At the core of our program is a professional and experienced coaching staff. All of our coaches are USSA-certified Alpine Coaches and many are also USSA Alpine Officials. As you can also see below, many of our coaches are former Attitash Race Team athletes returning to the program that they loved as a youth, maintaining a team culture that spans decades.
MATT DAWSON, HEAD COACH
Matt has coached with AAEF for more than a decade, but back when the skis were long and narrow and the neon bright, Matt raced for the Attitash Race Team as a J5, J4, and J3. He then went on to race with the Mount Washington Valley Ski Team as a J2 and with his high school team. At St. Lawrence University, Matt temporarily put ski competion aside to be a member of the cross country and track team.
After college, Matt began his coaching career with two seasons at Black Mountain, followed by a one year stint at Bretton Woods. Matt has been with AAEF for more than a decade and has coached all of the age groups at one time or another during his tenure.
In the off-season, when he's not planning his next ski moves, Matt enjoys hiking in the White Mountains, training for road races - from 5k's to marathons, playing ultimate Frisbee in the metro Boston area, or watching the Red Sox..."where 'watching' includes freaking out when they lose, debating starting rotations, lineups, and roster moves for hours upon hours with friends, and going to Fenway to catch a few games".
Nancy has been coaching with the Attitash Race Team for over a decade. An accomplished racer herself, during her collegiate years Nancy was a member of the UMass Ski Team for four years. She was a team captain during her senior year.
Nancy now lives in southern NH where she works as a physical therapist. She's also the mother of two "all-grown-up" AAEF grads, Ryan and Nicole.
AMBER (ELLIOT) LEVINE
Amber first snapped into a pair of bindings when she was two years old and soon starting racing when "just skiing around the mountain got boring". At six years old, she joined the Gunstock Ski Team and raced as a J5, J4, and J3 - eventually racing four years at Plymouth State College. She has also been a ski instructor and even spent two seasons in Germany teaching military personnel how to ski.
In her sixth season with the Attitash Race Team, Amber has also coached several high school teams. She is also a dedicated Special Olympics volunteer, working with their alpine events for more than 15 years.
One of Amber's favorite races is the Team's costume race with everyone dressed up in some of the craziest outfits and just racing to have fun.
When she's not on skis, Amber still loves the mountains -- hiking and camping anywhere in the White Mountains. "I love to spend my summers relaxing at the lake with my son and husband." Amber's favorite quote: "The mountains are calling and I must go." - John Muir
Bodie is a Bartlett resident with family roots to Attitash's founding. Following his own successful racing career, he coached for AAEF, Bretton Woods, and several colleges such as Dartmouth, Plymouth State, Sierra Nevada, and Westminster in UT. He's worked with youth racers at all levels of development, including those at a very high level such as NORAM's, Europa Cup, and even some that have skied World Cup.
Bodie took a leave from coaching over the past few years, but you've probably seen him on the hill. Not only does he know our program and Attitash well, Bodie brings great first-hand knowledge of racing's institutions and athlete progression.
TARYN (PALMER) RODEN
Taryn is an MWV native with a deep family tradition of alpine racing. She skied at both the NORAM and collegiate level. Upon graduating from Carrabasset Valley Academy, she was offered full scholarships to both UNH and UVM, where her choice of UNH was due to the loyalty towards her home state. Taryn's racing resume includes J1 Junior Olympic Combined Champion, twice competed at the Canadian National Championships, five times at the US National Championships, and ranked nationally in the top 10 in DH.
Taryn's father Tyler Palmer, brought great recognition to the MWV as he competed in the 1972 Winter Olympics and was the first American male to have back-to-back World Cups victories on European soil.
Taryn's passion for racing and dedication to the atheletes she coaches is obvious to anyone who meets her. She and her husband have been raising a family in the Portland, ME area. Taryn knows the game and has a lot to share.
