Board of Directors
Greg Harden - Chair
Greg Harden is the CEO of Harden Furniture, a 172-year-old manufacturer of high-end residential and commercial furnishings. In addition to his role at NYSEF, he serves as a member of the board of the Utica Mutual Insurance Company and the New York Design Center. He serves as an officer for several not-for-profits.
His skiing career began at Snow Ridge as a Junior and continued at Colgate University until he made the decision to focus on golf as the school expanded their Division 1 schedule. His three children began skiing at Snow Ridge in the 1990s, moving into the NYSEF program as weekend participants in 1999. All three attended Northwood School and were competitive skiers in college. Brad and Max Harden were members of the Saint Michael’s Ski Team and competed in FIS, EISA and NCAA events.
Greg began coaching at Snow Ridge prior to nearly 20 years of coaching with the NYSEF program. He is a USSA Level 200 coach.
Peter Benedetto II - Vice Chairman
Peter's day job involves working in New York City, as part of his family's Real Estate and Investment Company. He grew up on Long Island, which is where he learned to ski (yes, really!) In the off-season, he can usually be found sailing in team and fleet races for the New York Yacht Club.
"All four of our children have gone through the NYSEF program, starting in 1992, with two eventually moving on to ski race in college," reports Peter. "We got into NYSEF because my wife and I simply couldn't believe that a program would take all of our kids for the whole day... allowing us to go skiing! Little did we know where it would lead."
Peter and his wife continue to ski each weekend, regardless of the conditions (as we can see from his photo).
Kevin Brady - Secretary
Kevin Brady is a partner and co-founder of Long Run Wealth Advisors, LLC, a Lake Placid–based financial advisory firm. Kevin grew up in Saranac Lake and recently returned to the Tri-Lakes after over two decades of living in Boston and New York City. He has been involved in asset management, trading and research for more than twenty years, working at a variety of global institutions. He is excited to be a part of the NYSEF board both as an avid skier and as a parent of three children who are active participants in both the Alpine and Nordic programs. Kevin himself grew up as a member of the NYSEF alpine racing program and has been excited to see it continue to expand and grow to be one of the leading ski programs in the country.
In addition to his NYSEF service, Kevin is also a board member of the Adirondack Health Foundation, the St. Joseph’s Treatment and Recovery Center, the Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA) and the Lake Placid Land Conservancy. He and his wife, Teresa, are active members of the Tri-Lakes community and are excited to have the opportunity to raise their three children in the Adirondacks.
Karen Finnerty - Treasurer
Karen is a resident of New York State, where she splits her time between the Albany area, New York City, and Lake Placid. Karen works in Commercial Banking where she leads national teams focused on Syndications, Healthcare, Technology, and Sponsor Finance. Karen and her husband Emmet are avid recreational skiers and enjoy most winter weekends at Whiteface where their children grew up skiing. The family has participated in NYSEF since 2016, in both Alpine and Skier Cross programs. Through NYSEF, their children have learned so much more than proper technique; they have learned independence, accountability, and the value of hard work. Karen earned a bachelor’s degree in Finance from Siena College. Karen has served as a subcommittee chair for the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women Luncheon, committee member for the American Cancer Society’s Gala of Hope, including as a co-chair for the event, member of the Board of Directors for Junior Achievement of Northeastern New York, as a member of the Siena College Board of Associate Trustees, campaign manager for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Man & Women of the Year campaign, and as a committee member for the American Cancer Society’s Basket Ball event. In addition to skiing, Karen enjoys running, cycling, golf, and cooking.
Andrea Henkel-Burke lives and works in Lake Placid with Olympian husband, Tim Burke. Andrea is familiar to snow sports (and being an Olympian). She participated in 4 Olympic Games (2002-2014) for Biathlon, where she won two gold medals, a silver medal and a bronze medal. Andrea was the first biathlete to win gold in all individual disciplines. In 16 years of the World Cup, she landed on the podium forty-six times.
In Lake Placid, Andrea is a personal trainer. Her experience as a former professional sportswoman helps her support clients in achieving their personal goals.
Annella White Dignes
Annella has a long history in events and marketing, starting a yacht vacation company that later evolved into a corporate/private events company. While running her business and then in various marketing roles, she found great joy in raising her three children, Kelsey, Kenzi and Blake and putting in hundreds of miles a year as the “race parent! When asked about her interest in joining the NYSEF board she said, “When NYSEF came to Belleayre I was on-hand to celebrate, and to encourage families to take advantage of the programs. Whether the athletes remain at Belleayre, or progress in a manner that may lead them to other NYSEF venues, I believe this organization has a significant positive impact in the lives of young skiers, riders and their families.”
Annella’s children were born into a skiing family and joined the NYSEF program at different levels and specialties concentrating primarily on alpine. “Kelsey and Kenzi started at the National Sports Academy (NSA) - Kenzi continued at NSA while Kelsey went to Northwood School. All three skied on their college teams at Syracuse, Cornell and Dartmouth (Blake skied Alpine and started the freestyle team at Dartmouth).“
Annella is no stranger to the various opportunities NYSEF has to offer! “My experience with the different programs across the state will help me contribute to the future success of NYSEF at Belleayre and beyond. Given all that NYSEF provided to our children, I see this as an opportunity to give back.,” she commented.
Stephanie is a Central New York native who resides in Glens Falls, NY with her husband and three sons. She grew up ski racing and spent most of her childhood between the slopes of Song Mountain, Whiteface and Gore. While attending St. Lawrence University, Stephanie also played midfield on the women’s soccer team. She is an English teacher currently working alongside her husband at his two construction businesses. All three of their boys carry on her love of ski racing in the NYSEF Gore programs. Stephanie says, ”I know my children are gaining invaluable life experience by being a part of NYSEF...They are learning independence, how to fail, yet persevere and how to be competitive, yet humble. The confidence they will gain throughout their time with NYSEF will help them achieve all of their goals in life.”
