Skiing is my passion, and I especially love big mountain/freeride and coaching. I withdrew from Saint Michael’s College in Vermont when I was 20 to pursue big mountain competitions and teaching/coaching. I taught ski school at Jay Peak for 3 years; moved west and coached the Squaw Big Mountain Team for 4 years; competed on the Ski The East Freeride Tour, finishing 3rd overall in 2010; competed on the Freeskiing World Tour; and obtained and managed a series of personal sponsors.
As I immersed myself in the industry, I began to recognize its shortcomings. The big mountain/freeride discipline has grown rapidly. The junior division is large and well organized, supporting athletes who are extremely dedicated, hard working, and skilled. When those athletes graduate from high school there are no varsity collegiate teams or scholarships, and they are faced with attempting to balance chaotic tour schedules with school or forgoing college all-together. I began to evolve a vision for improving and progressing the sport I love. It was time to return to school, and SNC was the perfect school.
“Making a real positive impact on the field that I love will demand creativity, ingenuity, and an entrepreneurial approach, and SNC’s innovative entrepreneurship program fit my unconventional goals.”
The school is located in the mountains that I had chosen to call home, and where there are extensive opportunities for real-world practical applications. Since coming to SNC I have continued to coach, begun teaching coaching clinics for Woodward, co-founded the SNC Freeride Club (Club of the Year for 2015/16), and am interning for the Tahoe Junior Freeride Series to gain valuable experience on both the athletic and organizational sides of the industry.
As part of the SNC Business Plan Competition Series, I am co-developing an app to improve the resort ski and snowboard school experience. Clients will be able to find the best qualified and relevant instructors through a searchable database, which in turn incentivizes instructors to gain certifications and experience clients will see in the app listing. In short, instructors provide a better lesson, clients are happier with what they get, and both instructors and resorts make more money through increased lesson bookings.
My goal is for the SNC Freeride Club to become the first varsity collegiate team, starting the trend that will ultimately provide the same opportunities that other dedicated athletes enjoy, and eventually to move into an organizational role for competitions to better allow student athletes to balance education and athletics. I am molding the foundation of my future career(s), to spread and improve the sport that I love.
Dave on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/davewadleigh