Posted on March 5, 2012 by Tia Lalani

Joan and Hans Skinstad have decided to step down as coaches for the Cross-Country Ski and Biathlon programs at the conclusion of the 2011-2012 season.

The Augustana Campus of the University of Alberta has recently learned that Joan and Hans Skinstad have decided to step down as coaches for the Cross-Country Ski and Biathlon Programs at the conclusion of the 2011-2012 season in March.

For the past 12 years, Joan has been the Head Coach of the Cross-Country Ski Team while Hans has been Head Coach of the Biathlon Team for the past three seasons. They have made their decision to step down to pursue other professional opportunities.

During 18 years of coaching, at both Camrose Lutheran College and U of A – Augustana, the Skinstads have seen many successes. Joan has represented Canada as a coach at the World Student Games in Austria 2005, Italy 2007 and Turkey 2011, the World Jr. Cross-Country Championships in 2004 in Norway and the World Cup in 2005 in Canmore. Joan has also been active nationally in the Canada Winter Games, coaching in 2003, 2007 and 2011. Joan has been the recipient of the Cross-Country Canada Firth Award for her contribution to cross-country skiing in Canada and was named the Cross-Country Alberta Coach of the year in 2008. Joan was the first and only woman to be certified as a Level 4 Coach in Cross Country Skiing. She was active on the board of directors for Cross-Country Alberta and nationally was part of a CCC Women On Skis Committee that worked to better the competitive environment for females in cross country skiing.

As an athlete, Joan was named to the City of Camrose – Lions Sports Hall of Fame for her sporting career, participating on three World Championship teams, winning 21 national championship medals, three North American championship medals and numerous provincial titles. She competed at two Canada Winter Games for Alberta, winning a bronze in the relay event. She was on both the Canadian Biathlon and Cross-Country Skiing National Teams.

Hans has represented Canada internationally as the National Team coach at the 1988 Winter Olympic Games in Calgary, was National Team coach in 1987 and 1988, was National Coach at the World Biathlon Championships in France (1984) and Switzerland (1985) as well as the World Student Games in Bulgaria in 1983 and Turkey in 2011. He also was Head Coach for Team Alberta and Team North West Territories.

As an athlete, Hans represented Team Canada at the Olympic Games in 1976 in Innsbruck, Austria and at two World Championships. He has 34 national championship medals in his collection, as well as North American and USA titles.

In the past 12 seasons, this duo has placed two Augustana athletes on the Junior National Biathlon Team, one on the World Junior Cross-Country Team, one on the World Cup Biathlon Team and numerous athletes on the World Student Games Team in both disciplines. They have numerous national champions in cross-country skiing and national medalists in biathlon to their credit. Their passion for both their sport and for their athletes has been evident in their daily efforts to help their student athletes to excel in both sport and academics.

As Athletic Director, I would like to extend my appreciation to both Joan and Hans for their dedicated leadership to the cross-country ski and biathlon programs that enabled our student-athletes to achieve more than they had imagined possible.  It has been a pleasure working with them and I wish them the very best in their future endeavours.

Decisions about future leadership and directions for Cross-Country and Biathlon programs will be made in the coming weeks.

Greg Ryan
Director of Athletics

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