Bill graduated from Siena College in Loudonville, NY with a Bachelor of Science in Economics and a Minor in Business Administration. He was first introduced to Whiteface Mountain when he became an adult ski instructor in the early 90's. In his free time, Bill enjoys skiing, golfing and fishing.
As a parent of a NYSEF Alpine and Jumping athlete, Bill particularly enjoys watching the U10 and U12 athletes race in the Ed Damp World Cup series. "Whether the athletes are new to racing, or have been at it for a few years, it's always fantastic to see the kids' enthusiasm and tangible progress from one race to the next."
Dr. Helena Hozak Haase
Helena is a pediatric anesthesiologist at Albany Medical Center, where she has been taking care of children and adults over 20 years and will be joining the anesthesia department of Champlain Valley Physician Hospital in Plattsburg. She was born and raised in the Czech Republic in a family of ardent outdoor sports enthusiasts in the beautiful hills of the Bohemian Switzerland National Park.
Both her children joined NYSEF in 2010, participating in a number of freestyle ski disciplines before committing exclusively to competitive mogul skiing. Her daughter, Emma has retired from competitive skiing and is studying at Georgetown University. Her son, Max continues to pursue competitive mogul skiing and his desire to train year around brought them full-time to Lake Placid, where he is enrolled in Northwood School.
Helena believes that the “best athletes cannot rise to the top without family and community support...NYSEF has been a strong presence in providing such support to hundreds of athletes by promoting athleticism, providing financial resources, venues, and opportunities for elite skiers and snowboarders as well as grassroots competitive sports.” She added, “today, it is important to not only find more gifted and successful athletes but improve the physical and mental health of our future generations... as a mother and physician, there is nothing else I would ask for.”
Hailing from Long Island, Howard owns and operates two technology businesses located in northern New Jersey. Years ago in an attempt to escape the crowds at Hunter, he and his wife, Peggy, started making trips to Whiteface and fell in love with the Adirondacks. They continued to make these trips after their four children came along, and someone suggested that they put their oldest daughter into 'the race program' so that she could learn to ski properly. Seventeen years later, all four children have benefited from the life lessons that NYSEF had to offer.
Howard still enjoys spending winter weekends in Lake Placid, skiing, and is grateful that NYSEF has given his family a lifetime sport in common.
Dr. Richard Smith
Weibrecht is a three-time Olympian, Lake Placid native, and lifelong skier of Whiteface. He was awarded Silver in Sochi in 2014 and Bronze in Vancouver in 2010, both in Super G. Most recently, the new quad at the Base Area (at Whiteface) that services the race arena is named “Warhorse,” which is Weibrecht’s nickname because of his reputation for skillfully attacking the mountain when he races. Whiteface is proud to designate The Andrew Weibrecht Finish Arena, serviced by the Warhorse Quad beginning in winter 2022.
Weibrecht started skiing at the age of two, chasing his brothers on the trails at Whiteface. He joined NYSEF’s race program where he developed his speed career, progressing to three Olympic Games and attended Northwood School and eventually Dartmouth College. Weibrecht was inducted into US Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame in 2018, and the Lake Placid Hall of Fame in 2017.
When he is not skiing, he is spending time with his beautiful family, adventuring in the Adirondacks and managing the award-winning, Mirror Lake Inn.
Jennifer Hunt Dempsey
Jenn earned her bachelor's degree in communications from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University. She has spent most of her career in public broadcasting with roles in marking/communications, programming/broadcast management, and program distribution. She has also worked in conservation and education and has served on several non-profit boards in the Saratoga area, including Saratoga PLAN and Wilton Wildlife Preserve and Park. She and her husband, Steve, live in Saratoga Springs and have three alpine ski racers who have participated in various NYSEF programs, including Gore and Whiteface weekend programs, Winter Term, and Northwood School.
Steve has spent most of his career as a leader in not-for-profit organization innovation, hospital governance, health policy development, and emergency medical services. Steve and Tricia live in Delmar, right outside of Albany, and have made countless trips to North Creek and Lake Placid in support of their NYSEF athlete son. Steve is excited by the interdisciplinary nature of NYSEF’s programs. “My son started as a U10 at Gore and is now a Lake Placid-based Northwood School/NYSEF Nordic Combined athlete. NYSEF has given him the gift of a lifelong love of alpine and the opportunity to excel through the ski jumping program.” Steve is a native New Yorker with an undergraduate degree from the University of Buffalo and a graduate degree from Duke University.
William "Will" Hollister is originally from Old Forge, N.Y., and moved to Lake Placid in 1993. Will raced Alpine until he was fifteen years old and then competed in all three disciplines of freestyle, aerial, ballet, and moguls out of Waterville Valley, NH. He is a graduate of Paul Smiths College and a Professional Licensed Land Survey in the State of N.Y. working and surveying the Adirondack Park for 23 years. Will coached Alpine for 20 years with the Polar Bear Ski Team at McCauley Mtn. He has been active in helping with the race trail crew at Whiteface for the past few years. Will's daughters Alexis & Karleigh Hollister attended Winter Term at NYSEF throughout their high school years, and Karleigh graduated from Northwood School in 2022. He and his wife own two retail stores on Main St. in Lake Placid. Will says he truly enjoys skiing and loves to teach and share his knowledge with kids and the love of the sport and to get better at their discipline. He enjoys mountain biking, hiking, and boating with his family and friends. Will's coaching philosophy is to have fun and enjoy what you do, work hard, and don’t take yourself too seriously.
Emeritus - Horst Weber
Emeritus - Janet Bliss
Emeritus - Art Lussi
Emeritus - Jim White