Summit Endurance Academy Coaching

Though we are all transitioning back to running shoes and bikes for the summer, I know many of you are starting to formulate plans for the coming winter and the next ski mountaineering season.  As part of the partnership between the USSMA and Summit Endurance Academy, Joe Howdyshell is offering coaching services to USSMA license members at a reduced rate.  For many of us, a coach can be a huge benefit in providing structure, guidance, and motivation to continually improve our athletic performance.  Importantly, coaching is not only for the elite level athlete, but anyone who has the desire to become fitter and faster!

Take a look at the attached flyer from Joe- now is the time to start preparing for the coming winter season!


Though the winter racing season has come to a close, spring skiing is here and the ski mountaineering season continues!  I sincerely hope you all had a great season, and as we begrudgingly put the skis away until next fall and pull out the running shoes and bikes, here is some news from the USSMA.


Next season the USSMA will implement a formal national team, this team will consist of the athletes who qualify for the 2017 World Championships to be held in Italy.  We plan to expand this team in the following seasons and create a development and training program.  As you may know, the International Olympic Committee will be voting on inclusion of Ski Mountaineering into the Olympic games this summer, something we feel the sport is very ready for.  With this in mind, we continue to work towards a strong national program with the very real possibility of sending US athletes to compete in the Olympics in Ski Mountaineering!


To this end, the USSMA is proud to introduce Joe Howdyshell of the Summit Endurance Academy as the official physical training and coaching partner of the USSMA!  The Summit Endurance Academy (SEA) based out of Summit County, Colorado and is led by Joe.  Though Joe is relatively new to the sport of Ski Mountaineering, he has some impressive performances and I am sure we will be seeing more of Joe in the front of the pack.  Joe brings an extensive knowledge of endurance conditioning and overall coaching to the USSMA, with a very strong personal history in cross country running and Nordic skiing, and impressive results as a Nordic coach.  Joe has extensive training in the endurance world, with a Master’s degree in Exercise Physiology from the University of Wyoming. 


What does this mean for the USSMA and you?  Joe will be working with the USSMA to develop training programs for national team athletes and will also be providing physical training and conditioning coaching support to athletes in USSMA training camps.  This partnership also helps you, Joe and the SEA have generously agreed to reduced coaching rates for USSMA members.  With your USSMA membership, SEA will work with you to develop a training plan that fits your schedule and life to improve athletic performance in the sports you do.


We are very excited to form this partnership with SEA, and very much look forward to working with SEA in the future!  Here is a bio from Joe so you can get to know him!  Find out more at, where you can contact Joe.


“Joe Howdyshell has been an endurance athlete since before he can remember, and been coaching for nearly as long. While growing up on farms in Pennsylvania and Wyoming, Joe would run through the fields barefoot, chasing the horses and reenacting scenes from Braveheart. Finding a knack for soccer due to above average endurance and mediocre coordination, he began formal training when a coach introduced “conditioning” to a group of largely uninterested 12 year olds. Joe was hooked. In high school Joe left soccer for XC, nordic skiing, and track. Thanks to a high school XC coach with an interest in physiology, Joe became passionate about not just in the act of training itself, but also in the knowledge behind The Plan. After taking some independent study anatomy and physiology classes before graduating, Joe accepted an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point in 2002, where he competed in XC, indoor track, nordic skiing, and road cycling. Realizing a continued passion for nordic skiing, and indeed nordic coaching, Joe left West Point in 2004 to pursue a degree in physiology and more athletic opportunities. After completing an MS in Exercise Physiology from the University of Wyoming in 2009, Joe moved to Colorado to become a nordic coach, which is where he learned his love for backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. While coaching nordic athletes to the junior World Championships, and adult athletes to the XTERRA World Championships, Joe was learning to ski big lines, skin icy tracks, and side point with crampons. Although an avid climber in his early years, it wasn’t until after his move to Summit County, Colorado that he realized a passion for summiting mountains in the winter at full speed. Joe’s best personal result to date has been a third place finish at the 2015 USSMA National Championships in the vertical event.  Joe founded the Summit Endurance Academy in 2013 as a way to help others fulfill their athletic goals. Through training plans, coaching, and consulting, Joe endeavors to bring his life’s passion to those who want the most out of their sports.”


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