Age 26 from Lander, WY
Nordic Program Director, Bernie Nelson sat down with Coach Luke to see what brought him in to coaching and what he enjoys about working with the athletes. These are his answers:
I started skiing in 7th grade on the junior high team, because my friend told me it was just as fun as downhill skiing and we could still hit jumps.
I raced for my high school team during highschool, and went to junior nationals as part of High Plains division. In College I raced 4 years for Montana State University with Bernie!
Two years after I had graduated college, I was living and working in Lander, and the highschool team was low on coaches, so I volunteered 2 days a week and race weekends. I thought my college racing background could bring a different perspective to the team and help get kid fired up. My job was developing and coaching a youth program in Lander, kind of like a hybrid of our minis and youth. I had been traveling the previous 2 winters before moving to Bend, and not coaching, but had talked to Bernie and Bend sounded like a cool place so I decided to move out here. When I showed up Bernie offered me the job and I loved it!
When I coach, I try to be a motivator. I dont want to be constantly barking out and telling them what to do. I aim to be present and giving tips and examples when needed, but I want the motivation and improvement to come from within each skier, because i think it is more powerful when they are seeing improvement and doing it for themselves, not because a coach told them to do it.
I love agility games, because learning to stay on your feet and developing the balance and reflexes that these games require helps in racing later on, as well a just other aspects of being active in life.
When you are competing, you strive to be well rested, eat healthy, and often focus on yourself. Coaching, especially race weekends are basically the exact opposite of that. You are focusing on anyone except yourself, sleeping very little, and surviving on coffee! It is the same because we are a team and striving to do the best possible personally and for the team. Skiing and coaching have definitelly been positive. I have met so many good people, had so many good experiences, and it has made me who I am today. I wouldn’t trade it for anything!
I fight fire for the Forest Service. For the past 3 years I have been a sawyer on the Boise Hotshot Crew. We are a crew of twenty people that go all over the country fighting wildfires.
I will ski in one form or another as long as I can walk, and as long as I can keep passing on the knowledge and skills I got from the great coaches I was lucky enough to ski with when I was younger, I will try to keep doing the same, so they can hopefully benefit from skiing as much as I did.