Staff & Board of Directors
The IFSA is a non-profit, 501(3)(c) organization built to support an athlete community of Freeride skiers and snowboarders. It is IFSA’s mission to support Freeride athletes while providing competitive opportunities across the Americas Region (Region 2). The mission of the IFSA is maintained through the part-time work of just two paid employees and countless hours of volunteer work on behalf of our Board of Directors and interns. The parents, event organizers, and resort staff we work with are also crucial in accomplishing the mission of IFSA.
Our amazing Board of Directors is tasked with the following:
- Creation of a sustainable organization sufficiently staffed and with resources to execute its mission and objectives and to support the needs of its stakeholders.
- Development of guidelines and education for athletes, coaches, judges, technical directors and event organizers in rules, safety, and event management.
- Support of each region and competitive opportunity development for the entire athlete community.
- Excecution of decisions and actions that reflect the voices of all participants to the best of our ability.
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Board & Staff
Scott Mahoney - President
Scott Mahoney began volunteering when his son was 12 and has had a massive impact in helping expand Freeride opportunities for juniors. Scott joined the IFSA board in 2010 shortly after the IFSA’s commitment to focus on junior athlete development. Mahoney joined the Board of Directors in the new position of Director of Volunteerism to bring athletes, families, programs, and resorts together to build a new, younger freeride community. Within a couple of seasons, the Board of Directors asked him to move into the role of President where he continues to volunteer massive amounts of time to our freeride community. “I enjoy working with a passionate group of athletes and community members. Our amazing volunteers have helped grow our series to include juniors to adults, to expand from 10 to almost 100 events, and to include members from North and South America." When not volunteering for the IFSA or holding down his day job, Mahoney can be found telemarking the slopes and backcountry of colorful Colorado.
Taylor Merritt - Executive Director
Taylor grew up skiing at Winter Park and joined the Winter Park Big Mountain Team
in 2009. She has been hooked on freeskiing ever since. Taylor attended the University of Utah and took advantage of Salt Lake’s close proximity to ski as much as she could while also helping develop a collegiate freeride series. When she wasn’t skiing or traveling to coach for WP, she was studying to be a Certified Athletic Trainer and working with Utah Football, Utah Skiing, and teams at Westminster College and local high schools. After college Taylor returned to Colorado and started coaching the Winter Park Big Mountain team again. In 2018 she transitioned to full time as the Head Coach. In addition to coaching, Taylor has also maintained her career as an ATC, earning her master’s degree, working in orthopedics, high schools and most recently at Woodward Park City. But Freeride is what keeps the vibe high!
Bryan Salatino - Vice President & Smuggs Freeski Team Coach
Bryan began coaching Freestyle skiing when it had many similarities to what we now call Big Mountain Freeride. The carefree vibe and sharing a love for great skiing attracted Bryan to the sport. He has enjoyed watching his young athletes grow into adults with careers and families. “Over time you realize that a coach’s influence extends well beyond just skiing and into the athlete’s everyday life. It’s a real special thing that I want to continue enjoying for as long as I can,” Bryan confesses.
Shannon was born and raised outside of Detroit, Michigan and traveled with her family to their cabin every weekend to ski Boyne Mountain. After having kids, Shannon and her husband Mike picked up and moved to Vail, Colorado and here is where the story begins…Fourteen years ago her oldest son, Grifen switched from moguls to Big Mountain and Shannon has been involved ever since. She is excited to help IFSA and the Freeride community grow as the love of this sports run deep in her family of five. Grifen and Blake have both competed in the FWT. Grifen was on the circuit skiing for 3 years and is now married living in Eagle, CO. Blake is entering his 3rd season snowboarding after winning last year (2022). Tanner is a sophomore at the University of Utah.
You can find Shannon and her husband Mike at many of the Rocky Mountain Region events helping out, so don’t be shy and say hello! Shannon runs the Regional Delegate Board for IFSA.
Josh Mattson - Training & Development Director & IFSA Senior Head Judge
Josh was born and raised in Colorado as a Summit County front range "ski bum". He got his start in the mogul fields of Breck, realized bumps weren’t for him, and transitioned to Freeride. Josh competed for several years on the Freeskiing World Tour and attended various FWQ events. The IFSA has fully supported Josh’s journey to become a judge and welcomes him to our Board of Directors. Josh is excited to remain involved with this Freeride family of awesome people. Josh’s favorite place to ski: “Wherever the high fives are numerous and the vibe is high!”
Jeff Holden - Judge Advisory Board Chair & IFSA Seinor Head Judge
After winning the IFSA World Tour in 1999 Jeff began to help refine the judging system while implementing a venue boundary protocol and judging IFSA World Tour events across North America. Seventeen consecutive seasons later, Jeff has trained over 40 Freeride judges while acting as Technical Director or Head Judge for over 150 events. As an IFSA Judge Advisory Board Chair member and a Senior Head Judge Jeff helps us manage all aspects pertaining to technical directing, judging, judge training and scheduling for all IFSA events in Western Canada.
Derek Foose - Coach Advisory Board Chair & Whistler Freeride Club Coach
Derek was coaching ski racing back in 2000 and noticed kids were quitting skiing altogether because they felt burned out. Derek founded the Whistler Freeride Club in 2001 to try and keep some of these talented young shredders involved in snow sports. He found it was a tough sell to the resort, as nobody believed this niche of the sport had a future. Six athletes rolled the dice in 2001 and today, the club boasts over 100 junior athletes! Derek has been involved with the IFSA on various coach’s committees since the IFSA began sanctioning events for juniors. "Joining the Board of Directors came about because I don’t feel like you have the right to complain if you don’t get involved… And I like to complain a lot!”
