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Pete Kochalka

FreeSki Coach
Title: FreeSki Coach
Roles: Ski Coach | Coach: Jr. FreeSki Team

Married 33 years to Holly
2 sons, Rylan & Miles
I was born in Philadelphia, PA, but my family moved to Vermont when I was a sophomore in high school.  I was the only member of the family to take up skiing, both Alpine and Nordic.  I joined my high school ski team and competed in Nordic events- cross-country racing and ski jumping.  As a student at UVM, I enjoyed recreational cross-country skiing.
Several years out of college I found myself in Aspen, CO.  My love for alpine skiing was rekindled, and I began a 15-year stretch of skiing 100 plus days a year. A winter first aid course and a Backcountry Avalanche Forecasting course prepared me for a part time job as a backcountry ski guide for Deep Powder Tours. Along with skiing in the backcountry, I enjoyed hiking and camping all times of the year. I met my future wife, Holly, in Aspen, and we decided to move back to Vermont together.
Although we settled in the Burlington area, our love of the mountains drew us to Johnson. In 1981 I joined the full time ski patrol at Smuggler’s Notch where I served first as a regular patroller, then as assistant to the Patrol Director for nearly 10 years. During my time on Smugg’s Patrol, I was an EMT and a Ski and Toboggan Trainer Examiner with the Eastern Division of the National Ski Patrol. In addition, I volunteered on the Johnson Volunteer Fire Department and was employed part time with the Lamoille Ambulance Service. While recuperating from a ski injury, I kept busy by creating a workable training manual for our local ski patrol chapter.
In 1986, we purchased land in Cambridge and built our home where we raised our two sons. In 1994, a longtime friend and I started North Woods Joinery – a post and beam construction company. With a growing family and new business, my involvement with Ski Patrol came to an end.  Although I have continued skiing with family and friends, I have missed the daily rhythm of winter life on the slopes.  I look forward to many more years of skiing, and the pleasures of sharing those experiences with kids of all ages.