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Local News

Dar Honored for 30 Years as PCST Devo Coach

dar_-_best_youth_coach.jpg
Leslie Thatcher
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For the last 30 years, hundreds of local youth ski racers, including Olympic, national and collegiate champions, have made their way through the ranks of the Park City Ski Team. The one constant is those three decades has been the Devo - or development coach - Dar Hendrickson.

Dar was honored by the ski team last week with a Special Achievement Award. His wife, Leslie Thatcher, was there and has this report.

It was the winter of 1979, when Dar – a member of the Northern Michigan University alpine ski team - first moved to Utah to ski with the Park City Ski Team. He returned to the U-P to finish college, but after graduation, like a lot of those from the Midwest, made the move back to Utah for its long ski runs, steep vertical and perfect powder.

In 1986, Dar was named as the Park City Ski Team’s first Devo coach – a position he still holds today. 30 years ago, there were 6, maybe seven, 10 year olds on the team – who still remember it as their best year ever. These days, the Devo team has more than 30 members and 4 coaches.

Eric Wilkenson – or E-Dog - is currently is one of the Ski Team’s  U-12 coaches. He was named to the Devo team during Dar’s second season.

E-Dog says what Dar has embodied from day one is fun and love of the sport. Even though the kids may not stick with ski racing, he says they still love to ski.

Jason Lance is the U 14 head coach. He’s been working with Dar since 1995 and says Dar has done a good job teaching the important lessons early.

Over the last 30 years, Dar has coached the likes of Ted Ligety, Megan McJames and two-time NC-double A collegiate champion, Adam Cole. Cole was a Devo 24 years ago. Speaking at the awards ceremony last Friday, Cole mentioned one lesson he learned from Dar about accountability – a lesson that almost every ski team parent has thanked Dar for as well.

Brady Sherman was a member of the first Devo team and recently his son was on the team – which Dar said at the time, made him the Grandpa coach. Sherman says he remembers more tree training than gate racing. Because the first rule of skiing is – never hit a tree.

Park City Ski Team Manager Gail Barber says Dar is one of those special people who inspire you to be a better person and his legacy is evident within the ski team community.

Program Director Jesse Hunt said the impact Dar has had on local ski racing is huge. He gets the kids excited and shares his passion for skiing while instilling the values of the ski team program to each team member.

Dar was presented with a silver Park City Ski Team belt buckle and a gift certificate to play some golf – his other passion.