InterviewsNewsTravis Jones Joins SVSEF as Head Coach of the SVSEF Olympic Devo Team

FasterSkier FasterSkierJune 6, 2008

Travis Jones, former Head Coach with the Bogus Basin Nordic Team has accepted an offer to become the Head Coach for the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation’s Cross Country Olympic Development Team. Rick Kapala, SVSEF Cross Country program Director, commented “We are very excited to add Travis to our staff. He will bring a very high level of experience and enthusiasm to the SVSEF ski team and we are lucky to be able to attract a coach of his caliber to our program.” Mr. Jones led the Bogus Basin Program from 2000 through 2004. Most recently, he has coached with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.

His new responsibilities will include overseeing the day to day training of the SVSEF national level cross country skiers including Mike Sinnott, Morgan Arritola, and Alexa Turzian, among others. The SVSEF XC Olympic Development Team is currently stocked with several of the best Nordic skiers in the US. Travis will be joined in Sun Valley by his wife Ivana Radlova (herself a Czech XC Olympian and Former NCAA Champion) and their two sons Sebi (5) and Mats (2).

Travis will join an already strong SVSEF Cross Country team coaching staff that includes Kapala who is entering his 22nd year as Head Coach and Program Director, Abi Holt (5 years) — Assistant XC Director and former National Junior Champion, Kelley Sinnott — Prep Team Head Coach and former Team Alum and Dave Bingham — Head Devo Team Coach and all around local mountain hardman.

Despite being in the midst of his move to Sun Valley and preparing for the SVSEF ODT camp in Bend, Travis took some time to talk to FasterSkier about his new position.

FasterSkier: You will be taking over as Head Coach of one of the top programs in the country. What are you most excited about?

Travis Jones: I'm excited about all of it. I had the chance to spend 10 days with part of the ODT Crew, as well as SVSEF coach Abi Holt in Whistler this spring. We were skiing on the 2010 Olympic courses and meeting up with the USST for workouts. Every time I called home, I'd rave about what a fun group of people the ODT athletes are. Good cooks too… I'm excited to have the chance to work with a group of very talented, very committed athletes who are working hard to reach their goals. I'm also excited about working in Sun Valley – Rick (Kapala) and the rest of the crew have done a great job building a culture of success around their programs — I’m certainly excited to be a part of that.

FS: Do you feel any pressure moving into a situation where there must be high expectations — for both the athletes and the coaches?

TJ: There are certainly high expectations with a group like the ODT. We need to take a thoughtful, measured approach with these athletes and to take time to understand each skier individually and design a program that works well for them. I can't say that I really feel pressure in my ODT position, more of a sense of excitement about the possibilities. As long as we, as a staff, continue to do our best to support our athletes and to keep on learning and improving as coaches, then things will fall in to place…

FS: What are your personal goals for your first season with Sun Valley?

TJ: My goals for this first season are to get to know the ODT and Post Grad athletes, both as skiers and as people. I think that individualization of training at this level is of the utmost importance. We'd like to have a strong contingent at the Canadian World Cups and hope to qualify some athletes for World Champs in the Czech Republic and for Junior World Champs in who-knows-where. Another major focus is to prep for qualification and competition at the 2010 Olympics – we are already pretty focused on this.

FS: Sun Valley has long been one of the top Junior programs in the country — how do you see such programs, and now the Olympic Devo program, as part of the overall development structure of US skiing?

TJ: Programs like the ODT, as well as others like APU, CXC, MWSC and XC Oregon are all helping to fill what has been the biggest hole in the development process for US skiers. Top non-USST athletes now have the opportunity to continue to train and compete after college in a program that offers financial help, professional coaching and top-tier support. This was not the case even 5 years ago, and I believe that programs like these, that allow athletes further time to develop, will have a considerable impact on the USST’s international results.

FS: When do you start?

TJ: I’m off to Bend with the ODT on June 5th. Jumping right in…

FS: Thanks Travis! Good luck!

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