Former Austrian World Cup racer Alex Hoedlmoser, who has served as women’s head coach of the U.S. Ski Team since 2011, will assume the position of head men’s speed coach for the organization following the departure of Andreas Evers. Hoedlmoser first joined the U.S. Ski Team in 1997 as a Europa Cup coach before being promoted to assistant World Cup speed coach during the 1998 Olympic season. He then worked as head coach for the women’s speed group from 2004 until his appointment as overall head coach for the women’s program in 2011.
“Having a guy who knows our system and how we work in America was an important component for what I wanted to maintain and bring to our team,” said U.S. Ski Team men’s head coach Sasha Rearick regarding the hiring. “Being a head coach and having the opportunity to go back and lead a group is really motivating and exciting, to get back in that saddle. Those are [Alex's] characteristics that I feel confident in.”
While Hoeldmoser does not have any past experience coaching on the men’s World Cup speed circuit, he hopes to bring a fresh perspective to the team, and he will rely on his staff and the athletes for venue-specific knowledge in his first year in the position. Although he wasn’t expecting the shift to happen this soon, Hoedlmoser is excited for his position change because he was hoping to work with the men’s team at some point in his coaching trajectory.
During his own illustrious racing career, Hoedlmoser was a member of the Austrian World Cup team for four years and then continued with the U.S. Pro Ski Tour for an additional four in the early 1990s. In his time coaching the U.S. women’s team, athletes achieved 78 World Cup victories and 95 podiums as well as six Olympic medals.
“Obviously this is a new situation, but I think I’m experienced enough on the speed side that I can bring something to the table for the guys too,” said Hoedlmoser. “For me, the challenge is to get to know those guys, know what their strengths and weaknesses are, see how they are skiing, and come up with a plan for every single individual.”
Hoedlmoser will first work with the team as a whole during an early June conditioning camp in Park City, where he hopes to have meetings with the individual athletes to establish a seasonal plan. They have on-snow camps already scheduled in New Zealand during August followed by Chile.
“There are a number of goals [for next season]. Definitely we are looking for some medals at world championships; it’s an important event for us. Obviously, I want to establish the guys in the top 10 — the whole group — at World Cup races consistently. Some it’s bringing them back to the podium, others it’s reaching for the podium. There are some high goals, but I think they’re achievable.”
Hoedlmoser, who lives in St. Johan, Austria, has been named USSA Alpine International Coach of the year multiple times. His most recent position on the women’s side will not be filled this season, but Roland Pfeifer continues as head technical coach and Stefan Abplanalp is the new head speed coach for the women’s program.
“For the future I’m not sure if it’s a model that’s going to work, but it’s definitely a situation that can be handled by the [existing staff],” noted Hoedlmoser. “It’s a test, but I think it can work because I did all the homework for the women’s team. I laid the plan out. The whole coaching group on the women’s side were at the meetings in Park City and came up with a very good plan that gives the athletes the chance to be successful next year. We have a very good staff on the women’s side who can take on those challenges, and I’m positive that it’s going to work out.”