Jesse Hunt, the executive director of the Park City Ski and Snowboard has accepted an offer from U.S. Ski and Snowboard to return as Alpine Director for the national teams. KPCW's Leslie Thatcher has more.
After his ski racing career ended, Jesse Hunt went to work for the organization for the U. S. Ski Team for 16 years, leaving as the Alpine Director in 2009 to take on the role of Program Director of the Park City Ski Team.
In this last year, Hunt was responsible for merging five individual Park City youth on-snow teams under the Ski and Snowboard umbrella and served this inaugural year as executive director. He says while it made sense to take the local job 9 years ago, he’s ready to go back into the international arena. At the time, he says it made sense for him to be home, since he had young children. Now he says he’s ready to get back on the road and start working around the world.
During Hunt’s previous tenure with U.S. Ski & Snowboard, the U.S. Ski Team had its most successful run of results in alpine racing in its history, including four Overall World Cup titles, 12 Olympic medals and 18 World Championship medals.
As alpine director he will oversee both the men’s and women’s alpine teams on the Europa and World Cup tours as well as the development teams. He says it’ll require a lot of travel both domestically and internationally.
While he’s on the road he says he will be networking and making sure the teams are getting what they need for training as well as see firsthand how the training programs are being delivered.
He’s been brought on to replace Patrick Riml who resigned earlier this spring and considers the job to rebuild the team.
It’s a post Olympics year and he says it’s not uncommon that staff changes are made after an Olympics. He says in this case, it’s a great opportunity to begin to rebuild the team from the youngest levels. He says he has the support of the staff to rebuild and recreate team dynamics where the big stars don’t necessarily receive preferential treatment.
A video that made its way on social media during this year’s Olympics, showed how the Norwegian men’s ski team not only trained together, but ate together, even slept together. Hunt thinks the Norwegians took a page out of Team USA’s playbook saying that’s how he used to run the team. Once the stars were born he says it was harder to maintain that atmosphere, but he intends to reintroduce that culture.
Hunt says he brings a lot with him from running the Park City team – one of the major feeder clubs in the country. Being on the other side of the fence, he now knows what’s possible and how to better tap into the clubs to help produce top level athletes.
Of course he says success will be measured by results but also whether the core values that he helps establish, are met. Hunt takes over May 1st at US Ski and Snowboard. He says he will also be able to help with the Park City club’s transition, once a new director is hired.