Sasha Rearick, a 1999 graduate of Western, has worked tirelessly for more than 10 years to earn the right to coach the US Olympic Men’s Alpine Ski Team. Rearick, who graduated from Western with a double major in business and kinesiology, coached Western’s downhill ski team during his junior and senior year before earning an internship at the U.S .Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. He traveled to Sochi, Russia this year and is responsible for coaching the entire U.S. Men’s Alpine Team, including the downhill, giant slalom, slalom and super g athletes.
Rearick grew up in New York City and attended high school in Maine so he could compete in ski racing.
“I knew I wanted to go out west to college,” Rearick says, “I knew Western had a ski team at the time and offered a great education with small classes, so I sent in my application.”
Sasha says the close relationships he developed with professors made Western feel like a private college.
“I learned from professors who had both PhDs and practical experience in the real world,” he says, “I was able to work closely with these professors, and they helped launch me into the career I have today.”
Rearick was diagnosed as dyslexic at a young age, and Western's small faculty to student ratio appealed to him.
Former Western Learning Assistance Center Director Jan Edwards told the Gunnison Times in 2008, “He was one of the most outstanding students I’ve ever worked with.” She called Sasha, “Incredibly responsible, very driven and academically gifted.”
Some of his favorite memories from Western include skiing at Crested Butte Mountain Resort, playing rugby, mountain biking in Moab, and ice climbing in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.
“I learned a ton outside of the classroom,” he says, “when you do things like skiing and climbing and playing rugby, you learn a lot about teamwork and camaraderie.”
After Rearick’s internship at the U.S. Olympic Training Center, he was hired as a ski coach at the Green Mountain Valley School in Vermont. He met his wife, Katrin, while working at the school and, after 3 years, they moved to Park City, Utah, where he was hired as a Europa Cup coach on the U.S. Ski Team. Rearick quickly moved up through the ski team ranks, becoming an assistant coach on the World Cup team, then a development coach, a technical coach, and then head coach of the U.S. Men’s Alpine Team in 2008.
While Rearick has traveled the world coaching some of the best skiers in the business, his Western education and experience living in Gunnison has stuck with him.
“Skiing and competition is at the heart of Western, and I think the people that come to the Gunnison Valley have tremendous passion,” he says, “I hope to share that passion and continue with that message and teaching people what they’re capable of doing.”
Rearick and his wife, Katrin, have two children, Tasman and Zali, and live in Park City, Utah.
Profile photo: Sarah Brunson
Photo of Ted Ligety and Sasha: Mitchell Gunn