Jan 15, 2012
Author: Penelope Buswell | Photos: Renaud Robert / Momentum Ski Camp
With the Olympic debut of skier pipe and slopestyle just two years away, SKIER caught up with Chris Turpin - newly appointed head technical coach for the Russian pipe and slope team. Obviously we asked him all about his secret plans for Olympic domination.
“It all started this summer when I worked with the Russian ski team for two weeks at Whistler’s water ramp. The team learned a bunch and I guess I helped out enough to have made a difference. During that time I learned to coach fairly well in Russian. I made a cheat sheet divided into five sections - body parts, movements, directions, skiing points and then a bunch of powerpoint words like “control”, “commit”, “relax” and “confidence”. Then I put myself on the jump and shouted instructions like “net salto” [net is don’t, salto is flip]!
Renaud Robert photos
So far I’ve only worked with the mogul team - I haven’t met the slope and pipe team yet, I’ll meet them later this month in Russia. I’ll be working with them for the next two to six years, depending on whether my contract is continued after Sochi.
I’ll coach based on what I learned coaching summer camps like Camp of Champions and Momentum on Blackcomb glacier. There I coached large numbers, in a short amount of time. This helped me to develop safe and quick and fun learning techniques. I’ve been around long enough to know what works, I just hope that I’m going to pass the good ski vibes to the rest of the skiers I work with. As to the actual techniques, it’s top secret stuff that I can’t share!
For resources, I’m going to try and bring my own pipe builder from Utah and I have a groomer friend in Whistler. It looks like the Russian team already has a lot of resources, and will accommodate whatever we need to make sure Russia is properly represented at the Olympics. Russia doesn’t expect to podium in pipe or slope, but they do want to participate and have a good show-in.
Renaud Robert photo
Skiing for me is like crack, I need skiing in my life and I see this as a new ski challenge. One day I want to say I’ve done everything - I’ve already groomed on the mountain, built terrain parks, taken care of terrain parks, and I’ve coached. One day maybe I’ll even take race camp! I just want to understand all aspects of skiing.
When I graduated high school I actually wrote that going to the Olympics was my life goal. So it will be quite fun to be part of a team and walk in on the opening ceremony. It’s the next big chapter in my life. I moved to Whistler not knowing I was going to become a skier, let alone a pro for 12 years. I was just getting ready to retire when the Russian team got a hold of me. It’s an extra big compliment, so I’m pretty excited - and nervous.”