Mike LeBlanc – Program Director
Michael LeBlanc is the Program Director of the Mount Washington Valley Ski Team Before joining MWVST, Mike spent the last 12 years as the Head Coach for men’s and women’s varsity skiing at Brown University. Mike’s track record at Brown University has consistently produced a team with one of the highest GPA’s in the athletic department, while also competing for a national championship on a yearly basis. In addition to his traditional coaching responsibilities, he also has been responsible for recruiting athletes, fundraising, and hosting FIS and USSA races. Mike also was elected by his coaching peers to serve as chair of the McConnell Division of USCSA college ski racing, which organizes and hosts the highly competitive division races at several ski areas. Prior to Brown, he had coaching stints at UMass and the Diamond Peak Ski Education Foundation in Nevada. As the Assistant Program Director and Alpine Ski Coach at the Diamond Peak Ski Education Foundation, Mike worked with the Junior I, II, and III programs, developing athletes from age 13-21. Before heading to the Nevada-based Foundation, LeBlanc served as the Men’s and Women’s Alpine Ski Coach at UMass from January of 2001 to May of 2003. While at UMass, LeBlanc was instrumental in guiding the women’s team to an Eastern Championship and a National Championship, the first National Championship season for the school. In addition, he guided the men’s team to a second place finish at the Eastern Championship, and a seventh place finish in the national standings. Combined, LeBlanc coached 13 All-America selections at the 2003 USCSA National Championships. Mike is a 2000 graduate of Plymouth State University with a B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies – Outdoor Experiential Education/Health Education. Mike also completed his M.ED. in Higher Education Administration at UMass. As an athlete he competed on the Varsity Ski Team at the University of New Hampshire from 1997-1998 and on the Varsity Ski Team at Plymouth State from 1999-2000. He grew up in Plymouth, NH and raced as a junior at Waterville Valley.
Leanne Smith – Head U19 and FIS Coach
Leanne Smith, North Conway native, joins her home club, MWVST, after a lengthy World Cup career and ten-year stint on the U.S. Ski Team.
Smith started out ski racing at Cranmore Mountain in the mid 1990s. The Cranmore Race Team helped develop her skills and love for the sport that only continued to grow. By 14, Smith was a top ranked junior skier in the U.S. and joined the Mount Washington Valley Ski Team with coach, Dave Gregory in 2003. Throughout high school, Leanne was a three sport varsity athlete at Kennett and that included skiing for her entire four years.
Upon graduation from Kennett, Smith enrolled into college at the University of New Hampshire. During that 2005/06 season, she skied on the UNH Division I NCAA team and recorded a win in the Giant Slalom at the Dartmouth Carnival. Naturally, the team’s focus was on the technical events (GS and SL), but Smith still found time to do some speed races at the NorAM and National level with the Eastern Regional Group.
During that spring of 2006, Smith received a call from the United States Development Team taking her as a discretionary pick for the upcoming 2007/08 season. From that point on, Smith improved tremendously. In the spring of 2008, Leanne won the Women’s Super G NorAM title as well as the Women’s Overall NorAM title. She attended the World Junior Championships in Altenmarkt/Zauchensee, Austria, and after a pretty successful Development Team year she found herself Ski Racing Junior of the Year. It was obvious that Smith’s direction would most likely head in the direction of speed (DH and SG). From there it was a World Cup spot that landed Leanne in Lake Louise, Canada, the following December of 2009. Smith impressively scored in her first World Cup Downhill and Super G there, with a 23rd and a 19th place, respectively.
She continued to gain experience on the World Cup and made her mark on the Europa Cup tour as well, with a Downhill win in Caspoggio, Italy. Over the next 6 years, Smith established herself to be one of the best speed skiers in the world.
She finished the 2012/13 season with overall rankings in the top 12 in both Downhill and Super G. That season was Smith’s best season to date, and it included two podium finishes on the World Cup tour. Her first podium in Val D’Isere, France was a 2nd place, and a month later she landed on the podium at her favorite stop on the tour, in Cortina D’Ampezzo, Italy. She competed in two Olympic Games for the United States, first in Vancouver in 2010 and again in Sochi, Russia, in 2014. Injuries unfortunately are a byproduct of skiing at a high level and after two years away from competition, Smith made a comeback for the 2016/17 and struggled to regain form. With a successful career behind Leanne, she decided to return to her hometown and continue to enjoy the sport of ski racing, this time as a coach.
EISA Skiing Rookie of the Year 2005/06
NorAM Super G Overall Champion 2007/08
NorAM Women’s Overall Champion 2007/08
Ski Racing Junior of the Year 2008
2010 Olympian (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada)
2010 U.S. National Downhill Champion
2011 World Championship Team (Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany)
2nd place World Cup Downhill (Val D’Isere, France in 2012)
3rd place World Cup Downhill (Cortina D’Ampezzo, Italy in 2013)
2013 World Championship Team (Schladming, Austria)
2014 Olympian (Sochi, Russia)
22 Top 15 Finishes on World Cup
9 Top Ten Finishes on World Cup
Richie Scanlon – Head U16 Coach
Richie is a former MWVST & AAEF skier who has spent the past four ski seasons at the University of Connecticut where he earned a degree in Sociology. The past two years Richie has served as the captain of the UCONN ski team where he helped the Huskies to 4 straight USCSA National Championship appearances. While skiing for UCONN Richie earned All-McConnell division honors and twice was named an Academic All-American at the USCSA Nationals. Richie brings a great deal of ski racing knowledge and experience to our club, with an excellent fundamental understanding of how MWVST operates having been a former club athlete. We are very happy to have him on board this year. Richie will be working with long time MWVST coach Eddie Bradley co-coaching the U16 group.
Martha Leich – Office Manager
Martha is the Office Manager for MWVST. Her role includes administration, bookkeeping, registration, fundraising, communication, race worker assignment, working at races, and the daunting task of trying to keep everyone informed!
Martha grew up coming to the valley to ski at Wildcat, and her family had membership at the Prospectors Ski Club. She continues to enjoy her long time role as a member of the Wildcat ski school staff , and met her husband Jeff while working there 25 years ago.
Martha joined the MWVST Staff in July 2007 when her son Alex joined the team, after graduating from the Wildcat program. Martha’s younger daughter Emily followed a year later.
Martha and Jeff live in North Conway, and Jeff is the Director of the New England Ski Museum in Franconia.
Martha enjoys skiing, biking, hiking and running, and is involved with the Kennett High School Mountain Biking Program.
Both of Martha’s children are still involved in skiing, and both got a lot more than racing skills from the program. Alex is the Volkl Marker Dalbello Eastern Race Rep and Emily after working at Alta last winter, will be patrolling at Attitash this winter. Alex and Emily have done some guest coaching on the hill along with many of the other alumni.