Lobos Ski Team Brings New Coach to Red RiverJoe Downing (left) is the new Head Alpine Coach of the University of New Mexico Lobos Ski Team, seen here at the Red River Race Camp banquet last week with assistant ski coach Gary Beresford.

He grew up in Western Washington in Puyallup and learned to ski at the ski slopes of  Snoqualmie Pass. His kinfolk are all still located in the Northwest.

He attended Western State Colorado University in Gunnison, CO, seeking a business degree. He skied for the school in NCAA competition before the school dropped the program. From 1997 until 2002, Joe says “It was awesome!”

He eventually got involved as a coach with a ski program back at Snoqualmie, a program he’d grown up with. He then moved on to become Head Coach in Loveland, CO, which lead to a stint in Northern Idaho at Schweitzer Mountain Resort, Idaho’s largest ski area. He liked the area but...

“I decided I wanted to move back here. Sand Point (population 7,365) is a small town and the economy was bad, so we figured we’d come back to Colorado.

“My wife and I moved to Golden, CO, and I coached for Aspen.

“I was just trying to figure out where I wanted to be, so I applied for the UNM Lobos position and I got the job. I’m stoked to be in New Mexico.”

When asked what attracted him to the Lobos program, Joe answers without hesitation.

“It’s funny. My wife and I actually traveled to New Mexico in the spring, before I even knew that there was a job opening with the Lobos. We were traveling and exploring and having a good old time.

“In New Mexico, we did a big loop through Taos and down to Santa Fe. We didn’t make it to Albuquerque. We went up to Los Alamos and the badlands, then back up to Farmington, Navajo Dam Lake and back to Colorado.

“We like it down here. The culture is rich and the food is delicious. When the job came up we thought it was a perfect fit.”

He likes the 2012-2013 Lobos alpine team.

“It’s just an energetic and passionate group. They love skiing and they need someone to stick around and be there for them. I’m hoping I’m the guy to do that: I know that I’m planning on being at UNM as long as they’ll have me there!

“There’s been several coaches since George Brooks that have come and left UNM and I’m hoping to be here for the long haul.”

Joe will be back in Red River in February for the Lobos Invitational, Alpine and Nordic.