Cameron Smith reboots Nevada Snowboarding

College of Nevada Wolf Pack 2022/23

The College of Nevada has a brand new coach in its second season since being reinstated, and he’s received plans.

Cam Smith and his fiancé, Mikaela Tommy, figured they’d spend a winter in Tahoe final 12 months as a one-time expertise. Each coached for Palisades Tahoe, she as an assistant FIS coach and he as a part-time FIS coach whereas working his “actual job” in gross sales at a sustainability startup. After the ski season, the couple returned to Boulder, Smith’s hometown, the place they each raced NCAA for CU and the place they deliberate to begin their married life.

That was Plan A.

After arriving in Boulder, nonetheless, Smith did a U-Flip to interview for a newly open place on the helm of Nevada Snowboarding.

A 12 months earlier, the College of Nevada had acquired Sierra Nevada College. College President Brian Sandoval pledged to protect the SNU ski workforce as a part of the transition. This system’s coach, Mihaela Kosi, turned the pinnacle coach, and her SNU Eagles—stars of the USCSA—morphed into Nevada’s Wolfpack. They turned Nevada’s seventeenth NCAA workforce and the latest Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Affiliation (RMISA) addition.

When Kosi introduced her departure this previous April, the search was on for somebody who may comply with the momentum she’d began and construct on it like a snowball rolling downhill. That somebody could be Cam Smith.

Cameron Smith: Photograph College of Nevada

Smith was named to the place in July. In August, he and Tommy made a fast journey again to Tommy’s hometown in Canada for his or her marriage ceremony, the place their former CU coach, Richard Rokos, officiated. They arrived in Reno simply earlier than college students arrived on campus for the autumn time period.


Smith brings information, expertise, and broad connections all through the business. He grew up ski racing, attending Burke Mountain Academy, after which turned a CU Buff.  He then served as an assistant coach at CU for a 12 months earlier than taking a place with HEAD. As US Competitors and Group Supervisor, he labored with high World Cup athletes like Ted Ligety, Tommy Ford, Alice McKennis Duran and AJ Harm. He additionally labored with each important ski racing program throughout the nation. 

“My largest job there was mainly recruiting athletes,” says Smith about his job with Head. To do this, he constructed shut connections and relationships at each degree of junior and FIS racing throughout the US. He’s well-informed on the breadth of expertise in search of a spot to maintain growing. “I already know all of these coaches, and Imight have already labored with lots of these athletes. I believe that may undoubtedly assist me with persevering with to recruit one of the best People.”


Smith comes right into a group primed for achievement. Zach Fretz and Nick Cohee are each former NCAA skiers and are administrators of the Nevada Snowboarding Boosters. Cohee grew up in Tahoe, changing into a high US junior racer. “I wished to ski for UNR,” recollects Cohee, who began school in 2008. On the time, the Tahoe space had lots of actually nice skiers who had been making the nationwide workforce and likewise snowboarding for schools like Utah, Middlebury and Dartmouth. “None of those guys went to Nevada,” says Cohee, who went on to race for Utah and was a 2 x all-American. “There have been simply poor efforts for recruiting People that had been quick.” 

Fretz, a Colorado native, was a workforce member in 2010 when Nevada minimize the ski workforce. “It was life-changing,” recollects Fretz, whose involvement within the Boosters was motivated by the expertise. “We need to make certain it doesn’t occur once more.” When Nevada introduced that their NCAA ski workforce was rising from the smoldering ashes, Fretz and Cohee introduced a can of fuel to the celebration.

They helped rally the area people, elevating $100,000 within the inaugural Ski Ball fundraiser and labored on rebuilding dormant relationships all through the snowboarding group. That meant partaking donors massive and small, resorts, golf equipment, dad and mom and athletes. They knew this system wanted a novel coach—somebody who knew elite and school racing inside and outside but additionally had the imaginative and prescient and vitality to construct a program from the bottom up and develop an clever recruiting system to entice high home and worldwide athletes. “It’s a a lot greater problem, and that’s what actually pursuits me,” says Smith.


A lot of Smith’s attract was his want to have interaction the group. Cohee explains that when the ski workforce was up on the chopping block, there was minimal native connection and, thus, minimal monetary assist inside the group to put it aside. The devastation went nicely past Fretz and his teammates. Shedding Nevada’s high-level school athletes and competitions was a giant hit for the event of Tahoe athletes of all ages. “These children simply didn’t have sufficient alternatives to enhance their world rating and actually dare to take probabilities at a better degree and in a deeper subject,” says Cohee.

Smith totally understands how athletes drive group connection. Rising up in Boulder, he raced at Lake Eldora.  “I seemed as much as the CU athletes. Positive, I knew who Bode Miller was, however I had no concept who was on the US Ski Group. I did know everybody who was on CU.” Smith sees an enormous alternative to fill that void with native youth by creating a robust connection between the workforce and the native ski group. “I’m undoubtedly excited to deliver that again,” says Smith.


