Weinbrecht may take Heavenly post after Olympics | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Weinbrecht may take Heavenly post after Olympics

Steve Yingling

Rumors can start anywhere, and predictably one of great magnitude surfaced on Saturday at Heavenly Ski Resort.

And unlike most rumors, the hearsay concerning Donna Weinbrecht may indeed become reality.

With the women’s freestyle skiing star at Heavenly conducting a youth ski clinic, Heavenly Skiing Director Noel Dufty and some of his pupils seized the opportunity to find work for Weinbrecht following retirement.

“We’re trying to get her to coach here next year. Seriously,” Dufty said. “Normally when they finish they feel like they should give something back to the sport, and then normally they coach for a couple of years and then they’ll probably move into marketing.”

Weinbrecht didn’t deny the rumor and actually perpetuated it.

“I don’t know. It’s gonna be interesting to see where my career goes,” said the 1992 Olympic gold medalist. “I travel so much I don’t know where I want to live. But once a coaster, always a coaster. Coming from the east and New York City, coming this way would probably be more my lifestyle, so we’ll see what happens. I really like being here at Heavenly; it’s nice.”

Dufty estimated that it might take a $40,000 to $50,000 salary to lure Weinbrecht to Heavenly. Obviously, the area’s young skiers want her around.

“Having Donna as a coach here would be wild,” said Chris Hernandez, a rookie on the U.S. Ski Team who developed his skills at Heavenly.

The 32-year-old Weinbrecht donated $2,000 to the Heavenly Ski Foundation on behalf of her sponsor Acuvue Contact Lenses.

Weinbrecht’s background seems to suggest that coaching is a natural progression for her. The self-taught skier overcame a freestyle school closure in Killington, Vt., to reach the top of the world.

“I trained by myself and made the team by myself,” Weinbrecht said. “I still think the reason I chose this sport was that it has great atmosphere and I just like the competitors and the people.”

When Weinbrecht won a gold medal in 1992, Killington resurrected its freestyle program. “I think it sparked interest in the ski area to bring back the freestyle program,” she said.

Dufty certainly likes having Weinbrecht around, especially to motivate his developing skiers.

“Having a Donna Weinbrecht educates them on Olympic history. She’s won 46 World Cups. She’s my hero. I never won 46 World Cups,” said Dufty. “When we have Franz Klammer, Donna and all of those people wandering in our training facility and obviously with the young kids we have on the national team, it just creates that aura that if you’re with Heavenly, then you’re gonna be successful.”

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