STRATTON — Stratton Mountain School has named Brian Knowles as their Action Sports Admissions Coordinator, establishing a new position within the school’s current admissions team.
“We are very excited to have Brian joining us,” said Head of School Carson Thurber ’02. “He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our admissions department, and I look forward to seeing more talented action sports student-athletes join our thriving community.”
Knowles has been involved in competitive winter sports since he was a child. Beginning competitive skiing in VARA at 6 years old, Knowles cut his teeth alpine racing. At 13 years old, he switched to mogul skiing and joined Stratton Mountain Resort’s weekend program. Knowles later transferred to Carrabassett Valley Academy, a private ski and snowboard academy at the base of Sugarloaf Mountain in Carrabassett Valley, Maine to pursue his passion for freestyle skiing. He went on to compete at the FIS level, attending national competitions throughout his high school career.
Following graduation, Knowles briefly attended Montana State University before deciding to pursue a career in coaching. He moved back East and began coaching full-time with the Stratton Weekend Program, which led him to an Assistant Freestyle Coach position at Mount Snow Academy. Knowles left MSA to start the freestyle program at the Bromley Outing Club.
After four years at Bromley, he assumed the head role at Mount Snow Academy, where he met and hired Jesse Mallis, SMS’s current Freeski Program Director. Knowles has run the freestyle program at the Stratton Winter Sports Club for the last ten years and is currently the head of the Freestyle/Freeski program at the Mount Snow Training Center.
The connection forged at Mount Snow Academy between Brian and Jesse in the mid-2000s began a long and storied relationship between the two coaches. “I trained Jesse during that time,” explained Knowles. “Because of that, our coaching philosophies and methodologies are still very much the same today, which is one of the many reasons this partnership makes sense.”
Over the last few years, Knowles has dedicated his time to building the Mount Snow Training Center freestyle and freeski programs in West Dover, Vermont. The weekend-based program at MSTC provides a high-level weekend-based experience; however, Knowles has struggled to provide a launchpad for athletes looking to transition from regional programming to more national-based competitions.
“Take the Futures and Revolution Tours, for example. Those events require more extensive travel, are often mid-week competitions, and are host to full-time academy-based athletes. To be competitive on that level, more training than a weekend program can provide becomes necessary.” Knowles explained.
Given his relationship with Mallis, Knowles approached Thurber to create a role within Stratton Mountain School’s existing admissions team to bridge the gap between a strong weekend program like Mount Snow’s and an elite full-time program like Stratton Mountain School.
“Carson also recognized a need for a more established pipeline and feeder program within action sports programs,” continued Knowles. “Through my role, SMS will have direct access to a talented pool of athletes that are ready to take their training to the next level.”
Knowles will continue in his position as the Freestyle/Freeski head coach at the Mount Snow Training Center, in addition to fulfilling his duties as the action Sports admissions coordinator for Stratton Mountain School.