and Snowboard Club Vail as the Men’s then Women’s FIS and Nor-Am coach and race hill manager. After coaching for SSCV for 4 years, he took a hiatus from coaching, which gave him the opportunity to work events for the Vail Race Department and be part of many incredible events such as; Burton US Open, 2015 World Championships (both men’s & women’s), multiple Nor-Am Series races, as well as lead dye crew & section chief for 11 Birds of Prey Men’s World Cup in Beaver Creek. He moved to Tamarack, Idaho for the 2018/19 season, and started coaching for the Tamarack Ski Team. The following season he accepted the position of Executive Director of the Tamarack Ski Team. He is very excited to join the Alyeska Ski Team for the upcoming season.
Chris is a born and raised Alaskan who grew up ski racing with the Fairbanks Ski Team as a Mighty Mite and Junior USSA Athlete. Chris trained with Paul Crews and the NCAA Alpine team at UAA for a season before transitioning to Montana State University in Bozeman, MT to pursue Business and Aviation degrees. While in Montana, Chris started to give back to the ski industry that provided so much growing up in Alaska. While attending MSU, Chris enjoyed teaching as a PSIA Level II instructor for several seasons at Bridger Bowl. Upon returning to Alaska, Chris was recruited to be the head coach for the Junior ski racing program at Arctic Valley for the Anchorage Ski Club. Chris found his way to Alyeska Ski Club where he spent several seasons coaching all ages of the Juniors program and became certified as a level 300 coach within USSA. Chris has spent the previous 4 seasons coaching in the Mighty Mite program and is excited to transition into the Junior Program with his two children. In his free time, Chris enjoys spending time with his wife and kids flying around Alaska, fishing, hunting and camping.
Jimmy Henderson is a passionate ski racing coach and athlete with a strong background in the sport. He grew up racing at the early age of six through Alyeska Ski Club’s Mighty Mites and Devos programs, and progressed into the club’s Juniors program, where he competitively ski raced at the FIS level. After graduating from South Anchorage High School in 2015, Jimmy attended the University of Nevada – Reno, where he was awarded two Bachelor of Science degrees in Accounting and Economics. He later pursued a Master of Accountancy at UNR, which he graduated with in the Fall of 2020. During his sophomore year of college, Jimmy joined Nevada’s Alpine Race Team and participated in USCSA collegiate-level ski racing, helping the team secure a Team National Ski Cross Championship title in 2018. As a coach, Jimmy believes in the importance of building a strong foundation of technical skills and developing athletes’ mental resilience. He also works to create a fun and engaging environment that helps his U14 athletes grow and improve. In addition to his coaching work, Jimmy is also a full-time audit associate at KPMG’s Anchorage office. Overall, Jimmy looks forward to sharing his passion for skiing with the U14 group.
S J. (Yes, “S” is really his name) knows how lucky a kid is to grow up skiing at Alyeska. He grew up with the Mighty Mite program where he learned the fundamentals from Bud Gibbs, Butch West, and Phil Ramstad. As a Junior Racer, he was fortunate enough to learn from coaches like Mike Durtschi, Lolly Moss, Jon Gould, Cindy Gibbs, Alex Von Wichman and Marc Eid. Skiing gave him the chance to travel all over the East Coast where he raced Division I under John Laserte. He started a race program for a ski club on the Volcan Villarica in Chile the year after the US women’s team trained there. He coached with the Mighty Mites for seven years, with Lex Patten in the SPYDER program, and most recently with the DEVOS program. He loves watching skiers gain the skills and confidence to go as far as their drive and potential can take them. When he’s not growing sprouts, you’ll find him on the mountain or the trails chasing his son, Marc.
