Glad to share this interview of Craftsbury JR Coach, Audrey Mangan from GRP Rower Liz Vogt.
Audrey’s unmistakable ever-present smile and friendly hello are a welcome addition to the Craftsbury community. Audrey joined the junior coaching crew this spring and currently lives at the new coaches residence of Ruthie’s. Audrey hails from Honeoye Falls, New York and is a graduate of Harvard University. After college, Audrey coached skiing for the Boulder Nordic Junior Race Team while working as a saleswoman for Boulder Nordic Sport. She then took a break from coaching, and spent time writing for FasterSkier. She realized she missed coaching and when the assistant coach position at Harvard opened up, she jumped on the opportunity to coach again. Though she found the collegiate scene awesome and familiar, she was excited for the move to Craftsbury to gain experience in being part of a more comprehensive program with a wide range of abilities. Audrey said that college coaching is “cushy,” because kids already know how to ski and the teams are generally pretty small. This is quite different than the Craftsbury junior program, which has more than one hundred kids, many who are just learning how to ski. Looking at the bigger picture, Audrey was excited to move to Craftsbury for the community that it offers: a slower pace of life than Cambridge, a woodsier environment, and greater accessibility to the outdoors. Audrey loves being outside and Craftsbury is the perfect location for such a place.
Audrey fits in seamlessly with the Center and the way of life around here. Her favorite part about working at the Center is that “everyone here is deeply invested in the mission of the Center and is willing to go all in and pitch in whenever help is needed.” She loves supporting kids in pursuit of their goals, especially the younger ones, who are “so stoked” and exhibit “unbridled enthusiasm,” because “they don’t know to be self-conscious yet.” Audrey is often seen running around with the little ones, playing games, teaching rollerskiing, and just having a good chat. After a summer and fall of training, she is excited to see what the kids can do once the snow flies (and sticks!). She admits that it can be scary not knowing that the winter holds, but it is always something to look forward to. Her idea of “having fun” is pretty similar to what she does for work. She likes to explore new trails and go on adventures with friends. She started mountain biking this summer and was thrown right in to instructing as well, which was a fun new challenge.
Coaching in Craftsbury is certainly not what she thought she’d be doing ten years ago, but also is not very surprised. She said all the components were there, but this is not the path she was expecting. And in ten years? Audrey doesn’t know, but she wants to still be involved in skiing, whether for work or for fun. She is “psyched” that she has “no idea.” Ski coaching is a notoriously awesome and rewarding, but tiring job, where off days are rare. But the day I interviewed Audrey, she didn’t go over to the Center all day! She went for a wonderful run, built a fire in the new woodstove, and sat in front of it drinking kombucha and writing training plans with Anna.
When asked what the biggest challenge in her life was, Audrey replied “leaving the house in the morning not accidentally dressed in the same outfit as Anna.”