JACKSON, Wyo. — The hardest decision ski coach Cody Hansen had to make when he was told he would be a finalist, again, for High School ‘Coach of the Year’ was whether he’d go with the boys team or the girls. He had to pick one or the other.
Hansen went with the girls alpine ski team, and why not? Since he took the helm in 2003-04 they have been scary good. Money. Like Patriots dominant, Muhammad Ali swagger, Yankees dynasty kind of excellence. And like the Yankees, the girls ski team has seen its share of catty behavior aimed their way at meets; shade thrown for being from Jackson, mostly, but also for being so dang unbeatable.
Hansen stresses to his athletes to win with humility, reach out and welcome other school skiers, and be open and approachable. And try not to take the jealousy too seriously. Kill ‘em with kindness, Hansen says.
Tight and swingayyy
“Our ski program has been so successful,” Hansen said. “But I had to choose for this award so I went with the girls because they are the most successful program at the high school; in any sport, by any measure. Most state championships, most overall wins, most undefeated seasons.”
Cue DJ Khaled, the numbers are stupefying. In 16 seasons to date, the girls alpine ski team has compiled 479 wins to 6 losses. Along the way, they’ve racked up 15 state titles and finished runner up once. In 14 of those 16 seasons nobody beat them in a meet. Nobody.
The boys aren’t far behind. Since 2003-04, they boast a 460-25 record with 11 state championships.
Girls vs. Boys
Why are the girls that much better? Maybe it’s the extra X chromosome females carry, as in XX-treme skiing. We asked coach Hansen.
“Some years we have girls that are beating our varsity boys. Girls seem to always be more consistent. Maybe because of the environment we grow up in around here, and role women models available to look up to. Girls are just always skiing,” Hansen noted. “This area and the ski culture here is a huge advantage for us. We are fortunate to have access to a mountain like JHMR and all the ski programs there. Then kids can go skiing after school at Snow King, where in other Wyoming towns it’s at least a 30-minute trip to get to the resort.”
So, how are this year’s teams stacking up? Hansen likes what he sees so far.
“On the girls’ side, we have a number of seniors. Most of our girls are seniors. We have an older team and that’s been fun because I’ve been with those girls for four years and got to watch them develop,” Hansen said. “The boys’ team is younger. Freshmen and sophomores. The two seniors we have, this is their first year on the team.”
Bringing home the hardware
Hansen has been nominated by the National High School Coaches Association along with six other finalists in the special sports category. The catch-all designation includes things like bowling and cheerleading. In fact, Hansen lost out to a cheerleader coach when he was in the running last time in 2011. Hansen will make the trek to Lincoln, Nebraska in July to find out if he wins.
Seriously? Start banging the cowbell, y’all. This one’s in the bag.
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