AVSC’s Johno McBride talks about return to U.S. Ski Team as coach
After spending the past three years coaching the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club kids, John “Johno” McBride isn’t worried about transitioning back to the World Cup-caliber skiers.
“I’ve worked with high-level athletes enough to hopefully know how to communicate with them effectively,” McBride said. “The bigger transition is after being here for three years and not travelling a lot, getting back on tour. It’s a moving bus all the time.”
McBride, whose roots are in the Roaring Fork Valley, recently announced his decision to step away from his role as the alpine director at AVSC to rejoin the U.S. Ski Team as its head men’s speed coach ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. He will replace his sedentary life in Aspen with the chaos of the World Cup circuit, although it’s far from unfamiliar ground for the 52-year-old.
Best known for being Bode Miller’s coach when he won his two overall World Cup titles (2005, 2008), McBride was a coach in some capacity for the U.S. from 1995 until 2009 before serving a four-year stint as a coach for the Canadian ski team. He’s also coached in four previous Olympics, including the 2014 games in Sochi, Russia.
He returned to AVSC, where he once was an athlete, in 2014.
“One of the neatest things for me was talking to some of the athletes and hearing they were encouraging me to come back, so that felt good,” McBride said of rejoining the U.S. team. “If we can find a little bit more consistency in their performance and help them believe in themselves a little bit more, I think there is a lot of promise there.”
McBride said he left both the U.S. and Canadian ski teams “on a great note,” the main reason for him stepping away being his family. And three years later, it was his family that played a big part in his return to the big stage. With his wife and kids already set to live abroad in Spain, being part of the team on the World Cup circuit, which competes predominantly in Europe, simply made a lot of logistical sense.
“It seemed like I might actually be able to see my kids and family more than if I was trying to bounce back and forth across the ocean,” McBride said. “If it turns out to be something that works well for the athletes and the team to have me around, I would surely consider doing it another year.”
While McBride only is committed to this next season and would entertain the notion of staying longer, he also made it clear his heart always will be in Aspen.
“At some point I would like to come back to this club,” McBride said. “I don’t expect them to save me a place here. I want the club to keep rolling forward in a positive manner, with or without me. But I would love to come back. I love this club and this community.”
McBride already is with some of the team training in Norway, but plans to be back in Aspen in the coming weeks to “tidy up.”
The U.S. has conditioning programs set up throughout much of the summer before heading to Chile for its main preseason camp in early August.
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Peter Arnold’s playing career ended after high school, but his time on the ice continues a few decades later. A longtime USA Hockey official and new Aspen resident, Arnold is searching for the next generation of hockey referees among the youth ranks here in the Roaring Fork Valley.