As the one American on CU’s workforce for a few of his time there, Smith is aware of the significance of making alternatives for American and native athletes. “I need to assist People and put one of the best workforce on snow that I can,” he says. To that finish, whereas in search of quick, keen athletes from any nation, he’ll goal to maintain a number of spots obtainable for native athletes. “There’s so many ski golf equipment on this space that I’m hoping we are able to pull one or two a 12 months.”

Incoming athletes this 12 months embrace Tahoe native Ryan Herhusky, Mammoth skier Eric Lynch, and Idaho skier Jessica Blackburn. They be part of junior Georgie Sullivan, who, like Herhusky, skied for Sugar Bowl Academy. The advantages of a profitable school workforce will stretch past Reno and Tahoe. “You’re including one other 12 athletes within the US,” says Smith.  “Whether or not they’re USA athletes or overseas athletes, you’re including them into the sphere at a Nor Am or school race, which makes it extra aggressive.”


Concerning coaching venues, the Wolfpack has a humiliation of riches.The closest is Sky Tavern, a mere 25 minutes from campus on the Mt. Rose Freeway. Town-owned, volunteer-run space is having fun with a renaissance, putting in its first-ever snowmaking system in time for this season. One other 5 minutes up the highway, Mt. Rose affords massive mountain terrain for SL and GS. Inside an hour’s straightforward drive are Palisades Tahoe and Alpine, Sugar Bowl, Northstar and Diamond Peak. All have reached out to Smith, and he plans to spend time at every venue, sampling terrain, floor and coaching accessibility.

Nevada doesn’t have a house meet this season, although RMISA is aiming for a Nevada dwelling meet on the 2024/25 season schedule, even perhaps using the World Cup prepped floor of the Palisades Tahoe World Cup.


Smith is conscious that he’s coming into school teaching at a novel time within the sport, when school athletes are making excessive marks on the World Cup, legitimizing the extent within the NCAA. “I really feel like we simply hit a golden period of exhibiting that collegiate snowboarding generally is a pathway to World Cup success.” He factors to the current success of former NCAA skiers like present World Champion Laurence St-Germain, and the 15 NCAA snowboarding graduates on the World Cup tour.

Bringing quick, high-level ski racing again to the Tahoe space—within the type of the Nevada Ski Group, spring USST camps and the Palisades Tahoe World Cup—is one other ingredient within the recipe for achievement. “It’s an enormous alternative to lift the tide,” says Cohee. “You see what’s occurred with all these expertise hotspots during the last 20 years.” He pointed to Park Metropolis’s success with Ted Ligety and his peer group when the realm hosted World Cups to arrange for the 2002 Olympics and the best way early season coaching and World Cup prep in Colorado has boosted the efficiency of Rocky athletes. “Now it’s our flip once more.”


One other precedence for Smith is a optimistic and supportive workforce tradition, one thing he skilled whereas snowboarding after which working for Rokos at CU. “A giant piece that helps win championships is basically protecting an excellent workforce dynamic and having an excellent workforce tradition with everybody respecting one another andhelping one another out—like a household, or like a wolf pack, if you’ll.”

Along with the overwhelming assist from the ski racing and Reno Tahoe group, Smith has been blown away by the interior institutional and private assist all through the college, from Sandoval to AD Stephanie Rempe. Even on the powerhouse faculties, snowboarding is commonly minimally thought of, missing substantial delight or legacy. Not so in Reno, the place the ski workforce lore goes again to 1936 when student-athlete Wayne Poulsen based it. “It’s not the black sheep of the athletic division,” says Smith. “I believe they’re viewing the ski workforce as a possibility for the athletic division to win a nationwide or a convention championship.” With that backing, Smith has a strong pitch to athletes, promising assist from the school and the group, together with the services, coaching and price range that rival different high faculties within the West.


Everybody concerned within the monumental effort to deliver Nevada snowboarding again clearly is aware of their objectives. “I’m coming right here to construct a championship workforce,” says Smith, including, “so I would like a Nordic workforce.” Fielding a whole ski workforce, Alpine and Nordic, requires about $1 million yearly in sustainable funding. A lot of that should come from sources outdoors the varsity, and the booster group is now laser-focused on that. The purpose is to have a Nordic workforce up and operating by the ’24/’25 season. Then, Nevada’s Wolfpack will have the ability to strike. As Fretz explains, success will in the end drive assist. “Everybody needs to be a part of a profitable workforce.”

Need to be part of the Pack? The Nevada Ski Group continues to be in search of a full-time assistant coach. Check it out here.

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