Chip Knight, a three-time Olympic ski racer whose roots are in Stowe, is about to start shaping the next generation of world-class skiers.
After coaching for the past seven years — he was just named 2015 Alpine Coach of the Year by the Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association — Knight will be the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association’s development director, a new position within the organization.
His job is to find and develop up-and-coming stars of U.S. skiing.
“I am looking forward to the challenge of strengthening and deepening our national development pipeline,” said Knight. “We currently have great champions at the top level, but a lot of room to improve behind them as we seek to close the gap and prepare the next generation for World Cup success.”
Knight grew up skiing at Stowe Mountain Resort. His mother still lives in Stowe. His wife, Marina, once a ski racer at Williams College, is a former member of the Stowe Reporter news staff. The Knights have two sons.
For the past five years, Knight has been the head women’s alpine coach at Dartmouth College, and the college’s director of skiing since 2012.
For his new job, he’s moving to Park City, Utah, home of USSA headquarters — known as the Center of Excellence. He will be responsible for managing the alpine development team, national training groups, regional programs and youth development programs such as SkillsQuest.
It’s not just the skiers he’ll be working with, but other coaches, too. He’ll also help shape the competition calendar.
Knight spent 13 years on the U.S. Ski Team and competed in three consecutive Winter Olympic Games. He got his start at age 23 in in Nagano, Japan, in 1998; in the 2002 Salt Lake City games, he finished 11th in the slalom; in the 2006 Torino, Italy, games, he finished 18th. He also competed in four World Championships.
Knight retired from racing after Torino, but stayed on the slopes, passing along the things he’d learned to the athletes he coached.
As he made that transition, he told the Stowe Reporter in 2007, “I found the best coaches to be the ones who could adjust to each different personality on the team. There’s a big difference between being an athlete and being a coach; I’ll have to find that balance and hopefully be able to use my own experiences to the benefit of the athletes.”
Knight has also been an athlete representative on U.S. Ski and Snowboarding’s Alpine Sport Committee and Eastern Alpine Sport Committee, and on the U.S. Olympic Committee Athlete Advisory Council. The USSA announcement this week touted Knight’s “wealth of knowledge about development in the sport.”
“We are very lucky to have Chip joining our staff to help lead and guide the development of the sport of alpine ski racing in our country,” said Patrick Riml, the association’s alpine director. “Chip has been part of our organization as and athlete and a sport committee member. His experience makes him a great asset to the team.”