History of the Northwestern Alpine Ski Academy
The Northwestern Alpine Ski Academy NASA (formerly the Manistee Ski Club) began to evolve in the late seventies and early eighties. Dan Janowiak began coaching the Manistee High School girls and boys ski teams in the fall of 1976. At that time only the MHS ski teams existed. Dan was determined to build a feeder program for the MHS ski teams to be more competitive state wide.
The Manistee Ski Booster Club was formed in 1976 to provide financial assistance to MHS teams. The Booster Club and a couple of coaching assistants helped Dan get some junior high school students skiing and the growth of alpine skiing in Manistee was under way. In about 1980 the Manistee Ski Booster Club changed its name to simply the Manistee Ski Club. The primary purpose at that time was to grow the sport of alpine skiing in Manistee. Fifth and sixth graders were exposed to skiing, then third and fourth graders. By the mid eighties children in K-2 were exposed to skiing. The program that introduced children to skiing for the first time was called the MSC Learn-To-Ski Program (today the Development Program). By the late eighties, nearly 100 Manistee children were a part of the Learn-To-Ski Program.
MSC Race Academy began by the mid eighties and MSC athletes were competing in both intramural and inter-club events. MSC aligned itself with other Northern Michigan ski clubs and a fun yet competitive schedule of events was in place for serious MSC ski racers. The MSC Race Academy was MSC’s premier race program from the mid eighties until 2004. Many Race Academy athletes moved on to the MHS ski teams in ninth grade. When they arrived on their high school team they were good skiers with race experience, ready to be competitive at the high school level.
In the mid ninety’s MSC expanded into the USSA programming (United Stated Ski Association). Dan Janowiak began training Manistee athletes and athletes from other areas for competition in the USSA forum. From the mid ninety’s through 2002 MSC athletes competed at both the Age Class and Ability levels of USSA. Today, the NASA CUSSA Program is considered NASA's elite race program.
In the summer of 2009 MSC formally changed its name to the Northwestern Alpine Ski Academy (NASA).
NASA athletes have achieved great success in USSA ski racing not only with Region III, but Central Division, nationally (FIS, NorAm, and US Nationals) and internationally (European FIS and Europa Cup and World Juniors). NASA athletes have won 10 Rocky/Central Junior Olympic titles, 2 USSA National titles and have represented the United States in international competitions including the Whistler Cup and Trofeo Topolino (world’s most prestigious children’s race). NASA CUSSA has seen its athletes placed in the United States Ski Team’s National Development System and on the United States Ski Team. NASA CUSSA athletes have also gone on to achieve NCAA Division I podium’s and NCAA Division I First Team All-American status.
The Manistee High School Ski Teams were one of the original nine schools recognized by the MHSAA when they sanctioned Alpine Skiing for girls and boys in the early 50’s.
Manistee High School ski teams have won numerous MHSAA Regional Titles. In 1999, the MHS girls team was Runner-Up in the State Finals. In 2009, the MHS girls were MHSAA Division 2 State Champions and the boys Division 2 Runner-Up. In 2011, MHS Coop Boys Ski Team was runner-up in the State Finals. MHS Coop Ski Team in 2011 had its third individual State Champion. MHS had one or both of its teams in the State Finals every year but two from the early 90’s through 2014. Typically, top MHS athletes were NASA CUSSA members.
NASA athletes won 9 individual MHSAA State Titles, plus 6 Runner-Up finishes in its last 7 years of existence.