Dan Janowiak

Dan Janowiak

USSA Level 300 Certified Coach
United States Ski Team National Development System Assistant 2003
Manistee High School Head Coach - 1976-2002
Michigan H.S. Ski Coaches Association Hall of Fame, Inducted 1999

My skiing career began at the Big M Ski Area in 1959. The Big M was our home town ski area and the experiences that I had there developed my love of alpine skiing. As an athlete in ski racing, I competed at Manistee High School 1968-1971. Collegiately, I competed at Northern Michigan University from 1971-1975. Other sports that I’ve been passionate about have been baseball, golf and tennis. Playing football through high school was an experience that I’ve never forgotten…it was a very positive experience.

In the fall of 1976, I was hired as the Manistee High School varsity ski coach. Manistee H.S. was one of the original nine high school teams sanctioned by the MHSAA in 1952. In 1976, I inherited a good group of athletes at MHS and my coaching career was in motion. I will admit that as a 23 year old coming into coaching in those years, I had a lot to learn about being a good coach. I studied what the best coaches at that time were doing, and I didn’t shy away from formal alpine ski coaches education. I quickly knew that it was important to me (almost an obsession then and still is now) to acquire that latest information in the ski coaching world.

One of my earliest goals was to build a ski program that everyone (athletes, coaches, parents and community) would be proud of, and if I ever had to leave that program it would be of the highest quality for the next person taking over. In 1980, with a very small group of parents, the Manistee Ski Club (now the Northwestern Alpine Ski Academy, NASA) was formed. The program evolved steadily over the years. Today, nearly 35 years later, NASA is widely recognized as a premier alpine ski club program. NASA’s athlete’s results have been outstanding. The club’s track record is well established; however, I’ve always said that NASA will never measure success by results, but simply by the “quality” of our programs.

I’m very proud of NASA, of course, but I’m even more proud of my immediate family. My wife Cathy is a special education teacher and administrator for USSA Region III. My daughter Lyndee has earned her doctorate degree in physical therapy. Lyndee’s excellence in ski racing has been well documented. Lyndee recently married and is now living in Colorado. My son Keegan has graduated from Grand Valley University with a degree in exercise and movement. Keegan, too, excelled in many sports. It is now so much fun for me when I’m coaching on the hill, and I have Lyndee and Keegan assisting. They achieved so much in ski racing, it is important to them to give back.

Did I ever have a real job? Yes, I was a career firefighter/EMT for 27 years with the City of Manistee, retiring in 2002.

By design, NASA is a coach driven program. It is the NASA coaching staff that sets direction and puts athletes first. Every coach, every instructor that currently works for or has worked for NASA in the past, has been instrumental in the programs success.

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