Editor's Note: A number of people have contacted FasterSkier.com, asking about the current status of the APU Nordic Ski Center. The following is a press release sent to us by APUNSC.
Alaska Pacific University Nordic Ski Center (APUNSC) is running with momentum for the 2006-2007 ski season! Athletes are psyched, new staff has been hired, and the sky’s the limit. Earlier this summer, the APUNSC program located in Anchorage, Alaska underwent a transformation of leadership. New program director Erik Flora says; â€œThis is an exciting time for APU. We have put together an exceptional staff, an unparalleled athlete roster, and received uncompromising dedication and support from our Masters group and the Alaska ski community This is going to be a great season!â€
Young senior racer and US Continental Cup Team member Tazlina (Taz) Mannix adds, â€œUnder new leadership, APU has the potential to reinvigorate Alaska skiing and keep quality Alaskan athletes in the state to develop into world class athletes.â€
Kikkan Randall at Torino, photo: Fischer
The program was started a decade ago as an Olympic development program under the name of Gold 2002. The program then partnered with Alaska Pacific University to further its development and strengths. APUNSC was one of the first elite level regionally based programs and continues to develop some of the best elite racers in the country. APU Nordic Ski Center offers the best of both worlds, giving the athlete the opportunity to focus on skiing and education with a flexible academic schedule.
Two-time Olympian and APU student Kikkan Randall adds, â€œI’m psyched to have the educational opportunities at the university as well as the competitive opportunities. APUNSC is a great place to be a student athlete.â€
Medalists at US Nationals (l-r) Lars Flora, Eric Strabel, Kate Pearson, Kikkan Randall, James Southam, photo: Bill Pearson
Leading the APUNSC team this winter is two-time Olympian Kikkan Randall who comments; â€œEnergy and enthusiasm is at an all time high. We are training hard and feeling fast. It’s going to be a great season!â€ Other athletes on board for the 06-07 season include Taz Mannix (US Devo Team), Andy Hunter, Eric Strabel (2006 Nat’l sprint 2nd, formerly UAA), Kate Pearson (2006 US Nat’l 3rd), and sprint machine Anders Haugen. Of special note are James Southam (06 Olympian/Nat’l Champion) and Lars Flora (02 & 06 Olympian), both of whom have re-joined the program after several years hiatus. Southam comments: â€œWe’ve had so many fast independent athletes in Alaska the last 3-4 years, and it’s great to be able to bring everyone back into one program. It’s great for Alaska skiing and US skiing in general.â€