Shred: Catching up with a Kids’ Ski Instructor
Brook "Trout" Leiphart
By Mike McKenna
Since the very beginning, some 75 years now and counting, Sun Valley has been heralded for having one of the best ski school programs in the world. It’s one of the big reasons the ski area has been so well respected and much beloved for so long. That’s because the school at Sun Valley not only teaches people of all ages to ski, they somehow teach folks to love the sport.
My oldest son, Jack, who’s soon to turn four, has been participating in the Little Spuds Sessions. After just a few sessions with a member of the "Redcoats," as Jack calls the instructors, his progress has been amazing. He can now ski Quarter Dollar from top to bottom without any help of any kind. Heck, he’s even carrying his skis to and from the truck–at least most of the way! And now, I not only look upon my young shredder with pride, but also with a serious sense of relief. No more getting dragged down the hill by a giggling kid!
Brook "Trout" Leiphart has been my son’s instructor and Jack likes to tell us how " my Redcoat Brook" taught him how to "make pizza," "turn like a plane" and "fly like Superman"
As his nickname implies, Brook "Trout" is very active in the local fly fishing community, regularly volunteering for the Hemingway chapter of Trout Unlimited, and has been a ski instructor at Sun Valley for 11 years. He spends the summers teaching trap and skeet shooting for Sun Valley Company.
Brook carved turns through a handful of fun questions about life as an instructor in Sun Valley.
Where did you learn to ski?
At Ostego in Michigan when I was around three or four.
What’s your favorite part of being a ski instructor?
I was in the real world working a real job, but I wasn’t happy. So I decided that I wanted to do something worthwhile with my life. I don’t have any kids or any debt so I could afford to do something like this and I really enjoy it. Teaching kids to ski is very rewarding and worthwhile. Plus this job helps me reach my goal of skiing 1/3rd of the year, 122 days.
What is your favorite ski run?
On Baldy it’s Can-Can because it only has natural snow and on Dollar it’s Otto’s Run.
What’s your favorite thing to eat for lunch?
Good old PB & Js from home.
What’s the best part of life in Sun Valley?
Being able to ski here and taking advantage of everything else this place offers. This truly is a "no lift line" mountain. I’ve spent seasons in Park City and Lake Placid and no place beats Sun Valley. We’re really spoiled here.
What are your favorite non-skiing activities?
Fly fishing and I love hiking above timberline. I’m trying to hike all nine 12,000-foot peaks in Idaho. I’ve already hiked the highest points in all 50 states. I’m #111 on the Highpointers‘ list.
Who is your hero?
Sir Edmund Hilary. I was born on the day he summated Mount Everest.
What’s your motto?