Board of Directors
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 coaching with the NYSEF program. He is a USSA Level 200 coach.
Peter Benedetto II
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).
Janet Bliss is a native of Lake Placid where she now has her law office. Janet was a junior alpine racer and competed for the St. Lawrence University, Division 1 Alpine team during her four years of college. Leading up to and during the 1980 Winter Olympic Games she was the assistant to the Alpine Director for the Games. At the conclusion of the Games she attended and graduated magna cum laude from Syracuse University College of Law and began her law career with Bond, Schoeneck and King in Syracuse before coming back to Lake Placid.
Her two children both started out as alpine racers with NYSEF and moved to the nordic side as ski jumpers , where they both competed nationally and internationally and later coached ski jumpers in Utah and locally. Janet continues to volunteer as an official for NYSEF and ORDA ski jumping competitions.
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.
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."
Art Lussi hails from Lake Placid where year-round sporting activities are a way of life. After receiving a well rounded education at Northwood School in 1979, he attended Dartmouth College where he walked onto the Tennis and Ski Teams. All-East, Captain and Dartmouth Carnival Champs honors highlighted his athletic career, while English became his degree in 1984. While in Law School at Syracuse, Lussi participated in the GS and Slalom at the World University Games in Jasna, Czechoslovakia, and was named Alpine Captain in 1987. Lussi joined the New York State Bar in 1989, and the District of Columba Bar in 1990, while simultaneously coaching ski racing in Vail, Colorado.
Lussi returned from Colorado in 1991 to help his family manage and operate the then Holiday Inn now Crowne Plaza Hotel. Lussi has coached ski racing with the New York Ski Education Foundation since 1991, and served as NYSEF’s Chairman for a decade. Art loves the Adirondacks, is a 46er, and appreciates the balance between athletic dedication and academic achievement.
Lussi resides in Lake Placid, and is the parent of NYSEF Ski Jumping and Alpine alumni Danielle, Nina and Miles.
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
Kip Testwuide and wife, Julie split their time between Katonah and Lake Placid, New York. Their three children were all competitive ski racers. The oldest Emily attended both Northwood and National Sports Academy (NSA) while competing with NYSEF. Kip has been an avid skier all his life and coached at Jiminy Peak for 10 years. He is excited to help NYSEF carry on its mission of helping children to have a great experience competing in a sport he loves.
Kip enjoyed a 30-year career as an investment banker in New York City. He is now an active investor, board member and advisor to several early-stage companies. Kip serves as an officer and/or director of several not-for-profit organizations including the Adirondack Land Trust, Point Positive and the Trudeau Institute in the north country.
Horst Weber has been a presence within FIS and USSA for well over 50 years. He and his wife moved to Lake Placid, NY in 1972 and began coaching at Mt. Whitney and Whiteface Mountains. He played crucial roles in many of the events leading up to the 1980 Olympics. Horst then served as Head Coach for the Whiteface Alpine Training Center (renamed NYSEF) from 1981-1984 before becoming program director in 1985. He held the position at NYSEF for 15 years, responsible for alpine programs at Whiteface and Gore mountains in addition to cross-country and ski jumping. Horst's real passion is ski coaching young athletes – he’s organized and directed race camps in Europe, South America and the United States. In 2016-2017, he volunteers regularly to take a group of U10s or U12s out to rip around the mountain.
Horst has served the sport of ski racing well in the state of New York, the Eastern Region, and the USSA for the majority of his life.
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.
With a 40+ year career in construction-related businesses, and as an entrepreneur in the Glens Falls / Lake George area, I have a unique perspective about life and work that has shaped my passion for living. A former Junior Alpine Ski Racer from Alaska, I parlayed my love of skiing into a lifelong passion, having earned my PSIA Level 3 Certification in 1971. I was a Ski Instructor in Innsbruck, Austria, at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, and at Gore Mountain. And I have maintained my Level 3 PSIA certification. In 2013, I earned my Coaching Advanced Skiing and Racing accreditation through PSIA. As well, I was a member of the team that helped NYSEF achieve Gold Certification through USSA in 2014.
I've been a part of the NYSEF Program for 10 years through my daughter, Sarah, and her Alpine Ski Racing, as well as my own involvement and commitment to the Masters Race Program at Whiteface. Sarah started in the Gore Race Program, then moved to Whiteface, and also trains at West Mountain, in Queensbury, NY. We've made life-long friends that we cherish and who share our passion for skiing and ski racing.
I, along with my wife, Beth, are ardent supporters of Sarah’s ski racing with NYSEF and at Queensbury High School. As a family, we regularly help with NYSEF fundraising as active volunteers at races, fundraisers, and as sponsors. We live at Lake George, enjoying the year-round Adirondack lifestyle.