Brenna was born and raised in Alaska and has been a part of the Alyeska Ski Club since she was five years old, continuing racing all of the way through the FIS competition level. She was brought on as a coach in 2017, where she was with the U12 rascals for a few years before transitioning to the U14 age group. In 2020, she became a Level 100 certified coach and is currently working towards getting her Level 200. When she isn’t coaching she is attending UAA, where she will be graduating in spring 2022 with a degree in Health Science with an Athletic Training minor. Once graduating she will be applying to Physical Therapy grad school so she can continue to work with people and help them understand their body mechanics so they can excel in their life adventures.
Born and raised in Verbania Italy, right on the shores of Lake Maggiore he learned to ski and mountaineer on the mountains behind his house. After a few years working as a chemical technician in two large companies from Milan, he decided to take another route in his life. Since then, he has worked as a ski racing coordinator and assistant in snow making and slope preparation. Working for one of the largest ski areas in Europe (Breuil – Cervinia Italy) and Nakiska Canada, Cristiano has acquired knowledge in ski racing. Alongside national teams he has learned to create the best working environment they needed. Now adays, he tries to squeeze job, family and mountaineering in his life; and even though he may be a bit busy at times he is always able to finish whatever project he has on his plate.
U12 Head Coach
Tasha was born and raised in Vail, CO learning about the outdoors and playing as many sports as possible. At 13, she decided to focus on hockey after having to choose between ski racing and ice hockey. She then played travel hockey for Colorado Selects throughout high school, after which she went on to play four years of college hockey at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire. After graduating, she began her coaching career with the Boston Shamrocks U19 girls’ juniors ice hockey team in Woburn, MA. But the mountains were calling, and she headed back home. Once in Vail, she started working for Vail Resorts race department hosting a large variety of ski races and events, including 2015 World Championships, USSA & FIS races, Burton US Open, and was on dye crew and a section chief for three Birds of Prey Men’s Downhill World Cups in Beaver Creek. While in Vail, she was also coaching girls hockey for Vail Junior Hockey Association, the same club she grew up playing in, where she evolved into the roll as Assistant Director of Girls Hockey, and skills coach for U12, U14, & U16 girls teams and U10 & U14 boys teams. In 2018 she moved to Tamarack, Idaho and began coaching for the Tamarack Ski Team. The following season she took on the role of Head Alpine Coach, working mainly with U12’s & U14’s. Tasha has her level 100 USSA Alpine Ski Coaching & Referee Cert’s, along with her level II USA Hockey coaching certification. Whether she finds herself on snow or ice, Tasha loves coaching and is stoked to start a new adventure in Alaska, and to be out there making as many turns as possible with the Alyeska Ski Club kids!
U10 Head Coach
April Ingrim grew up in Alaska and started skiing with the Alyeska Ski Club at the age of 5 with both Mighty Mites and Devos. April moved up through the Juniors program until graduating high school in 2017. April is currently attending UAA, pursuing a Bachelor degree in Business Management, minor in Real Estate with a concentration in Real Estate Management. Ski racing has had a massive impact on her life. She is excited to be coaching the next generation of skiers and share her passion and love for the sport.
I grew up with the Alyeska Ski Club, first through the Mighty Mites program then the Juniors program. I’ve been skiing at Alyeska my whole life so I know the mountain very well. I am a senior in High School planning to attend the University of Alaska Anchorage upon graduation. I an excited to be getting involved with ASC as a coach and I am looking forward to sharing this ski year with all of you!
Alpine X Head Coach & Juniors Coach
I grew up ski racing for Alyeska Ski Club. I came up through the Mighty Mite, Devos and Juniors programs. I competed in alpine until I graduated from high school, racing at the FIS/USSA level. I skied in college for Western State Colorado University and competed in freeride and ski cross. I competed at the 4* FWQ level in freeride and won a sickbird award. In ski cross, I was an USCSA All-American all four years in college and I represented the United States at the 2015 World University Games. After graduating I continued racing and competed at the Nor-Am, Europa Cup and US Grand Prix level. I finished 3rd Overall in the SX Nor-Am standings in 2016. In 2017, I was the USASA National Champion. My final year racing I became World Cup eligible before I suffered a career ending injury. I am excited to be back home in Alaska and stay involved in skiing. I am looking forward to working with athletes to help them improve their fundamentals/skills in and outside the race course.
