Program Director - Head Coach
Tony Olin grew up skiing at Cedar Hills (just off the end of the Flying Cloud Airport runway). He had long hair - really long, and a lot of it; wore a ski hat to bed to keep it straight. Since that time, TonyO has cut his hair - and lost some of it too; traveled the world as a ski racer; become an elder-statesman of ski racing in the Untied States (one of few Level 500 Certified coaches in the US); raised two children with his better half Julie; and continues to be committed to the advancement of ski racers everywhere - whether they're just starting out, or aspire to World Cup level performance.
Assistant Director - Eric Levander
Started racing for Team Afton 37yrs ago, still associated with Team today….Passion. Racer; 20 yr Coach; Team Afton Board Member; TA Uniform Guy. And now they give me a title! FIS level ski racer – Central and Rocky Divisions; 1989 MN State Ski Championship Team, Woodbury High School
Coach - Jake Lund
Jake grew up skiing at Team Afton for many years before going on to ski at Stratton Mountain School and then the Middlebury College Ski Team. Jake is returning to Team Afton after four years coaching at Killington Mountain School and with the MadAlpine Ski Club. Jake brings more than two decades of racing and coaching experience to Team Afton.
Coach - Emily Nash
Grew up Team Afton - poster child. Skied for UMN, L100 Coach Certified, 3rd season coaching Team Afton and coach for OL SkiRacing School. Famously told her coach in the starting gate of a very fast Junior Olympic Downhill that claimed the previous racer with a sled ride: "I'm trusting you..."
Lead Coach Teresa Buechner Christenson
Grew up racing Team Afton!
Junior Olympian, all American at St Olaf college. Learned from the best, the TonyO, in college. Level 100 certified. Have two daughters that race on the team, Ashley and Lauren. Married to a lovely husband, Eric, who also happens to be Team Afton's Treasurer. Love coaching and helping our racers progress in their development. Coaching off and on - more on, since 2000.
Rising Star Lead Coach - Casey Charlson
Coach since 2004. St. Olaf College captain and lead team to Collegiate Nationals. Qualified for US Nationals with guys like Daren Rahlves. Won some FIS races - like, who knows - I'm being modest. Grew up Team Afton leading my punk, younger - bigger brothers. Works mostly with Rising Stars. State Farm Agent. Family: Caylee and Connor and wife Kristin.
COACH - Joe Dean
Joe Learned how to ski in high school from a best friend that raced USSA. He became a ski instructor at Afton when his kids were on the D-team at age 5. He instructed for 7 years and has his USSS Level 100 coaching license. He lives in Stillwater with Stephanie his wife and two kids, Madi and Parker. He has enjoyed many years of fun family times while chasing two (now FIS age) ski racing kids around the country and volunteering as a US Ski Official at numerous races. Madi now lives in Park City and continues to peruse her ski racing dreams while Parker hung up the race skis to peruse his talents in the terrain park.
COACH - Liesl Schultz, aka Wildflower
Liesl grew up skiing at Welch Village, participating primarily with D-team, high school and Nastar programs, along with USCSA in college. In her early twenties, an attempted retirement from race programs ensued, but Liesl couldn’t stay out of the snow, discovering twin tips and big jumps, skins and the backcountry of UTAH. After a few seasons away, she’s found herself back in Minnesota for work and family, and is excited to join TonyO and Team Afton.
29 years old, Grew up in Hudson WI and spent my time racing at Team Afton under TonyO’s Tutelage. Attended St Olaf college - leading their soccer team with my two brothers to the MIAC title. Spent some time out in vail skiing and working at legendary Gasthof Gramshammer - still trying to get out west as much as I can. Famously discovered one of my legs was much shorter than the other after TonyO's prodding - put a lift under my binding and instantly became a better skier - biomechanics. This will be my 4th year at Team Afton coaching.
Nate raced for the University of St. Thomas and competed in multiple USCSA nationals. Prior to that, he was an All-State skier at Hastings. Along with being a Team Afton Coach for several years, he has coached at the collegiate level, ran high school programs, and coached adult racers. He has been coaching for over 15 years. When not on the hill coaching, Nate enjoys skiing with his daughter Ainsley and enjoying life with his wife Lucy. He also likes waterskiing, playing soccer, mountain biking and golf, and has a special passion for motor car racing.
“Coaching at Team Afton is like being a rocket scientist. But you need to do it out in the cold with skis on.”
Dr. Dave Thorson
Dr. Dave started coaching in the early 1970’s as a Buddy Werner coach at Park City. He became Head coach at Duluth Alpine Club and UMD for 3 years, moved back to the Twin Cities to resume his college education. He coached on and off for the next decade+. His coaching resumed in 1994 with Team Afton. He has coached at the divisional and national level as well as worked as a physician covering skiing locally, nationally and internationally. Dave is our resident ski-tuning-guru and CANT'ing technician, while he continues to provide volunteer physician coverage for the US Ski Team. As a ski racer, he raced in high school, college. He was the Age group National NASTAR champion in the under 30 – 40 age group.
The youngest of the Charlson brigade, he shone brightest. Graduated from Winona State University, following a stellar career on their football team. Chauncey skied with Team Afton since he was 5 along with his brothers Colin and Casey-eventually learning all their secrets and fashioning himself as the most stylish of the Charlsons. Though modest, Chauncey was a top level Mid-Am skier, a Team Central member, a US Nationals competitor, and a silver medalist at the J2 Junior Olympics. Oh, as a High School skier--he won the individual MSHL State Title, too. We are privileged to have Chauncey impart his special skills of ski racing to our members.
Career Summary - United States Ski Association Competitor, Collegiate Competitor, World Pro and Coors Tour Competitor, International Military Alpine Competitor as well as various other ski racing leagues and teams. Seasoned alpine ski coach with extensive background across all ability levels and age groups. That sums it up - Doug is in it for life! He's got so many stories (and some of them true). Doug was actually coaching TonyO when he first entered the ski racing fray - must've stuck, they're both still going strong in a sport they share a passion for.
Doug is a Level 400 US Ski and Snowboard certified coach - and one of TonyO's chief collaborators and principle Minion.