Our comprehensive Alpine Program has a highly qualified, full-time coaching team that allows athletes to compete in a variety of schedules—from state USSA races to international FIS events. Alpine skiers are members of the United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) and compete at the U19, U16, and U14 levels.
Our Alpine Program prepares student-athletes to compete at the highest levels in each age group. We strike a balance of technical skills between free skiing and gate training at Sunday River Resort, while offering the best opportunity for student-athletes to reach their potential.
Check out a video of GS training on Monday Mourning at Sunday River:
We offer three on-snow training camps off-season to focus on skill retention, keeping the time between “snow touches” no more than eight weeks:
- France 2 weeks (mid-June)
- Chile/Argentina (early August)
- Europe (mid-October)
Virginia “Gigi” Kelsey
Alpine Coaching Staff
Coach Simard brings a versatile coaching perspective to Gould, having worked with gifted athletes of all ages, from the junior development level to Division I collegiate level to placement on the U.S. Ski Team. During his eight-year tenure as Head Coach for the University of New Hampshire’s Division I Women’s Alpine Team, he coached the Wildcat Women to an NCAA National Giant Slalom Championship in 2006 and the entire Alpine Team to a second-place overall finish that same year. His athletes also attained an impressive 19 All-American Award honors as well as placements to the U.S. Ski Team.
Originally hailing from Auburn, Maine Coach Simard grew up ski racing. He participating in the U.S. Ski Team’s Development Program, graduated from Green Mountain Valley School in Vermont, and captained the University of New Hampshire’s Division I Men’s Alpine Team. After college he began his coaching career at Sunday River with Gould Academy. A testament to the relationships that he is known for establishing with his athletes, Coach Simard has had the unique experience of coaching several athletes at Gould and then as collegiate athletes at University of New Hampshire. Several of his former athletes have since come to Gould and coached under his leadership. Noted for his enthusiastic love of athletics and ability to lead, his accomplishments have been recognized by his peers as he has been twice named the Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association (EISA) Coach of the Year (2005 and 2006). In 2007, Coach Simard’s return to Gould was both a homecoming and milestone. He met his wife, Lauren, at Sunday River, and together they have three daughters: Madeline ’16, Cameron, and Sophie.
Coach Connell joined Gould after spending 15 years as head coach of the Division I Alpine Team at Bates College. He was named the Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association Co-Coach of the Year in 2005 and 2013 and helped bring the 2009 NCAA Skiing Championships to Bates’ home mountain, Sunday River. While at Bates, Coach Connell had 17 of his athletes qualify for NCAAs a total of 34 times, some of whom were Gould alumni. He serves on the Eastern Alpine Development Committee and is chair of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Alpine Rules Working Group.
Prior to his time at Bates, Coach Connell held positions as the Director of Skiing and Head Alpine Coach at Saint Michael’s College; the Assistant Head Coach of Alpine Skiing at Ford Sayre Academy; and various leadership roles within the Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association and USSA. Connell graduated from the University of New Hampshire where he was a two-time letter winner for the Division I Alpine Team and secured top-10 team finishes for the Wildcats at the 1992 and 1993 NCAA Championships.
Head Coach and Gould alumnus Parker Gray ’97 leads the postgraduate GAP Year Alpine Program. Gray is a native of Newry, Maine, and spent three years with the U.S. Men’s Olympic and World Cup teams, serving as an Assistant and Strength Coach.
While Head Coach at KMS, Gray was named Vermont Coach of the Year. As an athlete, Gray was a two-time Junior Olympic Downhill Champion, SG Champion, and overall winner. He is also a member of the Gould Athletic Hall of Fame (2018).
“I thoroughly enjoyed my time coaching the Men’s World Cup team. The experience of working with highly driven athletes and staff opened my eyes to the reality of what a highly motivated group can achieve. I hope to build on that experience at Gould and help our athletes achieve success.” -Parker Gray ’97
Coach Fisher has been coaching and teaching skiing for more than 25 years. After graduating with a bachelors degree in psychology from the University of New Hampshire, she began her career at King Pine in New Hampshire, where she worked her way to PSIA Level 2 certification. From there she changed course to begin coaching J3 athletes at Attitash Mountain, where she stayed for 14 years and continued to use her teaching background to foster strong skills development in her young racers. At Gould, Coach Fisher works with U19 Alpine men and women. In the spring, she coaches the road cycling team. When off the hill, she enjoys running, mountain biking, road cycling, and sailing the coast of Maine on her vintage fiberglass sailboat. Coach Fisher lives just off campus in Bethel with her husband, Kurt, and daughter Madsie ’18.
