Bellevue Club member Bill Koefoed recounts the tale that took him from the bunny slopes to being a board member of the region's most important ski racing association.
Bill Koefoed admits he isn’t like most of the other board members on the Pacific Northwest Ski Association. He didn’t grow up skiing the local mountains. He never actually ski raced. He was late to the sport of skiing to say the least, and broke into it with very specific purpose.
“I didn’t start skiing until after college. I met my wife, who is also from the Bay Area, and she was an avid skier. So I thought, I’ve got to learn how to ski or find a different girl,” Koefoed jokes.
Now he and his whole family are immersed in ski racing. Koefoed currently sits as the treasurer of the Pacific Northwest Ski Association (PNSA), he has held the same position at Crystal Mountain Alpine Club (CMAC) and has two sons, Andy, 20, and Jack, 17, who ski race.
Koefoed says he and his wife, Nancy, the girl he started skiing for, enjoyed many ski trips together, but that the lifestyle really took root after they had their sons. While the Koefoeds were living in the Bay Area and skiing mainly at Northstar Resort at Lake Tahoe, they put the boys in boots soon after they learned to walk. Their interest escalated from there.
“Andy, he ski races at Colgate [University] now. But it all started when he saw kids racing at Northstar [Resort], and said, I want to do that,” Koefoed says. “Jack, the younger one, naturally got roped up in it too.”
Twelve years ago the family moved to Seattle from California, and decided on Crystal Mountain as their new home mountain.
“We had no idea what we were doing when we came here. We didn’t know anyone, especially in ski racing,” he says. “But the skiers here are such a wonderful, inclusive group of people.”
The Koefoeds subsequently spent a large amount of their free time skiing, traveling, competing and training. The boys went on to race at a high level, both making it to the Pacific Regional Championships. While Koefoed himself quickly became more adept at the sport and understanding what happens behind the scenes in the ski-racing world.
“I got to be a much better skier by participating in the kids' ski racing, watching and learning and being around all these amazing skiers in the Northwest,” Koefoed says.
Eventually, he was approached to lend his finance skills (his professional background is in corporate finance) to CMAC, and he jumped on the opportunity. That local connection evolved into his current position on PNSA, the regional governing body for ski racing in Oregon, Washington and northern Idaho.
“That’s been really fun. You get to know other parents and people involved in all the local organizations at Snoqualmie, Stevens Pass—it’s a terrific organization,” Koefoed says. “The main job of the PSNA is to coordinate regional races. We set the calendar, make sure the coaches are coordinating amongst each other.
“We’re also part of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, which in essence is the organization that determines who goes to the Olympics. So we participate in the alpine committee to set rules, for races regionally and nationally, and we’ve had good influence.”
Koefoed further explains that the mission is to simply get more people involved.
“The pendulum swung,” he says. “A few years ago it was all about creating the next Bode Miller. I think today it’s all about creating more skiers, kids all the way through masters. We want to create people who just love to ski and ski race."
Bill encourages anyone interested to jump in.
“It’s an amazing sport because it’s awesome for the family. We spent every weekend with our kids, and a lot of our best friends we met through skiing. You can ride up on a chair with somebody you’ve never met and ski with them the whole day,” Koefoed says. “Plus, we live in one of the most beautiful places in the world.”
For more information, visit pnsa.org.