Bear Valley Snowsports Foundation

Located in Northern California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains between Lake Tahoe and Yosemite, Bear Valley is the ideal location for kids, families and outdoor enthusiasts of all ages to build their snow sports skills while enjoying the world class beauty of the environment.

Founded in 2001 as the Bear Valley Race Team Foundation, Bear Valley Snowsports Foundation has evolved to support all Bear Valley’s teams including All Mountain Development (Devo), Freeski, Snowboard as well as the Race team. Working in close collaboration with Bear Valley Mountain, BVSF provides support in ways which otherwise would not be possible for the Mountain.

Our Mission

The Bear Valley SnowSports Foundation (BVSF) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the support of Bear Valley’s snow sports athletes in achieving their athletic, academic and personal goals. The programs we support promote the development of essential skills; stimulate interest in competitive events and the positive values of sportsmanship, self-discipline, goal setting, character building and the pursuit of healthy lifetime activities.

BVSF assists Bear Valley’s competitive and development teams in many ways including team communication and administrative tasks. We support the professional development of coaches and support their efforts in providing the best possible skills development for our athletes. Our members assist coaches with training setup, safety monitoring, team communication and administrative tasks. Through fundraising and on-mountain volunteer work, we provide Bear Valley with the necessary parent and community support to develop highly competitive ski and snow sports teams. Through these efforts Bear Valley’s programs are among the most affordable in the Sierras. This enables more young snow sports athletes to participate in a sport that would otherwise not be affordable.

How We Support Our Athletes

  • Provide a communication and information resource for all our teams through our TeamBV website and regular email updates

  • Organize and run the Rasmussen Classic SL Race, the Far West USSS Central Series race at Bear Valley

  • Manage and underwrite NASTAR races at Bear Valley

  • Subsidize coach education and participation in USSA annual Congress

  • Assist coaches with training setup, safety monitoring, team communication and administrative tasks

  • Negotiate group purchase agreements such as MedEvac services, wax, uniforms

  • Procure equipment including radio equipment, video cameras, video analysis software and computer for training evaluation, gates, timing equipment, safety gear and other hill supplies

  • Publish the Race Team Orientation Guide for new team members

  • Provide equipment and coach education for the Adaptive Program

  • Assists BVM event staff with events such as Senior Games, BV Ski Club Family Race

Bear Valley Mountain is the manager of of all the team programs which means they hire the coaches, set the schedules, collect the team fees and in general direct all team program activity.

Board Of Directors

Josh BridgesResort Representative
Josh Bridges is the Director of the Ski and Snowboard School at Bear Valley Resort. He has held this position since 2019 and before that he was the Snowboard School Manager for the prior 10 years. He grew up in Arnold skiing and snowboarding as a kid with friends and family and now shares his passion for snow with his three young boys. Josh oversees the Bear Valley Teams Program, including the Race Team and Competitive Freeride Team and acts as the conduit between the BVSF board and the Resort.
Mike ComstockBoard Member
Mike has been skiing at Bear Valley since 1993 when his family purchased a vacation home in Big Trees Village. He has been involved with BVSF since the early 2000s when both his kids, Zac and Mackenzie, were involved in the various Bear Valley programs starting with Skiing Bears, Devo program and then the Race Team. As parents of racers, Mike and his wife Nancy quickly learned the ins and outs of alpine racing competition in the Central Series, Far West and the Western Region of US Ski & Snowboard.

Mike was on the BVSF Board from 2004 and the president from 2007 through 2020. He was also the Central Series representative on the Far West Board of Directors from 2007-2009. He holds US Ski & Snowboard certifications for Competition Official, Race Administrator and Referee.

Mike’s career includes senior positions at DHL Express, founding a logistics consulting company and pivotal positions in 4 start-up companies. He holds a BA in Recreation Administration from San Francisco State University where he interned as Aspen Highlands ski resort.

Ellen Hoffman, Bear ValleyBoard Member
Ellen grew up in Castro Valley & her family came to Bear Valley in 1967; built a cabin and joined the Bear Valley Ski Club. The BVSC arranged every-other weekend group lessons and ski club kids started running gates & doing NASTAR. Winter ’72 was her first year on BV Race Team and raced Far West/USSA for the next 12 years. After high school & a year full time in Squaw Valley she returned to BV. She worked for the Rasmussen family and started coaching. Ellen became a race official and served on the Far West BOD for 4 years. Coaching turned into managing the Mt Reba Race Dept. which included the NASTAR program, J3 Junior Olympics & a Western Region FIS series. Ellen is a level 4 Technical Delegate. Leaving winter employment in 1991, she finished her Business degree at Cal State Hayward, and managed her father’s pediatric dental practice and continued traveling to Race Official assignments in the Western Region; including the 2002 Olympics in Park City. She continued to work in dental including consulting to build & then managing a non-profit clinic in Hayward.

Ellen has been back in Bear Valley full-time since 2011 and works for BVRE in the vacation rental department; and in winter works for BVSF managing the NASTAR program. She is also on the Board for the non-profit, Ebbetts Pass Historical Assn & manages the museum in the Village. Along with other BV community activities, including Alpine County Kids Fishing Day & Hermit Valley Aid Station for the Death Ride.

