AVSC tabs new alpine director

Aspen Times staff report
Aspen, CO Colorado
Greg Needell

ASPEN – Greg Needell spent 2002 to 2009 working as a U.S. Ski Team coach, helping the squad amass 43 wins, 105 podium finishes and 264 top 10s on the World Cup circuit.

Now, the Vermont native will attempt to mold a new crop of talented young skiers here in the Roaring Fork Valley. The Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club on Friday announced the hiring of Needell as the club’s new alpine program director.

“We had an exceptionally strong applicant pool for the alpine program director position,” said AVSC Executive Director Mark Cole. “Since we were named alpine club of the year, both local and national candidates expressed great interest in working at AVSC and building on our strength. Greg emerged as the ideal candidate from a very talented field.”

Needell grew up racing at Stratton Mountain in Vermont and went on to compete at the Division I level for St. Lawrence University in New York. He was a team co-captain in 1986.

After graduating, he returned home to serve as head women’s and J2 men’s coach for the Stratton Mountain School.

He later moved on to Washington to coach for the Mission Ridge Ski Club in Wenatchee. In 1997, he became head coach of the Mammoth Mountain (Calif.) Ski Team.

The U.S. Ski Team came calling in 2002, and he signed on as a World Cup slalom and giant slalom coach.

Most recently, Needell created Alpine Racing Consulting, a training company that runs clinics for winter sports clubs across the country.

He joins a club that experienced unequivocal success by any measure in 2010-2011. Katie Ryan recently was appointed to the U.S. Ski Team’s Development squad, Aspen High clinched the girls state skiing title and the club’s J3 skiers captured the top seven spots in the final standings at the Rocky/Central Division Junior Olympics on their home snow, among other feats. The United States Ski and Snowboard Association in April named AVSC it 2011 Club of the Year – a first for an organization that will celebrate its 75th anniversary next winter. It was also honored as USSA’s alpine club and adaptive club of the year.

Needell replaces Jeff Kai, who parted ways with AVSC after the ski season. At the time, club officials declined to specify the reasons for Kai’s departure.