Olympic Athlete Dane Spencer Joins U.S. Ski Team Staff

Park City, UT – Olympian Dane Spencer of Boise, Idaho, a member of four Alpine World Championship ski teams dating back to 1997 has been added to the men’s U.S. Alpine Ski Team staff as a Europa Cup/World Cup coach.nSpencer retired from ski racing following the 2010 season after 13-year career with the U.S. Ski Team that included a heroic return to the sport after a life threatening crash in 2006. He will work with Europa Cup Head Coach Forest Carey, World Cup technical Head Coach Mike Day and World Cup speed Head Coach Chris Brigham.

“Having coaches on staff that bring athlete perspective and who are competitive bring great balance to the staff as a whole,” says Head Coach Sasha Rearick. “Dane knows what it’s like to have athletic success, he knows what it’s like to battle back from injury and he knows what it’s like to work hard. He is going to be a key link for athletes moving between the Europa Cup and World Cup level.”

“This is great opportunity for me to help those transition athletes become successful,” said Spencer. “Forest, Mike and Chris have established solid groups and I’m excited to use my knowledge from being an athlete at those levels and apply that to the successful programs that those guys have already established.”

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A member of the 2002 U.S. Olympic Alpine Ski Team, Spencer was the top racer in his age group when he made the U.S. Ski Team at 16 after growing up with the Bogus Basin Ski Education Foundation. He would go on to become a two-time U.S. combined champion, score points in over 20 World Cup giant slalom races, win a Europa Cup and place a career-high seventh in GS at the 2005 World Championships.

His life then changed on Valentines Day in 2006 when at 70 mph, Spencer crashed in a NorAm downhill in Montana fracturing his neck and pelvis. After spending nearly a week in an induced coma, doctors would later tell Spencer he had a 98 percent chance of dying or spending the rest of his life as a quadriplegic. It was the same day teammate Ted Ligety captured the Olympic combined gold medal in Sestriere, Italy.

“In so many ways, I had two ski racing careers,” said Spencer, who capped his racing career with an FIS Spring Series GS win at Mission Ridge, Wash. “At the time of my crash, I was ranked 20th in the world for giant slalom and things were moving in the right direction for me. I was very focused on getting into, and staying in that top group, but then it all went to zero and I had to start over.”

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“Seeing Dane return to ski racing after his crash was completely inspiring and I have no doubt he’ll bring that inspiration directly to these athletes,” added Rearick. “This is a perfect next step for Dane.”

Spencer will join the Team in September during their second on-snow camps in Chile and will be based out of Berkeley, Calif., where his fiancée is working on her Masters degree in public health.

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