Interview by Jeff Schmuck
Photos courtesy of Shreducation & Tom Dolezel
How's it going lately Tom?
It's been going really well. Lots of good times and good things as usual.
Tell us about the new project you're working on, Shreducation.
Shreducation began as a snowboard coaching program and has been very successful. It was started by Jesse Fulton, who was a pro snowboarder and was this past winter’s Canadian Olympic halfpipe coach. Shreducation was even developed into its own TV show that airs on Nickelodeon and Disney. I've known Jesse for a long time and we got together and decided we needed to do something similar for skiing. So it's basically going to be the best ski program out there for kids who want to take the reigns and learn how to become pro.
Shaun White with Shreducation founder Jesse Fulton.
Tell us about what Shreducation has done for snowboarding, and if the ski side of it will differ in any way.
It's going to be pretty similar. It will be geared towards your ability via a system we have called G.A.P.S., (Grom, Am, Pro, Shred) which is a tiered system set up to take any rider through the fundamental steps of progression. It's a formula that’s proven successful for the program, so we're going to stick to it. It’s proven well and has produced over 10 pros and 6 Olympians with this method of training and progression in snowboarding, so I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t work for skiing.
What snowboarders have come out of the program and made a name for themselves?
Quite a few actually, including Jeff Batchelor and Palmer Taylor, who were both in the Olympics, Harrison Gray, who rides for Burton and Nike 6.0, Zach Stone and Jesmond Dubeau, who both kill it, and the list goes on and on.
Speaking of the Olympics, how will this program factor into the expected announcement that halfpipe and possibly slopestyle skiing will be included in the 2014 Games?
That's actually kind of why we've gotten the program off the ground this winter. We're pretty focused on the 2014 Olympics, because there's a lot of really talented kids here, and we want to help accelerate their progress to get them to the level they need to be at if they want to try to go to the Olympics. If they have the talent in them, then our goal is to help expose it for them.
The program will focus solely on helping kids improve their skiing, and won't take the place of actual school correct?
That's right, but we do have some relationships with schools, so the program can count as a physical education credit, as it takes place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, so it takes a day from your school. But also, if your grades slip while you're in the program, then you have to go back to school until they improve before you can continue in Shreducation. So education is definitely built into the program, but it's not like a full ski academy.
Tom Dolozel & Tom Chenoweth of MTV.
As you mentioned there's a reality TV show on Shreducation on Nickelodeon. Will your program be a part of that as well?
Yeah we'll develop one after our first year. We'll shoot a pilot for it and then figure out which athletes we want to feature, and then go from there. There's always cameras around, but they never interfere with the coaching, so it's more of an addition. Plus it'll be really good for skiing, because it will help shed some light on where freeskiing is going to people who don't normally get a chance to see that.
Where is this program based out of? And where will the kids train?
It's based out of Blue Mountain, Ontario, and we'll be training in the park there. We also have relationships with other nearby mountains like Mount St Louis Moonstone, so if the park is better elsewhere on a particular weekend, we'll have the option to train there instead.
Who can sign up?
Anybody can sign up, if you're 8 years old to 28 years old. Whether it's your first week in the park, or you know what you're doing but are looking for that little push to take it to the next level.
Who will be coaching?
Myself, and depending on how many kids we have sign up, other potential coaches under our umbrella include Charles Grant, Andrew McIver during the Christmas break, Jon Harris, Chris Savage and Matt O’Malley.
What will be the schedule for the winter? Will the kids who sign up go to different events and whatnot?
The basic dates will cover all of Christmas break and Spring break in March, and then on Friday, Saturday and Sunday's throughout the winter a total of about 60 days on snow with instruction. And then on top of that we’ll do some trips here and there depending on if the kids want to go to certain contests and who's qualified for what.
What is the primary goal of Shreducation, what do you hope to achieve with it?
Just to develop young up and coming athletes and help bring them to a professional level. We want to help steer them in the right direction while encouraging them to progress their skills and maximize their potential, all while keeping safety in mind.
Anything else you want to add?
If I had anything like this when I was learning how to ski and then trying to become pro it definitely would have happened a lot faster for me. I had a lot of trial and error getting into the pro world and these days things are happening a lot more quickly, so there’s less freedom to make mistakes and/or slow yourself down for a season, because that will cause you to fall too far behind. So it’s kind of a luxury to have this sort of program if you’re looking to become pro or even just impress yourself and learn the tricks you want to learn. So if that’s you, go for it.
Message from Tom from Shreducation TV on Vimeo.
For more information on Shreducation and to sign up, go to http://www.shreducation4e.com.