Canmore, Alberta / Chugiak, Alaska – Three months ago, Alaska’s cross-country skiing superstar and Fast and Female ambassador – Kikkan Randall – put a pink star on her calendar for the day of Saturday January 29, 2011. No, that day didn’t stand for a special training session or a key race on the World Cup circuit. Instead, that day marked the hosting of the third annual Fast and Female X-Country SkiFest in Alaska, led by Randall and her US National teammate, Holly Brooks.
As planned, this past Saturday, 200 enthusiastic female skiers between the ages of 9 to 19 joined Randall and Brook at the Chugiak High School in Chugiak in Alaska for a unique afternoon of on-snow ski drills, inspirational presentations, dancing and yoga.
“Our ski stations were the most fun yet,” admitted Randall who is enjoying her best World Cup season ever with three podium finishes in skate sprint events including a gold medal. “We worked on all sorts of different skills and even threw in a little friendly competition to get the girls really fired up!”
Locally title sponsored by the Anchorage Women’s Clinic and supported by an additional 20 ambassadors with a broad range of x-country racing experience at the state, national and international levels, the 2011 Fast and Female X-Country SkiFest featured activities all aimed at motivating girls to stay hooked on sports and the healthy lifestyle.
“With this being our third annual Fast and Female event, I can really feel that the Fast and Female spirit is taking hold with these girls and we really are making a difference,” admitted Randall who donates hours each year to the planning and hosting of this big event.
For Randall, who is under a tight training schedule, being able to spend five hours with 200 emerging young female skiers from Alaska is a gift. Indeed, this Saturday, as she watched a field full of aspiring female x-country skiing champions, Randall rejoiced in being able to inspire and be inspired thanks to the contagious energy that emerges at all Fast and Female events.
“The smile power at Saturday’s event was unbelievable,” said Randall following the event. “I didn’t want the day to end! Being able to see the eyes of our participants light up when we talk about our experiences, and beginning to see their minds start to dream, is such an incredible and rewarding experience,” concluded the racer who is now setting her sights on competing at the 2011 World X-Country Ski Championships in Norway from February 23 to March 6.
Founded in 2005, Fast and Female is a non-profit organization based in Canmore, Alberta, Canada. The organization is intensely focused on delivering innovative non-competitive programming to increase the retention of girls in sports and offset the factors that make girls six times more likely to drop out of sports than boys.
Each year, the organization travels all over Canada and the US with Olympic and elite-level female athletes to offer sport-specific programming for female youth participants involved in Cross-Country Skiing, Biathlon, Alpine Skiing, Triathlon, and Cycling. Program scope and reach grows annually with the addition of new female ambassadors.
Fast and Female’s expansion into the US was made possible in 2009 thanks to the friendship and collaboration between Randall and Canada’s Chandra Crawford. Crawford is the organization’s original founder and won a gold medalist in cross-country skiing at the 2006 Olympics.
The 2011 Fast and Female X-Country SkiFest held in Chugiak was made possible thanks to the generous contribution of many valuable volunteers as well as the financial and in-kind contributions of the Anchorage Women’s Clinic, the Nordic Skiing Association of Anchorage, Best Buy, Buff Multifunctional Headwear, Subway, Cross-Country Alaska, Kaladi Brothers Coffee, and Cold-FX. For a complete list of Fast and Female supporters and donors, please visit: http://www.fastandfemale.com/default.asp?lang=&mode=webpage&id=89
All event participants went home with a Fast and Female t-shirt, a Buff, ski ties, and an autographed poster as souvenirs from their empowering day.
For more information concerning upcoming Fast and Female events, pleas