Ski School Instructors

Kevin headshot dressed up for a day of teaching nordic skiing

Name: Kevin Koval
Hometown: Whiting, IN
Years teaching/competing: Skiing – 5 years, Cycling 30 years
Credentials and Achievements: PSIA Level 3 XC
Favorite Movie Quote: “I’m a peacock, you gotta let me fly…”

Kevin moved to CB in 2012 trading laps around Indiana cornfields on his bike for sliding on snow in paradise. Having never skied before, he devoted many, many hours to learning how to Nordic ski properly and joined the CB Nordic Youth coaching team. The team kids nicknamed him “Professor K”, either for his analytical approach to skiing or his lecturing and yelling to ski faster. Fast forward a few years and Kevin is now leading the CB Nordic Ski School and Masters Community programs where our team teaches hundreds of adults each season how to ski better and have more fun on the snow.

Alley Loop citizens race series racers on course lead by Murray

Name: Murray Banks
Hometown: Vermont and Crested Butte
Years Teaching: 30 years coaching skiing at youth and masters levels
Credentials: Regional and national recognitions for Teacher of the Year, Coach of the Year and Athlete of the Year.  Many time National Champion skiing and triathlon, 3 time world champion in skiing
Favorite Youth Skier Quote: “My teeth hurt” from too much laughing and smiling while skiing on a cold day.

Murray & Jane moved to CB after 40+ years in Northern Vermont where they built a small rural community ski club into a New England powerhouse with 100+ kids and nearly 100 masters with skiers on the podium at regional, national and world championships.  While his coaching, training and racing were at the highest levels, his teaching and coaching span all levels and he particularly enjoys using imaginative techniques to make skiing fun for kids; and helping masters skiers refine their technique and ski at a higher level of consciousness to go faster.   Murray & Jane have two sons living in CB and Chamonix who are international mountain guides and they love having the family so close and opportunities to ski with them.  And, especially to ski with their 7 year old granddaughter, Winter, who loves to tuck the downhills on xc skis! Murray coaches in both our youth and masters community programs.

Eliane at the Nordic Center

Name: Eliane Wissocq
Home town: Calais, France
Years teaching/competing: 35 years skiing, 6 years teaching, 10 years racing
Credentials and Achievements: Raced 29 Alley Loops. Raced Big Shooter Bonk (80K) twice. Never bonked 🙂
Favorite quotes1: “Only fools don’t change their mind” 2: “To every problem there are tons of solutions” 

Eliane moved to CB in 1984, just in time for the winter of 30 days and 30 nights of consecutive snow fall. She became an avid downhill skier. Spring of 1985 Eliane discovered hiking and mountain biking which led Eliane to taking her bike ‘everywhere’ she would travel to during the off seasons. In 1985 Eliane began XC skiing. She has been involved with the Nordic operations off and on until today, wearing different hats. From 2006 to 2008 and again 2014 to 2018 real jobs got in the way of a good time, training and CBN involvement. But since last winter, a more flexible work schedule has allowed Eliane to be a more active part of the Nordic Community again. She is excited to go back to sharing her passion via instructing this winter and hope to engage in racing a little more. 

Jenn headshot at Crested Butte Nordic in black and white

Name: Jennifer Vona
Hometown: Media, PA
Years teaching: 5 years Nordic
Credentials: PSIA Level 3 XC
Fave movie quote: “Hey, there are skittles in there!”

A transplanted Philly girl, Jenn has lived in Crested Butte for 8 years, and learned how to Nordic ski on CBNC jaw-dropping trails, as an adult, at 9,000 feet. Yikes. Jenn brings a fun, enthusiastic and energetic teaching style to the CBNC coaching staff – equally at ease (and empathetic!) with first-time adults or advanced skiers looking to tweak their technique. With 35+ years performing in complex skill sports ranging from alpine skiing, telemark, dance, gymnastics, tennis and sculling, she understands the importance of being body aware, taking things slow, and that there is no substitute for efficiency and proper form – no matter how fast or fit. Oh, and style points DO matter.

Joellen headshot at Crested Butte Nordic

Name: Joellen (friends call her Jojo) Fonken
Years teaching/competing: Skiing – forever; nordic skiing – 20 years
Credentials and Achievements: PSIA Level II Instructor

Joellen lives in the Gunnison Valley for winters.  She started skiing at the age of 3, trying to keep up with her older siblings on the hill, but it wasn’t until early 2000s that she skied on nordic track and understood what those “skinny skis” were for.  She is an American Norwegian and will argue with anyone that calls her Norwegian sweaters ugly. Teaching at Crested Butte Nordic for the last 3 seasons has been great! She loves that she gets to meet people from all over the world and be inspired by nordic skiing as a lifetime sport.  Being a PSIA Level II instructor challenges her to enhance her own skiing, while still having fun with the kick and glide.

Cam with frosted beard training for ski mountaineering

Name: Cam Smith
Hometown: Rockford, Illinois
Years teaching/competing: 6 years
Credentials and Achievements: 2x Grand Traverse Triple Crown winner and 7x skimo National Champion.
Favorite Movie Quote: “If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.”

Born and raised in the great state of Illinois, Cam moved to the Valley in 2014 to find out what all the hype was about. After graduating from Western in 2017 Cam hopped straight over to the Nordic Center to coach masters, lessons, youth programs, and Grand Traverse clinics. With having built a repertoire in Nordic, Alpine, Skimo, and Backcountry, Cam loves all things skiing. He believes there is magic out there in the snow and wants you to feel it too. Lastly, Cam is well known for obviously being one of the most eligible bachelors in the valley.

Kelsey on the river near Crested Butte

Name: Kelsey Brennan
Hometown: Nevada City, California
Years teaching/competing: 4 years teaching, 2 years coaching Whitman College ski team, competing since age 6
Credentials: NCAA Ski Team Competitor-Whitman College, USCSA National Competition competitor-Whitman College

Kelsey started working summers outside Crested Butte at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory in 2014. After 4 summers wandering the mountains, Kelsey moved to Crested Butte full time, pursuing work at the Nordic Center and a bakery.  While alternating days of skiing and baking croissants, Kelsey started teaching the Masters Community program and lessons, bringing her experience with college athletes to each session.  Kelsey loves teaching proper classic technique and how to ski to enjoy the views.  She is thrilled to work at the Nordic Center on and off the snow, meeting new people and sharing the love of skiing!