Coaches Around the Country: Sverre Caldwell

FasterSkierMarch 6, 2007

** Editors note: This will be a weekly column highlighting our ski coaches from around the country… including elite coaches, college coaches, high school coaches, volunteer coaches, and learn-to-ski coaches. This is an effort to sample a diverse group of coaches and recognize the people who are the backbone of today’s skiers. If you would like to nominate a coach for an interview, please email Please give coach’s name, email, phone, and a small paragraph describing the nominee. The more diverse, the better.

Sverre, is Head Nordic Ski Coach at Stratton Mountain School (SMS) in Putney, Vermont. Age? That’s a mystery… but rumor has it that he’s young enough to read kids’ minds, yet old enough to tell them what to do.

Skiing background?
I was brought up skiing. We didn't race much until high school but we skied (goofed around) a lot. In high school we (family) were all 4 event skiers. We would practice alpine skiing and jumping one day, and then “specialize” in x-c (this meant 2-3 practices plus race days/week). I went to Dartmouth but didn't ski well there… sick one winter, bad back the next (I know, excuses….). So I started helping with coaching and loved it! The rest is history.

Wife, kids, family?
Married to Lilly; we have 3 kids…Sophie (16) and Austin and Isabel (14 year old twins). It's great, they are all at Stratton now so my travels include family.

You are part of the long, legendary lineage of the Caldwell family of Putney. For some of the younger readers, can you fill us in on Caldwell history? And how did your upbringing influence your decision to ski coach?
My up-bringing definitely influenced my decision to become a ski coach. My father was the USST coach while I was in grade school and there was a great “ski culture” in Putney. There were always good skiers around who were having fun skiing. My high school teammates included my brother Tim (4 time Olympian who first made the Olympic team as a 12th grader) and Bill Koch (hopefully people have heard of him). Skiing was cool and the skiers were heroes. Typical dinner time chat was about monster workouts or trips around the world to competitions. It was exciting and fun.

How long have you been at SMS?
I notice you didn't ask me how old I am.  Soooo…..this is a trick question. But, I have been at Stratton since the fall of 1980!

You've helped develop and coach countless and successful junior/senior skiers
over the years? What's in the drinking water? (Andy Newell being your latest)

Heh heh, I wish it was the water! I've been lucky enough to work with some very talented and very dedicated athletes. My approach and goals haven't changed too much. My dream is to have one of my ex-skiers win an Olympic or World Championship medal. That would be killer. To do this; I try to help my athletes learn correct technique, enjoy the sport, and build the foundation that they will need for future success. Once in awhile we get a group that molds really well and takes off. I wish I knew the secret formula for getting the perfect group because that is usually the most important thing!

In your opinion, how does the US ski community encourage more
racers/ex-racers/physiologist majors to pursue ski coaching?

Success breeds success. A little bit of money wouldn’t hurt!

If you could go off on a tirade and rant about anything, what would
it be? (Here's your chance to stir things up and create some dialog!)

Hey! I'm the calm Caldwell. You want a tirade? Ask my old man! But…you want my latest pet peave? I hear the word can't way too much. You want something? …go get it! Too many people start lining up their excuses without giving a full effort. In skiing, all you have to do is figure out how to go faster than the other skiers. Can't is a worthless word. The U.S. Ski Team has a new catch phrase: “all in,” meaning that they will give their all and best. That's good… now lets have the rest of us say CAN DO!

“Stork” Explain? (the person who nominated you requested I ask that one)
Think long legs. I used to be skinny and tall…knobby knees etc…

Who makes better syrup Vermont or NH?
Suffice it to say that I have never heard anyone brag about NH syrup (usually they say “real” maple syrup. I guess that is true if there are not any additives. Vermont syrup is clearly the best! End of that discussion.

Thanks Sverre!


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