Middle Park welcomes new Nordic ski coach
Middle Park High School will welcome Mike Lohman as their new Nordic ski coach this season. Lohman brings decades of coaching and teaching experience to the school in hopes of reinvigorating the ski program.
Lohman has been skiing his entire life, but spent most of his youth as a competitive long distance runner, earning Division-1 All American honors at Colorado State University. After school he coached cross-country and track at Cherry Creek High School, where he also taught an automotive class.
He left Colorado to train in Oregon for the 1980 Olympic games, though he didn’t make the team. He returned to Colorado to take a job at the Front Range Community College, where he continued to teach automotive.
Coaching has always been a part of Lohman’s life. He served as the assistant track coach at CSU for a number of years, and returned to coach women’s soccer at CSU while his daughter was on the team in 1990.
It wasn’t until his early 40’s that he took up Nordic skiing.
“I just got lucky I think,” said Lohman. “I was in Denver and I won the Governor’s Cup. Dick Taylor, the head Nordic coach for our national ski team, came up to me and told me I should be a Nordic skier. He asked me to do some running camps for him up at Devil’s Thumb Ranch, and he worked with me on my Nordic skiing.”
Lohman went on to become one of the nation’s preeminent master class Nordic skiers, and has been working with Nordic skiers in the area for years. In 2002 he began working with students at Fraser Elementary, and later took on a role with East Grand Middle School. He also serves as the vice president of the Grand Nordic Ski Club
Enthusiasm is the key to Lohman’s coaching philosophy.
“You need to have enthusiasm and energy,” he said. “That power is what makes kids grow and develop and move to the next level. You don’t scoff at their enthusiasm; you just encourage it and light it up. All of a sudden they’re feeling better about who they are and what they’re doing.”
Lohman said that the program has been up and down over recent years, in large part due to the realities of only being able to practice for an hour a day. He said that he intends to focus on preseason conditioning, and that he wants every skier to see significant improvement as the season goes on. “The truth is it’s been a good program, but we can get better,” he said. “We’ve got the snow, the kids and the enthusiasm to make this thing happen. And I think we can have a great season.”
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