By Jackie Robin BSSEF

BIG SKY – The Big Sky Ski Education Foundation recently hired a new head coach and program director for the freeride team. Peter Manka is a father of three young skiers, and a former collegiate racer, coach and big mountain competitor.

“Freeskiing offers young athletes the opportunity to learn life skills and confidence through the focus and effort required to ski challenging terrain in a constantly changing mountain environment,” Manka said.

The Freeride Team is open to skiers 12-18 who want to ski and compete on big mountain terrain. Coaches focus on technique, fluidity, control and style. Snow safety and avalanche awareness are also a large part of this program, as are teamwork and communication.

Representatives from the Freeskiing World Tour, as well as professional ski patrollers, mountain rescue and snow science experts join the team as on-mountain guest coaches. Local big mountain skiers interested in coaching can contact the team.

The BSSEF team will have the opportunity to compete in regional events at Jackson Hole, Grand Targhee, as well as Moonlight Basin’s Headwaters Spring Runoff, now an IFSA sanctioned event for juniors on March, 30 2013. (The adult Runoff will be one week later on April 6.) Some athletes will also compete at national events at areas around the Western U.S. and Canada.

For more information about joining the BSSEF Freeride Team, contact Head Coach Peter Manka at pmanka@hotmail.com, parent coordinator Jackie Robin at jackie@hungrymoose.com, or visit bssef.com. Meet the coaches informational gatherings will be held in Bozeman and Big Sky, Nov. 7 and 8 (see below).

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BSSEF Freeride Team informational meetings

Meet the coaches and learn more about the 2013 BSSEF Freeride Program

Bozeman: Wednesday, Nov. 7, 5:30 – 7 p.m.

Upstairs at the Community Food Co-op on Main Street and 9th Ave.

Big Sky: Thursday, Nov. 8, 5 – 6 p.m.

The Hungry Moose Market and Deli