Ellen Post Foster
Hall of Fame Class of 2016
From world class competitor and communicator, Ellen Post Foster has spent her life studying skiing and sharing her lessons.
The Post family started skiing at Dutch Hill in Heartwellville, Vermont when twin sisters, Ellen and Marion, were five years old. The girls may have been the two littlest on the Mountain but these pixies learned quickly.
When the twins were thirteen, they took a lesson at Jiminy Peak, Massachusetts, close to their hometown in Averill Park, New York. Afterward, their instructor brought them to the Ski School Director who wanted to create a program for young skiers to become ski instructors. He formed the Jiminy Peak Junior Demonstration Team and Ellen and Marion became the first two members. The team was all about developing a strong foundation and the technical training set the course for Ellen’s career.
In 1973, Ellen won the Junior National Championship of Exhibition Skiing at Waterville, New Hampshire. Two years later in international freestyle competition, she scored top podium in each discipline: aerials, ballet, moguls and combined. The four firsts – the “hat trick” of professional freestyle – all in one year earned her “Rookie of the Year.”
Just 21 years old, Ellen was off on adventures and headed to Switzerland to film Warren Miller’s In Search of Skiing.
Ellen was recognized as a gifted and hardworking young athlete but teaching skiing was now about to become her career. Inspired by her father, Dan, a mechanical engineer, physicist and professor, and her mother, Frieda, an elementary school teacher, this “student of the sport” was motivated to excel as an educator.
Ellen earned her Professional Ski Instructor of America certification in 1980 and that very same year, she was selected for the prestigious PSIA National Demonstration Team, the ultimate achievement for a ski instructor. She served two terms – eight years – on the male-dominated elite team. At 4’-10” with a quiet school-girl voice, she was easily recognized but it was her precise skiing, clear description of technique, creative teaching and caring nature that made her memorable.
Ellen shared her thoughtful analysis of skiing in articles, written in an easy-to-understand style that skiers could take to the hill and practice. Her communication style and skills built a following. In 1984, she worked with Walt Evans to create USSA’s Youth Ski League, followed by 13 years as editor of the USSA Alpine Star newsletter. In 1992, she founded Turning Point Ski Foundation with Alan Schoenberger to provide articles, books and videos for instructors, coaches and parents to help young skiers strive for excellence.
The notes on scraps of paper in her pockets became books, beginning with Alpine Skills Achievement Manual: Wedge Turns to Race Turns. Then she wrote a 3-book series for coaching young skiers and in 1996-97, the instructional book and video, Skiing and the Art of Carving.
To this day, coaching the Winter Park Junior Race Team stands out as the highlight of her career. “The kids are so coachable, and they love learning,” says Ellen. “It allowed me to be innovative, exploring new exercise lines and methods for improvement, which I then applied in PSIA instructor clinics.”
One of her former racers, Jon Nolting, credits her influence on his role as Education Director for the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association. “Ellen is a major reason I pursue ski coaching,” says Nolting. “The lessons learned from her have heled me develop a clear philosophy on coaching.”
Ellen and her husband Brad have two children, Will and Randi. Living in Edwards, Colorado, she works on educational projects for PSIA-AASI and as a Staff Trainer for the Beaver Creek Ski and Snowboard School. As a devoted teacher of teachers, Ellen continues to share her knowledge and passion for the sport that captured her heart in childhood.
1973: 1st place, Junior National Championship of Exhibition Skiing, Waterville Valley, NH
1975: 2nd Overall, Rookie of the Year, International Freestyle Competition
1977: Featured in Warren Miller’s In Search of Skiing
1980-88: PSIA National Demonstration Team
1983, 1987: U.S. Interski Team – Sesto, Italy and Banff, Canada
1987: 1st place, Japanese National Ski Instructor’s Race
1992-2000: Co-founder, Turning Point Ski Foundation
1996: Skiing and the Art of Carving book
2014: Co-author, PSIA Alpine Technical Manual
2015: PSIA-AASI Award for Educational Excellence
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