The text message conversation that turned Glens Falls native Lyndsay Strange from an amateur skiing coach into the ski coach for Team Mexico in the 2018 Winter Olympics went something like this.
Strange sent a text to former United States skier Sarah Schleper, whom she met in the summer of 2016 at a ski camp in Austria, to let her know she was in the area and wanted to cheer her on at the 2017 FIS Alpine World Championships in Switzerland.
Schleper’s response changed the trajectory of the rest of Strange’s coaching career.
“She said she needed me to be her coach and represent her at these races,” Strange said. “The coach that she hired got injured.”
With only two weeks to prepare from being a spectator to a coach on the national stage, Strange accepted Schleper’s offer and the two got right to work.
“I thought to myself that this is amazing,” Strange said. “I get to coach at world championships with all the big shots. Lindsey Vonn, Mikaela Shiffrin, they are all there.”
Following the world championships, the two remained in touch and Strange said Schleper loosely planned on having Strange continue to coach.
But it was not until this past December when Strange realized she was officially the coach of Team Mexico. She received a message detailing flight information to Seoul, South Korea, and later housing information.
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Finally it hit her.
Strange, a 2005 graduate of Glens Falls High School, was an Olympic skiing coach.
Her coaching career started while she attended and skied at Skidmore College. Since graduating in 2009, she has been a USSA-certified alpine coach for eight years. She moved to Utah, where she coached the women’s FIS group at the Rowmark Ski Academy before coaching Schleper.
Schleper is a former member of the United States ski team. She competed for 16 winters and four Olympic Games that earned her seven national championships and four world-cup podium finishes.
In 2011, at 32 years old, she retired to focus on her family, but admits she never completely gave up skiing. Now at 39, she is back competing, but this time as a member of Team Mexico.
Last spring, she earned her Mexican citizenship and was cleared by international ski officials to represent Mexico.
Schleper is battling both her age and a recent injury to her ACL, but Strange said she is recovering well and eager to compete in the Pyeongchang Winter Games.
Strange never envisioned becoming an Olympic coach, but she credits her opportunistic approach to life for putting her on the world stage, and she is right.
Had she not reached out to Schleper back at in 2016 at the opportune moment when she needed a coach, Strange likely would not be preparing to take part in the upcoming opening ceremonies.
“I feel so honored because she could have any coach she wants,” Strange said. “We really vibe and have a good friendship.”
Follow Ellis L. Williams on Twitter @BookofEllis