Moguls definitely run in the Kober family.
Over the years the Penticton athletes have left their marks on the ski hills as both athletes and coaches.
After a successful junior competitive career, 23-year-old Josh Kober is now following on the heels of his father Rob this season taking on the role of head moguls coach for the B.C. Freestyle Ski team.
Rob, who reached World Cup status as an athlete, is the current men’s national moguls coach and has been at the helm of the team for over 15 years, turning it into one of the best in the world.
And while he is one day hoping to reach the same coaching status as his father, right now Josh is just taking things one run at time.
“I grew up skiing and went through the B.C. Freestyle Skiing program and it’s cool how it’s come full circle being a coach,” said Josh who was at his first competitive event in his new role last weekend at Apex Mountain. “When my days as an athlete were coming to an end, well, it just seemed like a natural fit, I always just kind of thought it was the thing for me.
“Definitely (retiring from competitive skiing) was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do, but that’s the one thing that made it easier is that I knew I wanted to coach when I was done.”
Now with all of his certification in place, he is hoping to eventually carve his own groove in the competitive world of freestyle skiing.
“There’s a lot of really good club skiers coming up in the province right now so it’s really exciting to see these younger kids,” said Josh. “I see a bright future for us just being able to develop some of this young talent and really build a world class provincial program and hopefully become the leader in the country is the ultimate goal.”
With his team members, male and female, ranging in age from 14 to 20 he admits there is a challenge, albeit a good one, of keeping everyone skiing in harmony.
Adding to the “fun” challenge for Kober is coaching his younger sister Chloe, who is 18.
“I’m sure she has her own thoughts about taking orders from her older brother but she’s handling it well,” said Josh. “I’m sure it’s difficult for her to do at times. Hey, it’s hard for me to do but for sure the positives highly outweigh any tension we have there.
“You don’t hear about that (siblings coaching siblings) happening super often so it’s really cool and it’s been going awesome so far. I’m taking advantage of the opportunity because it’s a pretty special one.”
And for Chloe?
“Well, I guess it’s weird at times, and I’m still getting used to it but we get along pretty well. We always have,” said Chloe, a sophomore member of the B.C. team. “We’re still kind of getting used to it, just having to look at him as someone who tells me what to do and have to do it without having any attitude.”
She added there is no preferential treatment for relatives of the coach and actually finds she has to sometimes do an extra chore or two.
Josh’s success on the competitive circuit culminated with winning the junior national single and dual moguls in 2012 on home snow at Apex.
“It was really cool and had been a dream of mine since I was a little kid, it’s a big deal for a young skier,” he said.
About the region’s success in producing some of the best mogul skiers on the international stage, Josh believes it’s much more than something in the water, or snow.
“It’s the community,” he said. “Really, we just have an awesome freestyle community and we’ve had one for a long time. There’s a group of families, a group of parents that surround the program and is what makes it so awesome.”
He feels not being that far removed from the sport is an advantage for him when it comes to reaching his team members on a familiar level.
And while winning is important, Josh has a more important agenda as coach.
“For me it will be awesome to send kids to the national team or even further but the relationships you build with the kids is even more important,” he said. “Just making a difference in these kids’ lives and helping them reach their goals and getting them where they want to go is the biggest impact I want to make.”