Head WJR & U12 Coach
Eric “Cates” cut his teeth at the Wintergreen Ski Area in his backyard of Spring Green, WI for one year before it unfortunately closed its doors for good. Luckily for him, Tyrol Basin was not too far away. He then spent the rest of his formative years skiing, training, and racing out of Tyrol Basin, going through the Tyrol Basin Ski Team and racing the WIJARA circuit as a young lad, moving on to the MART (Madison Alpine Race Team) under Pat Slattery to race USSA and FIS. Through those years, Eric became a strong competitor in the Midwest on the FIS circuit as well as being crowned the High School State Overall Champion in 2003.
After High School, with collegiate skiing on his mind, Eric took a PG year in Austria to experience the real Tyrol mountains and gain some valuable experience as a full-time skiing athlete. After a long and tough, but rewarding year in Europe, Eric matriculated and skied for Dartmouth College, a NCAA Division I ski team. During his time there, he was fortunate to be a member of the team during their undefeated 2007 season, where Dartmouth walked away as the NCAA Div I National Champions…an unforgettable experience.
After graduating in 2008, and knowing that financially, a push to continue ski racing just didn’t make sense, but not ready to let go; he turned to coaching. His first job out of college was working as a FIS Coach with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club (SSWSC), always a favorite place for Eric to race in the past. At SSWSC, Eric quickly felt at home and had a lot of success and fun with his coaching. Leading trips to Austria, coaching kids to podiums at U18(19) National Championships, to US Championships, working with the US Women’s World Cup Tech Team in New Zealand; he fell in love with it.
After 5 years in Steamboat, the chance to coach at the collegiate level came and Eric moved to Bozeman, MT to coach for Montana State University’s Div I Ski Team. Working with collegiate athletes was a natural progression and he loved everything about it. His plan was to stay in Bozeman for a few years, but SSWSC called him after a year away and enticed him back to be the Head FIS Coach. Eric spent the last 2 years in Steamboat, loving being in Steamboat even more than then before.
Recently though, Eric and his wife Kiley decided it was time to move back to Wisconsin and set some roots and are now taking over their family farm after 8 years of coaching. He is excited to have the chance to work with MAD ALPINE this coming Winter and stay involved in the sport and hopefully give back to the program(s) where he started it all.