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Someone You Should Know: John Kroetz

John Kroetz (WHAM photo)

There’s a man from Perinton who has more than just a passing interest in next month’s Olympic Winter Games. He’s the coach of the Freestyle Men’s Team at Bristol Mountain, and at least one of his athletes – likely more – will be competing in South Korea. But it’s his dedication to all the skiers in the program that makes John Kroetz Someone You Should Know.

John Kroetz is an engineer. That’s the job that pays his bills. But he’s also engineered a very successful freestyle ski team at Bristol Mountain. He has already helped launch some of our country’s top freestyle skiers. But that’s not why he started coaching the team 17 years ago.

“Our objective wasn’t really to create a program where we were creating U.S. ski team athletes or Olympic athletes,” said Kroetz. “It was mainly to help kids find what they really enjoyed about skiing. Get out, get healthy, stay active. The winter’s really long in Rochester, and if you sit inside all day long and pout because it’s snowing outside, you know, there’s a whole world out here that you can explore, and skiing’s so much fun.”

On weekends and school vacation days, current members of the team - some of whom are barely out of kindergarten - can be seen bouncing through the moguls or sailing off of jumps. Whatever their aspirations in skiing, it’s certainly an inspiration to know that skiers like Pittsford’s Morgan Schild are blazing a trail from Bristol to the Olympic Games.

Other ski team members, including Jonathon and Chris Lillis, Harrison Smith, and Patrick O’Flynn, got their start in Kroetz’s program.

“When we do see an athlete do whatever they can do and excel at the level they can excel to, that’s exciting,” said Kroetz.

“The love and the passion of the sport, that’s really where it comes to,” he added. “Having an Olympian, having U.S. ski team athletes, that’s icing on the cake. But, really, it’s just helping everybody learn to do what they love the most.”

To learn more about the freestyle ski program at Bristol Mountain, click here.

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