Meet Brian Knowles: Mount Snow's New Head Freestyle Skiing Coach
Tuesday, September 18, 2018
We sat down with Mount Snow's new Head Freestyle Skiing Coach to learn more about this longtime local and his vision for the program.
MS: Who is Brian Knowles?
BK: Vermont born and raised, minus a quick stint in Newtown, CT back in the 80's. Been a skier since I can remember, love my wife and two kids. Love the sport of skiing more than most and have been a steward of freeskiing since before they made twin tips. I cut my teeth competitively as a mogul skier back in the 90's so, you could say I've been in the game for as long as anyone. In the "real world," I work as a remodeling consultant for a firm in the area, where I love helping my clients maintain and improve their homes.
MS: What's your first memory of Mount Snow?
BK: My mom and dad telling the story of how they met romantically yelling "single!" in the line for the Mount Snow ski-on gondola. Years later they had some old 8mm transferred on to VHS. It was some real core Mount Snow footy from back in the 70's that I used to watch. I always thought it was a pretty legit ode to the spirit of Mount Snow's soul. I guess I have been a fan of Mount Snow ever since.
MS: Who taught you how to ski?
BK: My dad basically got me to the top of the beginner slope and sent me. From that point, there was a long list of race and freestyle coaches that contributed to my current knowledge of the craft. Although my dad was always a disciple of the Stein Erickson style, I like to think that I tried to modernize his feel for the hill.
MS: Tell us about your new position, what most excites you about it?
BK: It's the people. It's been 10 years since I last worked at Mount Snow, and I've missed the energy that Mount Snow puts toward the freestyle side of the sport. The Carinthia Diggers and the entire culture that has grown up here over the years has me stoked to be coming back. I know the freestyle crew really well and I must say, it will be super awesome to get back to work with the old guard (Laff, P Miles, Vescovi and the rest of the legends) plus who wouldn't be pumped to work for a guy like Erik Barnes and his team!
MS: For those out there who might not know, what does the Mount Snow Freeski Program do here at the mountain?
BK: Freeskiing consists of park and pipe, rails, and all-mountain skiing. Freeskiers roots were born in the sport of freestyle, specifically in jumping, mogul skiing and, yes, even Acro, or, Ski Ballet. The sport has now morphed into a hybrid of all of these disciplines. Basically, anything inspiring you see happening on skis in Carinthia is what we are building towards. You can find us on the hill training for the next rail jam, slopestyle, halfpipe, or mogul event. If you do see us, come say hi.
MS: Any changes you’re planning on rolling out to the program?
BK: I am really interested in having a look at how things are currently running. The program has always been successful and I want to build on what we currently have. I will be integrating some coaching staff to help out with the freeskiing side of things. I know for c ertain that that side of the program will be a focus moving forward.
MS: Who are a few up-and-comers in the program that we should look out for in the next few years?
BK: I can't say that I know the crew by name yet, but I have to note that I did have the pleasure of running with them last season for a few. It's certainly safe to say that the team is still the breeding ground it always has been and appears to be stacked with talent for our coaching staff to work with.
MS: If you had to pick either rails or jumps to ski for the rest of your life, which would it be, and why?
BK: Jumps, please, give me jumps. No flat landers though man, these knees are running out of cushion. Yeah, I just like flying through the air, my connections with steel, wood, and plexi are not quite as deeply rooted as my connection to the air.
MS: What are your predictions for the upcoming winter?
Carinthia Diggers # 1 in the land, tons of snow and numbers of pow days. Lots of successful Mount Snow freestyle and freeski athletes.
MS: What do you do when you can’t ski?
BK: Spend time with my 6 and 8-year-old. Play golf. Enjoy fine food. Think about skiing.
MS: Where can people find you if they want to learn more about the program?
BK: Just drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Brian (wearing green) with SMS head coach Jesse Mallis at the 2018 USASA Nationals