Meet the Team: New FasterSkier Staff for the New World Cup Season

FasterSkierDecember 1, 2021
This is not the FasterSkier newsroom; this is the New York Times newsroom in 1942. In practice, all of us at FasterSkier work at our own homes; most of us have never met in person; and none of us has a Hitler mustache. Also, the managing editor of the NYT in 1942 was not a woman. (photo: Wikimedia Commons/public domain)

Written in collaboration by Gavin Kentch and Rachel Bachman Perkins.


We’re excited to announce some additions and changes to the FasterSkier staff as we approach the next World Cup season. Read on for more.

First, after many quality years on the team, Jason Albert has moved on from the managing editor position. He now writes about wider skis, higher elevations, and deeper snow as the editor over at WildSnow, a backcountry ski publication; we wish him well.

Rachel Bachman Perkins and her daughter following an early-March 15k skate on Grand Mesa in southwestern Colorado.

Rachel Bachman Perkins, who spent the last three years covering World Cup races as well as domestic athletes, nutrition, and physiology, has now transitioned into the role of managing editor. In addition to editing and continuing to write about a variety of topics, Rachel is climbing the audio learning curve as the host of the Nordic Nation Podcast. She hopes to still squeeze in some of her own skiing and racing from time to time also. 

Ella Hall returns to FasterSkier for another season of quality reporting.

Ella Hall, an American living in France, continues to be our European-based World Cup reporter. Ella is a Dartmouth Grad who grew up in the Methow Valley with deep family roots in the sport. She now lives (and skis) in Lyon, FRA where she also teaches English at a nearby university. 

Joining the reporting squad are Ben Theyerl and Ian Tovell, both based in this country, who will handle World Cup reporting duties alongside Ella and Rachel.

Ben Theyerl joins the FasterSkier race reporting team. (Photo: Jeff Endler)

Ben is a third-generation nordie from Eau Claire, WI and recent graduate from Colby College in Maine. He first wrote for FasterSkier in August, 2020 when he submitted an essay on the pervasive whiteness in cross-country skiing.  Currently living in Crested Butte, Colorado, where he is an assistant coach for the local nordic team, Ben likes to mix his passions of writing, politics, and skiing, and we’re very excited to have him on board.

Our eastern correspondent, Ian Tovell, has also supported FasterSkier in the past, working as an intern in 2016-2017. Ian brings a well-rounded endurance background, from being a regular at the Birkie, to trail running, to triathlon. He has stayed engaged in the cross-country ski community over the years as the coach of a local high school in Maine and a board member for New England Nordic Ski Association (NENSA). Welcome to the team, Ian!

Gavin Kentch course-side at a frigid Kincaid Park, U.S. Nationals, January 2018. (photo: Gabby Naranja)

Gavin Kentch, in Alaska, will continue contributing mid-week features, and other articles complementing our World Cup coverage. Gerry Furseth, in Canada, will continue covering all things Canadian. Ned Dowling, a physical therapist based in Utah who recently concluded a several-part “Building a Better Skier” series on biomechanics and ski technique, will be hosting an “Ask the PT” column that we are really looking forward to. You may see the work of additional freelance writers peppered in as well. 

Finally, we are thrilled to welcome back Nat Herz, who previously wrote for this site from 2009–2014 before going to journalism school and writing for the Anchorage Daily News. After several years with Alaska Public Media, where he covered government, politics, and the environment, Nat will soon be returning to the Anchorage Daily News.

Back for more, Nat Herz returns to FasterSkier as the co-host of the Devon Kershaw Show, and our Olympic correspondent in Beijing.

Nat has taken over hosting the Devon Kershaw Show podcast, and will provide boots-on-the-ground coverage from Beijing this February.

Retired World Cup skier and aspiring doctor Devon Kershaw will continue sharing his unfiltered thoughts on high-level racing and various FIS foibles from his current home in Norway.

This is more of what things look like for us: Alex Kochon interviewing Jessie Diggins at 2016 Spring Series in Craftsbury, Vt. (Photo: John Lazenby/

We’re all excited to bring you robust coverage during the season ahead. We’re keeping the coverage of every World Cup race that has long been the site’s hallmark, but we hope to take you beyond the results to better understand the events, athletes, and what has led American ski racing to its current level. 

FasterSkier will augment race coverage with additional articles and resources to keep our cross-country ski community engaged and informed at all levels. You can expect this to include articles on training, nutrition, popular racing, and travel. 

You’ll notice that we’ve published substantially more preseason news this year than in the last few years, and have strengthened our coverage of domestic racing. We’ve also moved from two World Cup reporters in 2019/2020 to four this year, which should bring you a wider range of perspectives while keeping our staff fresh enough to provide engaging non–World Cup articles all season long.

We believe in what we’re doing here at FasterSkier. We believe in the importance of covering American skiing, and we are psyched for what is to come. Thank you for following along, and don’t hesitate to reach out to with questions, ideas, or constructive feedback. 

Media descend in the finish zone following the men’s 30 k classic at Kincaid Park, U.S. Nationals, January 2018, in the rare American ski race with multiple photographers in the finish area. Tyler Kornfield (left) and Eric Packer are the athletes in front, with Noah Hoffman (red hat) and Scott Patterson (bib 101) in the background. (photo: Gavin Kentch)



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