Comp Team Coaching Staff and Bios
Rick Kapala Head Coach, Nordic Program Director: Rick is the fearless leader and driving force behind the SVSEF Nordic Program, which he has been part of for 27 of his 34 years coaching. Rick is originally from Sterling Hts, Michigan and graduated from Michigan Technological University where he studied Biological Sciences. While Rick offers endless support to the Nordic Program he is personally supported by his wonderful wife Bridget. Rick has been part of the nordic world for a good part of his life; skiing on the MTU Varsity Ski Team for four years and placing 17th in the 1979 Escanaba Nordic Challenge. Rick has been named USSA Cross Country Coach of the Year three times in his career and coached internationally for the USA at World Juniors, World Championships, and Polar Cup. When he isn't chasing SVSEF Nordic skiers around the trails Rick can be found fly fishing and mountain biking or just generally enjoying the outdoors. A few things that you might not know about Rick but probably should is that; he played in a hair band (with hair), won a golf tournament, won his fantasy baseball league in 2013 and once killed his girlfriend's dog.
Ashley McQueen Knox: Ashley is a Hailey local and SVSEF alumni, she graduated from the University of Utah and has been coaching with SVSEF for the last eight years. During the very small off season from Nordic, Ashley works as a gardener with Just Flowers, as an outdoor instructor at The Community School and she moonlights as a sales person at Backwoods Mountain Sports. Ashley is a long time skier and lover of the outdoors she spends as much of her free time outside as possible enjoying, Tele Skiing, Backcountry Skiing, Mountain Biking (she is a Mud Honey) and taking her dog, Carter, out on a run or to play. Ashley's parents had her skiing on Dollar when she was just 2 and when she was old enough for the Kinder-cup they had her racing. Ashley proudly recognizes the Kinder-Cup as the highlight of her alpine racing career but when her Dad got tired of pulling her out of nets on race course she began looking for a new winter sport... In the 7th grade Ashely joined the SVSEF Nordic Prep Team and in the 8th grade she won her first race. Ashley raced in 5 US Junior National Championships with multiple top 10 finishes and a silver the 2002 J1 girls relay. Ashley was named to the 2001 and 2002 USA J1 Scandinavian Series Teams and raced for 4 years on the Univeristy of Utah NCAA varsity ski team where she was a 3 time qualifier for NCAA Championships. One important thing you might not know about Ashley is that she is not a fan of the High Five! She "thinks it is over used and awkward in almost any situation other then athletics."
Tom Smith: Tom is a recent graduate of the University of Utah, but grew up in Bend Oregon. This is his 2nd year coaching, he was an assistant coach at Utah as a 5th year students, and his first year coaching juniors; he moved to Ketchum specifically to coach with SVSEF! Tom has a rich background of ski racing; he was a 2007 Skate Sprint Gold Medalist at Junior Nationals and competed on the University of Utah's NCAA team for 4 years. During his 4 years skiing for Utah Tom achieved multiple top 20 finishes at NCAA Championships and was twice a member of the 2nd place team at NCAAs. The thing Tom enjoys most about coaching is "seeing how skiing enables personal developments of athletes in all aspects of life; through the incredibly unique experiences we are able to share with great friends, through the growth of individuals when making a breakthrough in their performance on the trails, and through the life lessons that skiing is able to teach, through the tough times and good times in racing and realizing that it is all just good fun and through the ability of skiing to provide an active, incredibly fun lifestyle that I hope to inspire in everyone that I have the chance to coach." When Tom isn't coaching and inspiring you can find him participating in extreme sports, he loves to get off the beaten path. Besides skiing he enjoys surfing, kayaking, climbing, running and biking. One thing you might not know about Tom is that he fancies himself a 'fashionista', his style and fashion sense inspires many public figures.