Brennan Metzler - Snowboard Chair & IFSA Coach Method 4 Life Snowboard Academy
Brennan grew up in the flatlands of Kansas City, strapped into a snowboard for the first time at age 16, competed in big mountain for the first time at age 28, and began coaching the Method Freeride Team
at age 30. Yet, this alternative and lengthy path towards Freeride has made his experiences all the more vibrant. Brennan believes in the life affirming and inspiring nature of the Freeride community, and is driven to build a more robust snowboard culture in the Americas Region.
When not coaching or competing in Freeride, Brennan serves as a member of the AASI National Team, training and supporting the snowboard instructing community. Brennan is also addicted to splitboarding, climbing, and french fries.
Gonzalo Lopatin - South America Development
Gonzalo grew up skiing at a small ski town in the Argentinean northern Patagonia called Caviahue. At age 17 he started instructing skiing at his home resort and from age 19 he's been doing double winter seasons, skiing more than 200 days a year, travelling to the USA and going back to Argentina and Chile to work as a ski instructor and ski coach. In 2013 he competed for the first time at age 24 at a 4-star event in Chile and since then he has competed in Chile, Argentina and the US, dreaming about the development of the sport in South America. Gonzalo has a journalist degree and he spends his days working as a full cert ski instructor at Aspen Snowmass, serves as an IFSA Head Judge and is the managing director of Freeride Sudamerica for Argentina.
“Aligning the sport with US and Canada and creating a one Americas region it will give athletes many opportunities to travel, learn about other cultures and mountains and it will raise the sport to the next level”
Gonzalo creció esquiando en Caviahue, un pequeño pueblo ubicado al norte de la Patagonia Argentina. A los 17 años empezó a trabajar como instructor y desde los 19 viaja a Estados Unidos, lo que le permite esquiar más de 200 días al año. En 2013 y con 24 años participó por primera vez en un evento de freeride, fue una competencia 4 estrellas que se realizó en Chile y desde ese momento no paró de soñar con desarrollar el deporte en Sudamérica. Gonzalo es Licenciado en Periodismo, trabaja en Aspen Snowmass como instructor de ski, es Head Judge de la IFSA y es director de Freeride Sudamerica por Argentina.
“Alinear el Freeride a nivel continental va a tener un gran impacto. Los atletas podrán viajar, conocer otras culturas, otras montañas y sin duda el nivel del deporte va a crecer sin escalas”
Petra Pickl - Sponsorship & Fundraising
Petra grew up in Carinthia in the South of Austria, surrounded by lakes and mountains. As a passionate snowboarder she has been working for the Freeride World Tour for 6 years, taking care of the grassroots development of the sport in the Europe Oceania Asia region. Petra started volunteering for the IFSA during a sabbatical in 2021 to assist IFSA with forging sponsorships and strategic partnerships to further develop the sport in North and South America. It has been a great experience for her to get to know the non-profit side of the sport and to stay connected to the freeride family. Other than freeriding, she likes all kinds of activities including beach volleyball, water sports and traveling.
Finan Lund - Communications Manager
Finan grew up in Sandpoint, Idaho skiing the quality natural terrain that Schweitzer Mountain had to offer. After spending some time working on various terrain park and bike park crews, Finan moved to Missoula to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in marketing at the University of Montana. In 2019 while working on his undergraduate degree, Finan found a love for coaching freeride at Lost Trail Powder Mountain and helped triple the size of the team in just a few years. When he’s not skiing you’ll find him whitewater kayaking and paragliding the rivers and mountains of Montana!
Lexi began skiing in Utah at 3 and has been relishing winter ever since. As a sinner in the land of saints, she spent every Sunday of her youth exploring Snowbird. With no prior racing experience, she joined the University of Puget Sound’s Ski Racing Club Team as the team’s last seed, hilarity ensued. After time working for a toy store and Backcountry.com, Lexi decided to depart the 9-5 routine and develop a career around skiing. She is an ambassador and writer for Ski Utah and her job with IFSA permits her to travel, ski, and support this incredible community of Freeride aficionados. After all things IFSA shut down in March 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic, she picked up her watercolors and has been spending time setting up an online shop with ski-themed prints, artwork, and stickers. Check out her art at http://www.kapowder.com.
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Dianna Gurule - Finance and Systems Manager
Raised in Colorado, Dianna’s love for the outdoors stems from countless family fishing trips and youth sports. At age 12 she learned to ski and then later took to snowboarding. Fed up with the weekend traffic and ticket prices, she switched gears (no pun intended) to mountain biking which made for happier knees. Having an active lifestyle helped lead the way for her to work with IFSA. As a bookkeeper with payroll and database skillsets, Dianna manages all aspects pertaining to back-office processes and systems. When the desk-jockey cap comes off, likely she is mountain biking, but you can also find her hiking, camping, and always ready for an adventure.
Tarah O'Conor - Administrative Assistant
After growing up skiing on the east coast, Tarah headed west after college to ski big mountains. Her first season in Colorado she had several experiences with avalanches and decided to learn how to make decisions for herself. After spending almost a decade in the Tetons learning the fine art of being a mentee, Tarah became a pro patroller and worked in CO, ID and UT. These days she works as an AIARE Course leader, guide and EMT and is based out of Utah.
Kent Wilhelmi - Administrative Assistant
Kent caught the skiing bug on YMCA bus trips up and down the Ice Coast as a youngster. Moving to New Mexico as a teenager, he spent 20 odd years exploring the Southern Rockies, before finally relocating to Summit County, Colorado. He likes his monoski on modest powder days, but will gladly take up 2 planks if the overnight totals exceed 6 inches. Kent will also readily confess to enjoying a "tasty groomer." He enjoys hiking and cycling when there isn't snow on the ground.