Adele Savaria, head coach of the Alpine North Series team, has seen the organization from all sides – she’s been a coach, mother of athletes, and an athlete herself. Here, Adele discusses what she and her family have taken away from SVSEF.
Yours is kind of an ultimate SVSEF family – you are all alumni, and you have all coached for the program. How would you describe the role SVSEF has played in your lives as a family?
All four of us are alumni and are coaching or have coached. I moved here when I was 16 to be on the ski team. We are all passionate about the sport and enjoy being out in the mountains. SVSEF has given us a way to stay connected as a family and do something we all love to do. I know, speaking for myself, I really enjoy sharing what I know and learned about alpine skiing and racing over the past 45 years with all of the kids. I love seeing them have “the light bulb go on” when they finally are able to do what we are trying to teach them. That is the best feeling as a coach.
What is your most memorable experience with SVSEF as a parent?
There are so many memorable experiences but one that sticks out as a parent is probably when both KJ and Austin had the opportunity to go race in Europe during their senior years for two weeks and have their dad be able to go with them as one of their coaches. Those traveling experiences are never forgotten.
As a coach?
I can’t say I have one memorable experience as a coach. It is always nice to hear from the kids that we have coached over the years how much of an impact we have made on their lives and who they become as adults.
Has being a mother of SVSEF athletes affected your approach to coaching? If yes, how so?
I don’t think being a mother has affected my approach to coaching since I started coaching before I had children. My beliefs and the way I coach have been the same since I started 25 years ago. I do believe having children does help many other coaches sometimes understand why children act they way they do at different stages in their lives.
I know when I was KJ and Austin’s coach when they were on the C-Home team, I did not coach them much at all. I mostly sent them with the other coaches because it’s hard for a child to be coached by their mother. It benefited both them and me. Later on in their careers, they would, on occasion, ask me what I thought about their runs.
What would you say KJ and Austin took away from the program? Do you find the answer is the same for what you hope the kids you coach take away from it?
I think ski team is so much more than just the racing and results. I can proudly say KJ and Austin learned how to take care of themselves on the road traveling to races. The learned things like cooking, getting to places on time, rooming and getting along with other teammates, budgeting their money, taking care of their equipment, having respect for coaches and other adults, learning how to balance ski team and school, etc. They also learned how to move on from race days that didn’t go so well and know there is always another day that will be better. I am always telling the parents and kids I coach that they will learn all of these skills and that the ski racing is a “bonus” to all of it.
Why do you think it is important for athletes to stay involved/connected to the organization as an alum when they graduate?
The ski team alums almost always come back and tell us their days with ski team were some of the best days of their lives, and ski team had much to do with how they became who they are. It is nice to see so many of them staying connected and coming back to give back to SVSEF.