NENSA is thrilled to welcome and introduce our new Youth & Introductory Program Director, Mackenzie Rizio.
Mackenzie comes to NENSA with a strong connection to the New England ski community, a passion for the sport, a depth of experience as a skier and a coach, and relevant professional experience.
Mackenzie grew up in Wilmington, VT and began skiing at Prospect Mountain BKL when she was 6 years old. She loved attending the BKL Festival annually and found magic and long lasting friendships there. She went on to attend Stratton Mountain School and excelled regionally and nationally as a junior skier. At UVM, Mackenzie studied Business with a concentration in Finance and minors in Economics and Sports Management. She was a member of the Varsity Nordic Ski Team and an officer of the Student Mental Health Awareness Committee.
After college, Mackenzie remained invested in the ski community, coaching at Mount Anthony Union High School and serving as a Board Member, Coach, and founding member of the revitalized Prospect Mountain Ski Club, a new club serving the Southern Vermont and Western Massachusetts communities. She is an active member of the Women’s Ski Coaches Association and was selected as a recipient of their GearUp program, a partnership that combines gear, education, and networking to help overcome barriers women coaches face in the ski industry. She has done all of this alongside a full-time position as an Analyst at the Vermont Country Store.
Heidi Lange, Executive Director, is thrilled to welcome Mackenzie to our team at NENSA. “Mackenzie brings not only a passion for our sport and close connection to our community, but also a deep commitment to our mission at NENSA and the potential for our work to change lives. This has been consistently evident in her own journey as she translated her own joys and successes into leadership and mentorship in our sport. She has created and expanded opportunities in her region, developing young skiers and people while cultivating a strong and vibrant community. I know the commitment, joy, and energy she brings to NENSA, alongside her professional background and skills, will mean wonderful things for new and developing skiers in New England!”
Mackenzie shares, “I am thrilled to be joining the NENSA team! This organization has supported countless events and programming that myself and my community have directly benefited from and I could not be more excited to begin putting my best efforts towards this goal as well.”
NENSA Board President Ellen Chandler reflects, “I am so pleased that Mackenzio Rizio has joined NENSA to take on the Y&IPD position. Kait leaves big boots to fill and Mackenzie brings her own unique strengths to our community. I was particularly impressed with the way Mackenzie tackled the transition from college ski racing to her professional career while making time to give back to cross country skiing as a coach. I am so glad she is now able to combine her professional and ski talents, and passion for xc skiing, on behalf of NENSA.”
“I am most looking forward to actively participating in another role during these events. I have been a participant, a competitor, and a coach over the years. I am excited to appreciate these events with a new lens,” shares Mackenzie about the upcoming season.
Long-time NENSA Board member and Chair of the New England Bill Koch League Kate Koch knows Mackenzie’s journeys and joys in skiing first hand. “It’s so exciting to welcome Mackenzie Rizio to the NENSA team, though really “welcome” seems silly since Mackenzie has been part of the NENSA world since she started chasing lollipops in the BKL decades ago! Through years at Prospect and Stratton, Mackenzie always brought her spirited energy to workouts, her teams, and races. She skied Eastern Cups, earned all American titles for NENSA at Junior Nationals, and went on to ski for the University of Vermont. Since college, Mackenzie has continued to give back through coaching and even starting new programs to help support juniors. We are so lucky she will now apply her boundless energy to youth and introductory programs across all of New England!”
“It is very hard to pinpoint just one favorite ski memory, but if I had to choose it would have to be skiing through the streets of downtown Burlington after a huge snowstorm during college,” says Mackenzie. “Burlington doesn’t generally get as much snow as other parts of the state, so it felt even more special to be able to bop around downtown with my UVM teammates. Being able to have fun and go on an adventure ski in the midst of a serious training/racing season put into perspective what really matters at the end of the day.”
The Youth & Introductory Program Director at NENSA is responsible for all youth and introductory offerings including the Bill Koch League & Nordic Rocks programming as well as our very popular Women’s Day. The Y&IPD also organizes and oversees NENSA’s BKL Festival, U16 Eastern Championship, and Eastern High School Championship and collaborates with our Competitive Program Director on coaches education and rollerski events.
Mackenzie will continue to be based in Southern Vermont and has started working with NENSA this week. She is looking forward to connecting with our community at upcoming events. In the meantime (or anytime) she can be reached at [email protected]