“I have loved my time in the mountains and skiing. I get great joy watching & helping young kids, & even adults, learn about skiing and racing. I love seeing BVRT carry on!”

Martha MontagueSecretary
Martha and her family have been skiing at Bear Valley since 2014 when they were introduced to the area by close friends and they are currently building a house in Bear Valley to be able to live her full-time. She has two kids on the race team, her husband is a coach, and she has been on the Adult Team for 6 years. She has been on the board since 2022 and is a USSA certified Level 1 Race Administrator.

Outside of skiing, she has served on nonprofit boards including co-founding the Sunnyvale Education Foundation and serving as Secretary and Parliamentarian on the Vargas Elementary PTA. Professionally, she has a BS and PhD in Chemical Engineering from MIT and the University of Wisconsin – Madison and has been working as an engineer and operations manager in the Semiconductor industry for over 20 years.

Nick ShawkeyBoard Member, Head Coach Race Team
Nick Shawkey has been involved with the Bear Valley Race Team for over 20 years. Nick raced on the Bear Valley Race Team in the early 80’s as a Junior athlete. He continued racing through college, racing in different series, and USSA Masters.

Nick started his Ski Instruction career in 1983. Nick is presently the Head Coach, a US Ski and Snowboard Level 300 Alpine Coach, Level 100 On Snow Clinitioner, Level 2 – Referee, Chief of Course, Chief of Race, certified in Timing and Calculation, Race Administrator, and will be pursuing his Technical Delegate.

Besides skiing, Nick is retired after 26 years with CalFire and is presently employed as a Safety Officer with AIS Infrastructure.

Gary Smith, Brentwood Board Member
Gary Smith grew up in the Bay Area and lives in Brentwood for the past 11 years. He’s been Skiing at Bear Valley Ski Resort since the late 1970’s with his family and friends. Gary has literally grown up in the grocery business working for Safeway Stores since he was in high school and currently works as a Web Specialist in the company’s Corporate Communications group.

Gary is also been engaged with many non-profit foundations including (Easter Seals, MDA and Safeway Foundation) to help improve our communities. He is currently a member of the United States Ski and Snowboard Association and is a Competition Alpine Official. His son, Matthew, is a former member of the Bear Valley Race Team, and also participated in both DEVO and in the Skiing Bears programs. Gary and his wife Charisse have been married for nineteen years and met on the slopes at Bear Valley. They love to travel, and being outdoors.

“My goal is to support the mountain with our athlete’s development and life enhancing values thru the BVSEF educational programs. I strongly believe the foundation helps build both life-long friendships and positive life lessons for all our members.”

George StoneBoard Member
George moved to Bear Valley after attending UC Davis, in the spring of 1971. He was hired as a ski instructor by Jon Reveal, the assistant ski school director for The Peter Brinkman Ski School in 1972 and became full-certified (Level III) in 1976. Around 1978, he moved to Kirkwood still teaching for the Peter Brinkman Ski School as he had expanded his ski schools to Kirkwood and Telluride, CO. At Kirkwood he worked as a supervisor, taught in the KIBS (Kirkwood Instruction for blind skiers) program, worked as an examiner for PSIAW, and ran the kid’s program for one season.

George returned to Bear Valley when the ski school administration changed and also at Tim Petrick’s invitation. With his return to Bear Valley, he taught all levels, ran the kid’s program for 5 years and started, with Rick Van Aiken, an adaptive ski program. He had met Mike Young when he came and worked for Kirkwood so when he took over the ski school, George asked to do some coaching and was put in charge of the program for one year.

In 2001, George went back to school at CSU Stanislaus to earn a teaching credential and Masters degree and stopped working full time on the mountain. In the past few years he has been coaching development team and teaching regular ski school at all levels as well as adaptive students.

Joseph TrapassoBoard Member
Joseph Trapasso grew up in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. He enjoys skiing at Bear Valley with his wife and two children. Following the pandemic, Joseph joined the BVSF board to support the race and all-mountain programs. He currently holds a US Ski and Snowboard level 1 referee certification.

Joseph is an Eagle Scout and an active leader within his son’s BSA Troop. He holds an MS degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and has been working on computer hardware at NVIDIA since 2007.

Joseph enjoys hiking with his dog, woodworking, tinkering, and telling dad jokes.

Nicole TrapassoTreasurer
Nicole Trapasso, originally from Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania, has been skiing at Bear Valley since 2016. Her two kids have been involved in the BVSF ski program since 2017. During the 23-24 ski season, Nicole took on the role of Rasmussen Classic Slalom Race dinner and silent auction coordinator. As of May 2024, she has also taken on the role of the BVSF treasurer.

Apart from her BVSF roles, Nicole holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a master’s degree in education, both from the University of Pittsburgh. Since 2007, Nicole has been working in the education field as a high school science teacher, educational specialist, and volunteer in the non-profit k-12 homeschool community.

In her free time, Nicole enjoys painting, baking, learning Japanese, and reading historical fiction books.