A graduate of the University of Maine at Farmington’s Ski Industries Program, Coach Johnston has a minor in alpine coaching and more than 20 years of full-time coaching. His experience ranges from grassroots club programs to prep schools to ski academies, including Stratton Mountain School, Killington Mountain School, and Bromley Outing Club. His vast experience working with a multitude of programs and age groups allows him to create a strong team atmosphere among athletes, coaches, and teachers. Coach Johnston’s high-energy approach and fun personality are always present on and off of the hill, and his coaching knowledge and philosophy keep athletes motivated to strive for excellence. He lives off campus with his wife, Kimmie, and daughters Reid and Maisy. When not on the hill, he is mountain biking, playing guitar, or fishing for striped bass.
Coach Brown is originally from Newry, Maine, and grew up skiing at Sunday River. He attended Gould Academy, graduating in 2010. At Gould, he was a member of both the Alpine Competition Program and the lacrosse team, and graduated top 10 academically in his class. He went on to Bates College, where he was a 4-year member of the Alpine team and competed in two NCAA Eastern Regional Championships. Graduating from Bates with a degree in mathematics, he stayed with the Bates Alpine Team for two more years, as Coach Connell’s assistant. He coached the FIS Women’s team at Sugar Bowl Academy in Truckee, California, before returning to Gould.
A native of Auburn, Maine, and a former athlete in the Gould Academy weekend program, Coach Snowe has had a lifelong passion for ski racing. He began sharing his love for the sport as a coach in the GACP Weekend Program and has been an asset to our coaching staff for over a decade. He also helps guide aspiring snow sport athletes through the admissions process as part of the Admissions team. Coach Snowe graduated from the University of Southern Maine with a degree in Leadership and Organizational Studies, and his coaching approach is anchored by principles of team development, which resonates well with our athletes. Coach Snowe lives in Bethel with his wife, Courtney. When he is not on the hill, he enjoys golfing and spending time on the water in Cundy’s Harbor, Maine.
Coach Yamada began teaching & coaching at the Pat’s Peak Ski area in 1979. He continued to coach for years to come at several NH ski areas and finally made the move with his family to Sunday River in late ’90s.
He began coaching with the Gould weekend program in 2000, coaching all ages from fundamentals to advanced competition level. Now a full-time coach, he brings over 40 years of coaching experience and a wealth of knowledge on working effectively with young athletes.
Coach Yamada is a former PSIA Level 3 certified and Eastern Dev Team member. He is USSA & FIS certified and a USASA Championship Slalom Venue Manager.
Off Season, he often coaches soccer, lacrosse, and still recruits for several college programs.
Coach Niiler began teaching and coaching in the Franconia Ski School at Cannon Mountain in 1982. From there he moved to King Pine ski area, where he stayed for 28 years as their Ski School Director, Terrain Parks Supervisor, and Race Team Head Coach. During this time the King Pine Race Team became known as “small but mighty,” producing numerous athletes who made post-season appearances at Eastern and Can-Am Championships, and even a National Championship event. Coach Niiler is PSIA Level 3 certified, USSA certified, and is a former member of the PSIA Eastern Development Team and Education Staff.
As the On Snow Program Manager, Ms. Costello provides the oversight that keeps the Gould Academy Competition Program (GACP) running smoothly throughout the winter. With her bird’s eye view of the program, she manages the daily operation for the full-time and weekend GACP. Also Gould’s Winter Term Program Coordinator, she is the liaison between Winter Term student’s sending school and Gould Faculty. Ms. Costello is a 1984 graduate of the University of Maine at Farmington and brings to Gould Academy 25 years of experience in managing various programs and departments for both Sugarloaf and Sunday River ski resorts. She lives in Bethel in the Winter Term Dorm and has two children: Meghan ‘11 and Wyatt ’12.