Following an illustrious youth career skiing with the Attitash Race Team, Chris went on to become the 1995 US Junior National Champion in GS and a member of the US Ski Team from 1995 to 1997. She raced for the University of Denver from 1997 to 2002 and was a member of the 2001-2002 NCAA Div. 1 National Championship Team. She is a 2012 inductee to the University of Denver Hall of Fame. She has coached at Carabasset Valley Academy and locally at Fryeburg Academy.
Chris lives in Intervale, NH where she's raising her daughter and son on the same mountains and valleys of her own youth.
Merv's a native New Zealander born and raised on the Pacific coast of the North Island. Growing up on a farm with the ocean at the end of his front yard, water sports, namely surfing, was the choice. It wasn't until his mid-teens that Merv tried his hands at skiing. After an accident prevented him from paddling a surf board, he took up skiing as his primary activity. After one season of going downhill on snow, a job opportunity opened up at a ski lodge for a resident instructor and since then, Merv has led a mountain life teaching skiing in his native country of New Zealand, Australia, and the US.
Merv's passion for the sport and for teaching others has turned into over four decades of involvement in the ski industry. Close to two decades of which have been spent at Attitash as an instructor and coach. Merv's face has been a familiar sight on the slopes of Attitash and the other ski areas in the MWV with his many years in coaching for Attitash Mountain's RAD program.
Merv has had numerous back-to-back seasons between the US and New Zealand and holds NZPSIA and PSIA certifications.
CHARNA (MAZUR) CUMMINGS
At 6-years-old, the imprint from Charna’s first trophy, held onto so tightly all the way home from the Carol Reed Classic race, would forever leave a mark of passion for the world of ski racing and skiing. Charna gained her fundamental ski racing skills as a J5, J4 and J3 on the Attitash Race Team in the 1980's, before moving to the Holderness School where she won the overall J3 female title and west to the Junior Olympics as the top ranked girl from NH. After graduating from Burke Mountain Academy (high school), she attended Boston University’s College of Communications.
The 1st year Charna attended Boston University she participated in the University’s ski team competing in the Eastern Collegiate Ski Conference (ECSC) of the United States Collegiate Ski & Snowboard Association (USCSA). She would go on to win the Thompson Division of the ECSC including scoring higher than all the men. Deciding to end her own racing career on a high note, Charna hung up her GS suit and returned to the Attitash Race Team as a J5 coach...where she had the opportunity to teach her former coaches' children. Her last season coaching at AAEF, Charna left to finish her undergraduate degree in France attending the University of Grenoble enjoying many glorious, powder filled, off-piste ski days and occasionally racing with the Grenoble University Ski Team.
Currently Charna is part of the K2 Alliance Team that is comprised of 17 women from across the country who engage an altruistic vision for female skiers and help support camaraderie, events and happenings in the female ski community.
When Charna is not on the snow, she's chasing after her two little boys, running/swimming or enjoying the sunshine at the beach. She also volunteers at the YWCA Greater Newburyport and serves as the VP for Board of Directors and Chair for the organization's sole fundraising event and luncheon.
HEATHER (FRANCIS) SHERIDAN
Heather has been skiing and racing since her youth as a member of the Attitash Race Team during it's formative years in the early 1980's. Then known as Heather Francis, she was one of the top racers in the area before heading off to college. With her father being one of the early founders of Attitash's racing programs in the 1970's, she became part of the scene at a very young age as she watched her older siblings tear through the course. Heather raised her own family on the slopes and now proudly watches her own college-aged children rip up the hill. This season marks Heather's return to AAEF.
Ralph hails from Beverly, MA and attends St. John's Prep. After graduating from Attitash's RAD program, Ralph spent seven years as an AAEF team member. Entering his second year of coaching, he will primarily be working with the U10 groups.
Ralph also enjoys swimming and flying and is working on his pilot's licence. In his free time, he has been trying to perfect wheelies on a unicycle.
Bio information coming soon!
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