"It's an honor for me to be able to be a part of this new beginning at Western," Wiens said. "I have the opportunity to give back as the school moves into a new and exciting era, with a new name, amazing new facilities and new programs.
"While much about Western is new, excellence in mountain sports is part of our heritage. The Mountain Sports team will be built on the foundation that has been established by a long list of Mountaineer mountain sports athletes, whose accomplishments are part of the history and legacy of Western."
Wiens will oversee the operations for the Western Mountain Bike team, the Free-ride Ski team, the Skiercross and Boardercross teams, and the Nordic Ski team. He will also be involved in recruiting, fundraising and budgeting for the program, and will coordinate interaction between the teams in regards to facility and recreational land usage throughout the Gunnison Valley.
Under Weins, the Mountain Sports teams are expected to build on their recent successes in gravity and endurance mountain biking, and the free-ride and Nordic skiing programs.
"I'm motivated to work with the two main pieces we have in place now, the Mountain Bike team and the ski team, and continue to build on what is already in place and has moved both of these teams forward during the last few years,” Wiens said. "Additionally, I think there are some yet to be explored opportunities out there that could fit nicely into the Mountain Sports program."
Possible expansion opportunities include snowboarding, cyclocross, road cycling, ski mountaineering, trail running and whitewater kayaking. The Mountain Sports teams will have access to some of the top recreational areas in the nation with nearby Hartman Rocks and Crested Butte Mountain Resort.
Wiens joined the professional circuit in 1988, racing for Diamondback Bicycles, and retired from professional cycling in 2004. In his professional career, he won two World Cup series races, finished third in a World Cup final and won the U.S. Mountain Biking National Championships twice. Wiens won six consecutive Leadville 100 races and became the first cyclist to break the seven-hour mark in 2007.