NYSEF Freestyle Coach and Alum, Justin Perry (JP), is embarking on a new adventure as a civil and environmental engineering student at Clarkson University later this summer. Although he is excited to start the next chapter, the move is bittersweet as he will miss his first love, coaching. 

JP’s career at NYSEF started as an athlete in 1999 as a Nordic Ski Jumping athlete with Coach Larry Stone. In 2003, he switched to freestyle and went to Northwood School as a sophomore.  While attending Northwood, he was the only athlete dedicated to freestyle skiing. “As the only athlete, JP had to be driven in order to continue in the sport,” Whiteface Freeride Program Director, Mike Kirchner commented. “With park skiing up and coming, JP had to advocate for himself…and like any park skier, had fun doing it,” Kirchner added.  Because he was not training with many peers, JP’s development as an athlete came from being self-motivated and goal-oriented.

JP’s goal was to compete as a top freestyle skier in the country so he continued a competitive journey in Bend, Oregon after Northwood. While out west, he was a Ski Instructor at Mt. Bachelor and competed in regional competitions. With a small contingent of young ski instructors, he helped initiate a program to offer the first ever “freestyle lessons” within the Mt. Bachelor Ski School.

 After moving back to Lake Placid, JP began to dabble in coaching while competing, and working with “MeatHead Films,” the “East Coast” ski-film company created by the founders of “Ski the East.” He was featured in their films: “Head For the Hills” (2008), “Wild Stallions” (2009), and “Prime Cut” (2011).

In the summer of 2007, JP began working at the aerial pool in Lake Placid under Chris Kasper as the assistant freestyle coach for NYSEF. During this time he realized his passion and strength for helping athletes develop and grow, and soon coaching became a top priority.  JP stepped into the role of head coach at the beginning of the 2011-2012 season which was a natural progression that supported his career’s growth.

A schedule jam packed with events, training and competitions, JP still had a commitment to education. He completed his associate’s degree at North Country Community College in liberal arts with a concentration in math and sciences. From an early age, JP had a niche for sciences especially physics which developed into an “underlying force and a love of engineering,” said JP.

In freestyle skiing, everything is always changing and you need to be passionate and committed to the sport to stay on top as a good coach and leader in the industry. “In park skiing, there is no clear road map… since it is such a young sport, people like JP have helped to create a path,” Kirchner adds. “As tricks and the sport are constantly changing, you have to adapt.” 

All of these skills that JP has honed during his time as an athlete and coach have proven to be the perfect segue into this next chapter of his life. As the climate changes and environmental awareness becomes increasingly important, one of JP’s goals is to “make sure natural resources are protected.”

JP was asked to provide some last minute coaching advice to athletes: “If you made all the preparation steps, have the guts to go for it…never fear failure… you can always re-calibrate and try again… this is a process through which life’s most valuable lessons are learned… if you feel that you have mastered a skill go forth and have the courage to apply your training in a competitive arena.”

During his tenure with NYSEF, JP was able to train top athletes in the sport, travel the world all while growing his lifelong lifelong love and commitment to snowsports. At NYSEF, he has gained “patience from working with youth athletes” but most importantly, he is “grateful for the relationships shared with each and every person, and for feeling a strong sense of purpose to wake up and enjoy going to work every day.” 

JP will be coaching most of the summer so he is not done yet!

With the departure of JP, there is a full-time head freestyle coach position at Whiteface. There are also several part-time opportunities at Belleayre and Gore. For freeride employment opportunities, please contact Program Director, Mike Kirchner at mikek@nysef.org.