When incoming Gould Academy Head of School Tao Smith saw that Brown University cut its ski program, he made the call to Alex Norden and convinced her to become Gould’s new women’s Alpine skiing head coach.

Alpine ski coach Alex Norden, right smiles during the USCSA Nationals 2020 competition. Submitted photo

Norden, who was the women’s Alpine coach for Brown University before it dropped eight sports programs to reallocate funds elsewhere, didn’t need persuasion to work for her former boss.

“You know what has happened at Brown University — skiing got cut at about the time the new school (Gould) where I was moving had a head women’s position open up — so I called Alex, and within a week we had her signed and on board, and I couldn’t be more thrilled,” Smith said. “She is an outstanding human being since she left Killington Mountain School (KMS in Vermont) at my employment years ago, and comes back as a stronger asset and role model and leader for our ski team at our school.” 

Norden grew up in Eaton, N.H., which is part of Mt. Washington Valley and offers plenty of skiing.

“Gould has a very competitive on-snow program and a great partnership with Sunday River, and especially with the expansion of the T-bar and the race trails,” Norden said. “It also has the great component of a great prep school and great education as well. I am really excited to elevate the on-snow program, but also to nurture the whole student athletes.”

Norden’s husband, Greg Miller, will be coaching Gould’s boys basketball team as well working in admissions and advancement.

Of course, taking the job at Gould had something to do with getting back together with Smith.

“My very first coaching job out of college was at Killington Mountain School … for two years and Tao was the headmaster there,” Norden said. “So I always looked up to Tao and I was really excited he was going to be the new headmaster at Gould, and when he contacted me about this position I immediately jumped on it because I think the leadership is going to be great.”

Norden pointed out that Gould has an outstanding coaching staff, coupled with a top-notch on-snow program.

“I really welcome this change. I think it is a good time and opportunity to step into the ski academy role,” she said. “I will certainly miss working with college athletes and my program in particular, but I am really excited about this opportunity.”

LOOKING BACK

Norden recently completed her fourth season as head coach of Brown’s women’s varsity team and the head coach of the men’s club team. Norden directed the team to their sixth-straight MacConnell Division Regular-Season Championship and a first-place showing at the USCSA Eastern Regionals. 

Before taking the job at Brown, Norden coached the head men’s and women’s varsity Alpine ski teams at New England College. She reinstated the program to varsity status in 2016.

At St. Lawrence University, she spent three years as the graduate assistant and strength and conditioning coach for the men’s and women’s Alpine ski team and earned her master’s degree in education leadership. From 2010-12, Norden was the U19 women’s ski coach at KMS, where she worked for Smith.

“Ski racing gave me so much that I wanted to give back, so I decided to coach for two years and took a job on a whim at KMS and quickly decided that I wanted to make a career out of it,” she said. “So I got into graduate school at St. Lawrence. So when I got my masters, I wanted to still stay in coaching.

“So I am exciting to be in this new role of women’s Alpine coach. I am really excited to collaborate with the already well-established coaching staff that is there. My heart is in coaching.”

“Even as a young coach, she was exceptional,” Smith, a Gould Academy graduate, said. “I was always impressed with her energy, her intelligence, her commitment, hard work and her insight into kids and to skiing and athletics.”

Norden was a skier for University of New Hampshire and graduated in 2010. She was also a member of the UNH track and field team and collected a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in sports studies.

“There’s people in leadership positions all over the country and the world who came from Gould Academy, and Alex has that opportunity to influence that next generation, maybe put a kid on the U.S. Ski Team, send them to the Olympics, certainly send them to compete at the D1 level or D3 level,” Smith said. “If you want a career out this, this is the place to go. It is kind of a big position and she is really excited.”

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