Montana Molyneux is the Head Ski Coach at Sun Peaks alpine ski resort, located 50 kms northeast of Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada.
Montana grew up in Inglewood, Ontario and learned to ski and race at Caledon Ski Club. She eventually moved to Collingwood and raced at the provincial level at 17.
Montana moved on to Colby-Sawyer College to pursue her education and athletic endeavors. She competed with both the alpine racing and varsity volleyball teams. Montana is now the owner of Mountain Life Strength and Conditioning.
Montana saw successes as a 6 time All-American as well as a 3rd place at the USCSA Nationals. In 2011, Montana graduated from the University of Windsor with a Bachelor of Human Kinetics (Honors) and moved to Vancouver to pursue her Masters of Kinesiology at UBC in the Coaching Sciences and Physiology program with a Alpine Ski Racing focus, which she graduated in 2012. She is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the National Strength and Conditioning Association, as well as a Registered Kinesiologist through the OKA.
Montana has coached the Sun Peaks U14 and U16 racers since 2013 ?and thoroughly enjoys working with both her students and fellow team members within her role as Head Coach.
Below, our Volunteer reporter Margot Wheeler had a quick chat with Montana about her coaching career…
How did you become a coach at Ski Coach?
I started college off at Colby-Sawyer College, a Division-3 school in New London, New Hampshire. I studied and raced competitively for two years. In my first year, as a freshman, I was a 6-time All American at the USCSA Nationals and raced competitively on the NCCA Division 1 circuit.
After two years, I transferred back to Ontario and attended the University of Windsor and enrolled and graduated from the Human Kinetics Bachelor Program with Honours (BHK).
I applied to a Masters of Kinesiology – Coaching Sciences program at UBC, where I was accepted and studied in Vancouver, BC. That is how I ended up out west. I graduated with an MKIN – Coaching Sciences, with a focus in Strength and Conditioning and Alpine Ski Racing. While I was studying I worked as an assistant coach with the Grouse Tyee Ski Club and the U14 program. Once I graduated, I continued to work at Grouse with the U14’s until I moved up to Kamloops to work for Sun Peaks Alpine Club as the head U14 coach.
Can you tell us about your role is a head coach of Sun Peaks?
I manage the Nancy Greene International Training Centre, where we work with Sun Peaks Resort booking and organizing visiting teams in pre-season, competition and post-season training. I run coaches meetings, organize the lane space and make sure the day-to-day functions run smoothly. We also manage all the safety netting on OSV and other training hills (100+ rolls of fences).
I am the Head Coach of the Sun Peaks Alpine Club which is a non-for-profit organization that plans and programs for kids, youth and para-alpine athletes from ages 5+. I work with our SPAC Board for the hiring of coaches, program planning and administration, club sponsorship and day-to-day training applications, as well as planning and running races that Sun Peaks Resort and the Alpine Club host.
Lastly, I work with the U16 program here with my co-coach Bill Rublee. We work with athletes ages 14-15 on a daily/weekly basis through November – April plus additional spring, summer and fall training on-snow and dryland programming. I have been at Sun Peaks for 3 years, and the past two years I worked with the U14 group. I also supply the majority of their dryland programs and have run multi-sport and mountain biking camps in the past few off-seasons.
Have you had many challenges being a coach?
Being a new coach can be challenging in a number of ways. With my background and education I had a great deal of knowledge in the movement of the body, program planning etc, but I had to learn how to apply this knowledge on-hill and in dryland to a number of athletes. Having the personality that I do and being a new coach, I wanted to do everything – and I wanted to do it well! It took a while, but eventually, I realized my strengths and consequently, the areas in which I could improve. When you understand these strengths and weaknesses, you can better understand how effective you can be within a program and work towards a consistent practice.
Another big challenge as a new coach is developing your ‘Coaching Philosphy’. A coach philosophy, to me, is a set of values/principles that you follow. I think it is important to have one and it can be different for every person. It can also change as you grow as a coach and leader and gain more experience in your field.
Do you use social media as part of your coach development?
The use of social media has grown since I came into coaching. It can be positive, but it can also be a hindrance at times. Our club has a Facebook page (Sun Peaks Racers) and our athletes and coaches use Instagram (#spacwolfpack) and other forms of social media quite frequently. It helps promote our club, and can create a following and allow us to recognize successes within the club, whether it is an individual athlete or a team that performed. Social media has also positively influenced athletes by opening up the sport of Alpine Skiing to many younger athletes, and could possibly motivate them to work up to the World Cup ski racers.
Educating our athletes on how to properly use social media has been a big challenge. The understanding that once something is put up online, it is now open to anyone that wants to see it. It also has increased the use of cell phones and causes a number of distractions through the day, and our club has a “no cell phone” policy in the club cabin to promote team bonding and create a focussed environment.
Author: Margot Wheeler is a self-proclaimed sports junky. Loves everything about sport, has played, coached and refereed many sports in particular basketball. She is a graduate from York University in Toronto and played varsity basketball while attending. She is currently working for the Raptors-905 D-league basketball team. Last summer Toronto hosted the Pan Am games and she volunteered as the television graphics person. 2016 Rio count down is on and Margot will be glued to her social media following all stories