Former freestyle athlete Todd Ossian was recently named by the U.S. Ski Team as head aerials coach following the retirement announcement of Matt Christensen, who had headed the team for the last 12 years.
“Todd brings a high level of technical expertise and experience to our program. It will be exciting to see what we can accomplish with his fresh enthusiasm, said new Freestyle Director Todd Schirman. “He has had some amazing success as a coach, which has created great direction for his planning. We are looking forward to see our present and future athletes benefit from his leadership.”
Ossian brings a wealth of experience coaching at the international level, having led the Australian Team for seven years and served with the U.S. Ski Team for three years as development coach.
Ossian has been passionate about aerials for a long time. As a child, he grew up on a lake in Minnesota next-door to freestyle’s notable Beddor family. The Beddor’s, who had several children on the U.S. Ski Team, had their own backyard training facility with water ramps into the lake and trampolines. Once Ossian saw the ramps and tramps, he was hooked.
“The first second I saw that I thought it was the coolest thing I’d ever seen,” said Ossian. “That’s kind of how it’s been for me my whole life.”
Ossian stuck with freestyle and made the U. S. Aerial Ski Team in 1993. He competed on the Team for three years, before a broken hip forced him to take a break from skiing and go to college. Ossian attended Colorado State University, graduating with a BA in Speech Communication. Following graduation, Ossian returned to the U.S. Ski Team not as an athlete but as a development aerial coach.
In 2001, Ossian was offered the Australian head aerial coach position and left the U.S. Ski Team. During his seven year reign, he coached two World Championships medalists and two Olympic medalists, both winning gold and bronze, and three FIS World Cup Aerial Champions.
Ossian is coming to the U.S. Ski Team at a perfect time. With the 2010 Olympic Winter Games just having past, the U.S. Aerials Ski Team is in a building phase with goals for the future. A main focus for U.S. aerials and Ossian is to ensure the future of the sport by building a strong development program and pipeline for the U.S. Ski Team.
“We want to build a new program and we have a chance now for a new start,” said Ossian. “We know that we have to start recruiting kids. We are trying to really start pushing the development.”
Ossian is positive heading into the 2010-11 season and the 2011 World Championships at Deer Valley. However, the focus is on the future and it’s looking bright.
“Right now we are looking at 2014 and beyond, looking at 2018,” said Ossian. “I’m psyched to be working with the guys on the Team now and there is also energy and passion to start building something new. That’s where a lot of the focus is going to be.”
Ossian joined the Team in time for a two-week camp at the Utah Olympic Park and Center of Excellence in preparation for a fall snow camp in November. The season World Cup aerials opener is set for Bedia Lake, China Dec. 17-18 as the Team leads up to the 2011 World Championships at Deer Valley Feb. 4. The USA will host the 2011 Freestyle World Championships in the U.S. Ski Team’s hometown, Park City at Deer Valley and Park City Mountain Resort, Feb. 2-5.