Fast and Female at Gould Academy is a Success

January 11, 2011
Fast & Female Group Photo at Gould Academy. Photo courtesy of NENSA

Calgary, Alberta/Bethel, Maine – Fast and Female’s third annual US X-Country Ski Festival held on Sunday, January 9 in Bethel, Maine will go down in history as a tremendous success.  Hosted by Gould Academy, the event saw 140 girls from Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire between the ages of 9 to 19 years old take part in a day of inspiration with female Olympic ambassadors and US Cross-Country Ski Team athletes Caitlin Compton, Morgan Arritola and Holly Brooks, along with many more female athletes from around the United States, fresh off of competing at the US National Championships in nearby Rumford, Maine.

Autographs on t-shirts were a popular request! Photo courtesy of NENSA
“Hosting a Fast and Female event surpassed my expectations with everyone involved bringing amazing energy,” said Gould Academy Head Nordic Coach Jeremy Nellis following the event. “You couldn’t have asked for a better group volunteers and ambassadors.  It was clear that they believed in the mission and I believe they inspired other women to lead a healthy and active lifestyle.  The smiling faces of all those girls will stay with me forever.”

After being held for two consecutive years in Anchorage, Alaska, the 2011 Annual US X-Country Ski Festival traveled to Gould Academy in Bethel, Maine to synchronize with the US Nationals that took place in Rumford, Maine from January 2 to 8.

In keeping with the highly successful signature Fast and Female day camps, the 2011 X-Country Ski Festival featured a complete day of team building activities, on-snow drills, an inspirational lunch, yoga, and dancing.  The event was geared towards girls with past cross-country skiing experience at both the racing and non-racing levels.

“Thank you for organizing such a successful and empowering event,” said James Demer, parent of a participant and coach of the Falmouth Nordic Ski Team. “My daughter Ava had a really great time and it seemed that all involved did as well!”

Holly Brooks (APU) & Lauren Jacobs (Craftsbury GRP) take questions from Fast and Female participants. Photo courtesy of NENSA

This event was made possible thanks to the generous contribution of local sponsors and supporters including Gould Academy, who supplied the venue and lunches for all participants, the New England Nordic Ski Association (NENSA), the Maine Winter Sports Center, as well as Fast and Female’s national program supporters, including Best Buy, Buff, Lululemon Athletica and Cold-FX.   Additionally, 15 volunteers and 32 group leaders offered valuable time to ensure the girls had an outstanding experience.

“The purpose of Fast and Female is to inspire girls to stay committed to the active and healthy lifestyle by putting them in direct contact with leading female sports role models,” said Marie-Hélène (M&H) Thibeault, Executive Director for Fast and Female and ex-alpine ski racer who evolved at Burke Mountain Academy and Dartmouth College. “Girls are six times more likely to drop out of sports than boys, so we feel it’s key to counter this phenomenon by delivering fun, non-competitive, and empowering programming that makes girls realize that sport is a tremendous vehicle for both athletic and personal growth,” she added.  Thibeault also specified that all participants received a Fast and Female t-shirt as well as a yoga mat generously donated by Lululemon Athletica.

Dartmouth's Erika Flowers, sporting lots of pink, leads a game. Photo courtesy of NENSA

Founded in 2005, Fast and Female is a non-profit organization based in Canmore, Alberta, Canada and dedicated to the empowerment through sport of young women.  Started by the 2006 Olympic gold medalist Chandra Crawford, Fast and Female operates across Canada and the US and currently reaches out to girls in the sports of Cross-Country Skiing, Biathlon, Alpine Skiing, Triathlon, and Cycling.

Fast and Female’s expansion into the US was made possible in 2009 thanks to the friendship and collaboration between Crawford and Kikkan Randall, an Alaska-born cross-country World Cup medalist.  Since 2009, Randall has hosted two Annual US X-Country Ski Festivals in her hometown of Anchorage, Alaska, reaching a total of more than 300 girls.  In 2010, the State of Maine hosted a highly successful regional Fast and Female event and this year’s event marks the first Annual US X-Country Festival to be held outside of Alaska.

For the event photo montage, visit:!/fastandfemale

For full event pictures, visit:

The next Fast and Female event in the USA will be held on January 29, 2011 in Alaska. On this special occasion, Kikkan Randall and Holly Brooks will host more than 200 young female ski enthusiasts for an afternoon of skiing and inspirational presentation. For more information concerning this event, please visit

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