This season we have five excellent coaches with Brian Abery at the helm as Head Coach and four assistant coaches.

  • Rachel Downing
  • Nick Hall
  • Ellen McCarthy
  • Derek Schlager

They each invest an incredible amount of time and energy into this large team of skiers. For that we are so grateful.


Brian Abery, Head Coach

He's got some favorite quotes to share:

  • "Having fun and focusing on the process of skiing leads to much better outcomes than an emphasis on race placings and times."
  • "Nordic skiing is 110% perspiration (i.e. effort) with the remaining 20% based on the genes one gets from parents."
  • "Ski the tracks...they are your friend."
Rachel Downing balanced on log across waterfalls

Rachel Downing, Assistant Coach

It's Rachel's second year coaching with the team, and she is really looking forward to it!

When Rachel is skiing up a very big hill, she counts backward from 20. "I'm not sure why, but maybe it's a reminder that pain is temporary!"

Nick Hall and three skiers

Nick Hall, Assistant Coach

Nick has two kids on the team - Ashlyn (8th grade) and Ethan (11th grade) - with some future skiers, Klee and Sevi (both 3 years) preparing. Wow!

Nick has been coaching Nordic skiing for 16 years (6 years with ISD 196).

He states "It's always great to meet new skiers, reconnect with our returning skiers, and see what the new season brings to the table!" He also emphasizes, "There's no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing choices!"  Truth!

Ellen sitting on a rock in a stream in the woods

Ellen McCarthy, Assistant Coach

2022/2023 will be Ellen's 4th year as Assistant Coach on the team.

Her roles include color coordinating our coaching supplies, poking fun at Brian, and making sure the kids are warm enough.

When the skiers are skiing up a big hill, she likes to yell "V2 V2 V2!", and when she's in the heat of competition, she chants to herself, "You can do this. You are strong."


Derek Schlager, Assistant Coach

Formerly a Burnsville High School cross-country, Nordic, and track coach for seven years, this year will be Derek's second year in the great ISD 196!  He was head coach for BHS's Nordic Ski team 2016 - 2020.  He also has been privileged to work alongside the great Andy Dodds through SSTG for the past several years.

Schlager is LOVING teaching mathematics at EVHS and looks forward to learning how to ski FAST with the ISD 196 Nordic Ski crew.

Some of his favorite quotes:

  • "Whether you think you can, or you think you can't, you're right." - Henry Ford.
  • "Judge a man by his questions rather than his answer." - Voltaire


ISD 196 Nordic Ski Booster Club