Alpine X Coach
After moving to Alaska in the 1900’s, I learned to ski at Alpenglow and Arctic Valley (back when the military lift was still around). I spent several years skiing with the race team at Alpenglow. Looking back now, the coaches I had during those early years had a very significant impact on the rest of my life. The skiing fundamentals and the passion for the mountains that those coaches instilled in me impacted every day of the following 30+ years of skiing. My hope is to continue the cycle and pass on skiing fundamentals and a passion for the mountains to the next generation of skiers. In the BK (before kids) era, I spent much of my free time climbing and skiing in the backcountry. I also worked for several years as a PSIA instructor. Now my free time is split largely between family time, raising our 4 boys, and praying for snow!
Freeride & Devos Program Director/Freeride Coach
Drew grew up as an Alyeska Ski Club Mighty Might starting at age 6. At age 11 he progressed into the Junior racing program for 3 years before realizing his passion in freestyle/freeride skiing. He was one of the original members of the ASC Freeride Team competing for 4 years in Half Pipe and Slopestyle before moving on to Big Mountain skiing. You’ll find Drew on the Kenai River during the summer working as a Fishing Guide and at SkiAK during the winter months working as a Sales Associate.
Connor Michael was a competitive racer and freeride skier for most of his life. He ski raced through high school with the Alyeska Ski Club Juniors. During his years in FIS, he attended Western Region Championships every year. After graduating high school, he moved to Gunnison Colorado to ski for Western Colorado University’s Freeride and Ski Cross teams. He was a top 10 ranked skier in the Freeride World Qualifiers in North America. He also took a 2nd place and 8th place at College Nationals for ski cross. Connor is now the Program Director of Alyeska Freeride Team, and head coach of the 12-18 age group. During the week, Connor works for Alaska Permanent Capital Management as a Financial Advisor.
Gabriel is a lifelong skier and Alaskan. After graduating from High School he moved to Breckenridge Colorado and tested terrain parks. Building the courses for the mountain Dew Tour, and Level 1s movie After Dark. Gabriel is excited to share his experience in freestyle with the next generation.
In the summer he operates a gourmet mushroom business in Anchorage.
U12 Head Coach
Jonathan was born and raised in Seattle, WA. As a kid he was involved in many ski programs/teams. At 18 he moved to Salt Lake City to attend the University of Utah and freeski. He started competing in Freeride contests all over starting in 1999 and finishing up in 2009 at an Alyeska Contest. In this time, Jonathan became a Professional Photographer appearing in front of the camera and published in publications such as Powder Magazine, Backcountry Magazine, Telemark Skier Magazine, among many others. He has appeared in and help produce 6 different ski films over the years and continues to create content in the ski media world, as well as photograph many other things such as commercial and portrait work. This is Jonathan’s second season of coaching with ASC, and he truly enjoys coaching the younger athletes just getting into the sport. He believes there is no such thing as a bad day of skiing. There is simply always something fun to do on skis, even if it’s surfing on your skis in the rain.
Jake Dahl is from Anchorage and grew up ski racing for ASC from Mighty Mites through Juniors, competing in FIS races across the West. Towards the end of high school he drifted away from racing, finding more enjoyment in back country and big mountain skiing. He went on to earn his degree in Electrical Engineering from UAA and promptly moved to Salt Lake City Utah to pursue employment opportunities and fluffier snow. After 3 years in Salt Lake, the urge to return to Alaska could no longer be resisted. He strategically quit his job and started working remotely as a freelance software engineer, which would allow him the opportunity to move home. Jake is stoked to be back and is excited to share his experience and enthusiasm for the sport of skiing with the next generation of rippers.
