Summer of 2018: Coaching and Industry Moves (Updated)

FasterSkierAugust 13, 2018
Martin Benes, who has coached at Sugar Bowl Academy for the last seven years, was recently hired as head coach of U.S. Paralympics Nordic. (Photo: U.S. Paralympics)

(Note: This article has been updated to include the hiring of Miles Havlick as the University of Utah’s head nordic coach, which was announced Monday afternoon.) 

There have been several notable career changes in North American nordic skiing this summer. Here’s a quick look at who moved where:

Robert Lazzaroni, the nordic director at U.S. Ski & Snowboard, will soon begin his new role as Salomon’s nordic regional commercial manager for the Americas. (Photo: Salomon)
  • Robert Lazzaroni: from U.S. Ski & Snowboard to Salomon. Last week, Salomon announced via a press release that Lazzaroni, of Park City, Utah, will join its staff as nordic regional commercial manager for the Americas, starting Aug. 27. For the last three years, Lazzaroni served as nordic director at U.S. Ski & Snowboard in Park City. Before that, he was program manager at Utah Olympic Park, and before that, a nordic division manager for Rossignol and later One Way Sport. Asked about his new job at Salomon, Lazzaroni told FasterSkier he’d be willing to talk more in depth after he starts. Until then, he’s still employed at U.S. Ski & Snowboard.
    • According to U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s Chief of Sport Luke Bodensteiner, many of Lazzaroni’s duties as nordic manager “have been or will be distributed across existing staff, and we’re taking the opportunity to re-align our staffing positions to make sure that we have an efficient structure that supports our priorities of athlete development, coach education, and strong domestic competition,” he wrote in an email to FasterSkier.  “This will likely require hiring an additional position, but the nature of that job is TBD based upon where we determine that we need the human resource to support those priorities.” Bodensteiner expected to know more about the shift in staff responsibilities later this month.


  • Martin Benes: from Sugar Bowl Academy to U.S. Paralympics Nordic. Also last week, the U.S. Olympic Committee announced the hiring of Martin Benes as its new head coach of U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing. He replaces Eileen Carey, who was promoted to program director following the departure of John Farra (to USA Triathlon) this spring. Benes began coaching as an assistant ski coach at Bates College, then spent the last seven years as head nordic coach and director at the Sugar Bowl Academy near Truckee, California, according to his LinkedIn profile. As head coach of the U.S. Paralympics program, he will “lead the development of annual and seasonal training plans for the national team, track athlete performances, workout data, sport science data and annual progress reports, contribute to the U.S. Paralympics athlete identification and development strategy, and assist in planning travel and logistics for the Nordic skiing program to competitions, camps and events,” according to the press release.
    • “It’s an incredibly exciting time to join the program following such a successful performance in front of the world at the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018,” Benes stated in the press release. “I’m eager to get started in my role so we can continue to strengthen the program and win medals on the international stage.” He’s set to begin on Aug. 20.


  • Fredrik Landstedt: from the University of New Mexico to the University of Utah. Late last month, the University of Utah announced it had found a new director of skiing to replace Kevin Sweeney. Landstedt had been a staple on the University of New Mexico (UNM) Ski Team for the last 21 years, spending the last 11 years as head coach of both the nordic and alpine programs (and 10 years before that as head nordic coach). His decision to take the job at Utah came less than 24 hours after the UNM Board of regents unanimously approved a proposal to eliminate four sports starting in the 2019/2020 season, according to the Albuquerque Journal. Those sports are men’s and women’s skiing, men’s soccer, and women’s beach volleyball. The proposal would also significantly impact funding for cross country and men’s track and eliminate the women’s diving program. In the meantime, UNM announced assistant coach Joe Downing will assume the role of interim head skiing coach.
    • “I am honored to have the opportunity to lead a program with such a rich history,” Landstedt stated in the Utah press release. “Utah has a strong winning tradition and the support that the University provides its ski team is incredible. I look forward to bringing NCAA titles back to Utah!”
Miles Havlick in November 2015 in West Yellowstone, Montana.
  • Also at the University of Utah, Miles Havlick: new head nordic coach. In a press release on Monday, the university announced that Havlick, one of its former skiers and a two-time NCAA champion (2012 and 2013), was hired to head up its nordic team for the coming season. Havlick, 28, skied for the the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation Gold Team after college and won the 42-kilometer Australian Hoppet Worldloppet last August. He delved into coaching last summer in Australia with the Birkebeiner Nordic Ski Club and Victorian Junior cross-country ski team, and last winter, was an assistant coach and wax technician for the Australian junior national team at Junior World Championships. Havlick also waxed for the Australian national team last March in China. He has also assisted the Utes ski team, most recently as an assistant coach at 2018 NCAA Championships.
  • Eliška Hájek Albrigtsen: from Central Cross Country to the University of Alaska Fairbanks. After spending the last year filling multiple roles with Central Cross Country (CXC) out of Madison, Wisconsin (including CXC Team head coach and junior development coach), Albrigtsen has accepted an assistant-coaching position with the University of Alaska Fairbanks Ski Team, replacing Josh Eide. Albrigtsen was a four-time All-American skier for the University of Colorado Boulder and an NCAA champion in 2011.


  • Cross Country Canada seeks senior national team coach: Two days ago, the CCC headquarters in Canmore, Alberta, put out an announcement for applications for a full-time senior national team coach. The position indicated it requires both domestic and international travel. “Reporting to the HPD [high-performance director], the Senior National Team Head Coach (NST Head Coach) is responsible for leading the technical delivery and alignment of Senior National Ski Team (Senior NST) programs in order to achieve podium performances at Olympic Games and FIS World Championships,” the job description stated. “The NST Head Coach will have the responsibility to plan, coordinate and monitor the training and competition of NST athletes in line with CCC’s collective goals.” CCC’s senior team includes 10 athletes, five of which are on the World Cup Team. The other five are on the U25 (under-25) Team. View the job posting here.


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