Ski coaching mainstay Jeff Pier dies at 55


Jeff Pier (center) at the 2011 USSA Coaches National Academy at Mammoth Mountain. USSA

Jeff Pier (center) at the 2011 USSA Coaches National Academy at Mammoth Mountain. USSA

The world of ski racing got smaller this Fourth of July when Jeffrey J. Pier passed away at Potsdam Hospital following a difficult 18-month struggle against kidney cancer.

Pier was a mainstay in ski racing, having served as a well-respected coach and program director at Hidden Valley in his home state of New Jersey, at the historic Ford Sayre Academy in New Hampshire and with the NCAA team at St. Lawrence University from 2000-2009.

He also routinely ran summer camps in Europe and Canada, led USSA coaching clinics, and briefly coached with the national ski team.

Born Aug. 13, 1959 to John and Jane Pier of Milford, N.J., he attended the University of Maine but left to pursue a professional ski coaching career. He later graduated magna cum laude from St. Lawrence with a business degree, then pursued and completed a masters degree in business administration from Clarkson University. In recent years, he ran Liberty Tax Service businesses in Plattsburgh and Malone, N.Y.

Pier was a focused family man and is survived by his three children, daughters Jaleigh and Talyne and a son, Lance, with whom he recently completed climbing all 46 New York State peaks topping 4,000 feet. Also surviving him are his parents and brothers, eight nieces and nephews, one great nephew and his companion Donna Mae Wolf.

He was an inspirational coach who said: “An obstacle is only an opportunity to find a solution.” His athletes learned preparation and the benefits of good planning.

He requested a party in lieu of a funeral and a celebration of his life is scheduled for Jan. 10, 2015 at the Whiteface Ski Area. Donations can be made to either Hope Lodge of Burlington, Vt. (237 East Avenue, 05401/802.658.0649) or Relay for Life Plattsburgh (PO Box 280 Plattsburgh, N.Y./518.562.5441).

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