U14 Head Coach
Alec was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska and started skiing at Alyeska at the age of four and hasn’t stopped since. He started out in Mighty Mites and eventually made his way to the Juniors race program. Alec attended several races throughout his time in Juniors but his favorite was the 2014 Arctic Winter Games where he took a bronze and gold medal for alpine skiing located in his fathers hometown Fairbanks. If he’s not on the mountain tearing it up you can catch Alec at Moose’s Tooth slinging pizzas and serving up smiles. Alec has made life long friends through Alyeska Ski Club. You can hear him say regularly “Never a bad day of skiing!’ or “I owe some of the happiest moments of my life to skiing.” He’s elated to be coaching and bring the joy he’s found in this amazing sport to the next generation of “rippers.”
Colin is excited to be returning to coach for the Alyeska Freeride Team this season. Born and raised in Anchorage he spent as much time as possible on the slopes of Alyeska. For the last dozen winters, Colin has coached Freestyle/Freeride skiing at both Alyeska and Squaw Valley. Colin has a passion for sharing his knowledge and love of skiing with the next generation, and can’t wait to meet this year’s team.
Katie learned to ski in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado that shaped her diverse background as a free skier. Tree skiing, moguls and pursuit of powder entertained her early years, while racing gates with the University of Colorado club program ignited her competitive spirit. She competed at the national level in moguls after completing a degree in Geography at the University of Colorado. While living in Lake Tahoe for eight years, she learned about backcountry skiing and became a ski guide for All Mountain Ski Pros and Shasta Mountain Guides. Her first trip to Alaska in 1997 was to compete in WESC during the time that Shane McConkey and Wendy Fisher were laying down the foundation for the International Free Skiing Association. Her writing and photography combined with being a pilot has fueled her passion of spreading the message of climate change with the use of aerial photography. As a mother of two, Katie loves sharing her passion for the mountains and flying with others and is super excited to join the Alyeska Freeride Program.
U18 Head Coach
Having grown up in Girdwood, Sage began skiing at a young age and spent most, if not all of his free time skiing at Alyeska. Making his way through the Alyeska Ski Club, Sage raced in Mighty Mites then joined the Devos program until becoming one of the original members of the ASC Freeride program for the first two years and competing in slopestyle competitions. After high school, Sage went on to play college baseball at a junior college in Oregon, until realizing he missed the snow too much and returned to Anchorage to finish his degree at UAA. These days, you’ll find Sage working at a public relations firm in Anchorage, skiing as much as he can and exploring Alaska with his camera at his side. Sage is thrilled to see how far the Freeride team has come since being on the team, and is stoked to be able to pass along his love of skiing to the younger generations.
Cameron was born in Anchorage and raised in Seward. He grew up backcountry skiing the many peaks surrounding Seward and around the Kenai Peninsula. Cameron eventually attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks, but spent most of his time backcountry skiing, heli-skiing and climbing the Alaska, Wrangell-St. Elias, and Chugach Ranges, including summiting Denali in 1998. Cameron moved to Europe in 1998 to ski and climb… with a little studying and working added in. He primarily skied the remote regions of Scandinavia, Balkan Mountains, and the French/Italian Alps, eventually returning to his hometown in Southcentral Alaska in 2002. After enjoying his first season coaching the performance and energy driven U12s, he is excited to help coach the next snow shredding team.
Athena has been an enthusiastic skier since age 4. She grew up in Havertown, Pennsylvania and learned to ski on solid ice. Athena was always a part of numerous ski/snowboard programs while in high school, but when she graduated, she ultimately made the choice to play Division 1 soccer at the University of Northern Colorado. At UNC, she got her bachelor’s of science in nursing (BSN). Currently, Athena is an RN in Anchorage who specializes in pediatric psychiatry. She believes that skiing plays a huge role in improving a child’s mental health. Last year, Athena coached the U12 freeride team at Alpental resort in Washington. Athena has her AIARE 1 & 2 certifications, and aspires to be a heli-ski guide one day.