Ella Hall

HomeAuthor Ella Hall

Growing up in Washington’s Methow Valley, Ella was immersed in skiing and the ski community from a young age. From early days bundled in the pulk, to learning to ski as soon as she could walk, to junior racing, a few seasons of collegiate racing, and then to coaching, she has experienced the ski world in many forms. Now, as a recent graduate from Dartmouth College, she finds herself living in France splitting her time between teaching English at a university in Lyon, avidly following ski racing (and now writing about it!) and adventuring in the outdoors as often as possible.
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With temperatures dropping steadily each day and the first signs of winter visible on distant mountaintops, the mind of a skier inevitably turns towards thoughts of snow. For the professionals this goes one step further: how and when can they get on snow before the season starts? In the US, pre-season snow time is limited. Once the snow disappears on Mount Bachelor, the Eagle Glacier in Alaska is typically the only domestic pre-season skiing available,...

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While the majority of the members of the World Cup squad are based in either Vermont or Alaska during the summer, 28-year-old Kevin Bolger has continued his streak of seasons spent above the 60th north parallel. FasterSkier caught up with Bolger just as he was returning to the U.S. from a few months of training in Sweden.  Just before his return, Bolger had competed in the Alliansloppet rollerski races, taking place as part of the...

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Nordic festival are two words most North American ski fans can only dream about. Skinny skiers here are unlikely to experience the reality of such an event for themselves unless they make a trip across the Atlantic. For residents of France, the opportunity to participate in the second edition of the Martin Fourcade Nordic Festival presented itself this weekend and there were many eager attendees. This lucky expat was among the masses. For those unfamiliar...

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Thinking about a summers-end backpacking trip and wondering what shorts to bring? Or perhaps you are searching for the best pair of shorts for a run/hike/lake-dip outing? Look no further than the Norrøna’s Loose Shorts. These shorts top the ratings in terms of versatility and offer plenty of good pocket options to boot.  Made of more than 50% recycled synthetic fiber, the shorts are breathable, lightweight, and durable. Weighing in at 140 grams (that’s just...

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Most FasterSkier readers will be familiar with the name Peter Graves, also referred to as the voice of cross country skiing (and incidentally, the author’s uncle). This summer, Graves lent his voice to the cycling venues near Tokyo for the 2020-turned-2021 Olympic Games. For Graves, this marks his twelfth time announcing at the Games, including summer and winter appearances. Needless to say, he has a wealth of experience. FasterSkier connected with Graves on a recent...

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After a year of postponement caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the summer Olympics are going ahead, with the opening ceremony on Jul 23, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. Setting opinions aside about the lingering threat of COVID or other Olympic-related controversies, the coming weeks will provide countless moments of great sport. Although we are a winter-focused publication here at FasterSkier, we’ve done a little research into how you can best view the upcoming games. NBC is...

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As the Western US experiences unprecedented early summer temperatures FasterSkier reached out to some U.S. Ski Team athletes to get their tips and tricks for training in the heat. (Dehydration is serious. Look out for these signs that your fluids need to be replenished: Extreme thirst, infreqent urination, dark urine, fatique, and lethargy.   We reached Kevin Bolger in Bozeman, Montana (the temperature at the time of writing: 94°F) where he was training before heading...

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I used to think cross-country skiing was a niche sport. Any self-proclaimed Nordic skier can relate to telling someone you’re a “skier” and having them automatically assume you mean alpine skiing. And if you bother to explain what kind of skier you actually are, there’s a good chance they will still have no idea what you’re talking about. Now combine Nordic skiing with the similarly-niche (though better known in Europe) sport of orienteering and you...

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In a statement on social media last week, Olympic gold medalist Kikkan Randall announced that she had made the decision to step down from her position as a member of the International Olympic Committee Athletes Commission. “Unfortunate and unforeseen circumstances in my personal life have made it difficult for me to contribute the energy and attention necessary to fulfill my IOC roles at a level consistent with my values,” wrote Randall.    Members of the...

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Following the FIS Cross-Country committee meetings in May, the FIS Council approved the race calendar for the upcoming season. On the list of events is the newly approved Mixed Relay (4x5km) and Mixed Team sprint, both to debut Sunday, March 13th, 2022 in Falun Sweden. The Swedish Ski Federation and the “Svenska Skidspelen” organizers conducted a study on the feasibility of these formats before approval. At last year’s Swedish senior national competition in Falun, they...

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No two bodies are alike. This holds true for athletes and non-athletes. As activewear becomes an increasingly popular outfit choice, the clothing market has seen a proliferation of brands — from Lululemon to Athleta, to Girlfriend, the options seem endless. In spite of the availability of activewear, it is perhaps not always designed with a spectrum of athletic body types in mind. Enter Indura Athletic, a small-business startup run by nordic skier Abby Drach. Her...

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Pursuing my interest in the French women’s team further, I was put in contact with Thibaut Chene, the women’s coach for L’équipe de France. Before coaching the women’s national team, Chene worked with the French junior team for four years. Thus, many of the women now at the senior level have worked with him since they were junior skiers. In 2015, the prior women’s team coach, Anaël Huard, left and Chene took over. An article written at...

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Living in France for the past year, and with ski racing never far from my mind, I was interested in learning more about the athletes and system here, particularly for the women. While the French men’s team is a force to be reckoned with, both in sprinting and distance, results, or even athletes, on the women’s side are sparse. For example, at the Oberstdorf World Championships in Germany this past season, the French men’s relay...

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In a recent press release from FISI (Federazione Italiana Sport Invernali), the Italian Ski Federation, announced some coaching changes for the upcoming season, notably that this year’s World Cup Sprint Globe winner, Federico Pellegrino, and his teammate, Francesco de Fabiani will join the training group of Marcus Cramer who works with the Russian Ski Team. Cramer’s current squad includes Sergey Ustiugov, Gleb Retivykh, Artem Maltsev and Evgeniy Belov on the men’s side and Yulia Stupak,...

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After an unusual and unprecedented season, many athletes have announced their retirement as they move on from professional ski racing. Aside from the three notable retirements from the U.S. Ski Team, Sadie Maubet-Bjornsen, Sophie Caldwell-Hamilton, and Simi Hamilton, twelve international athletes have said goodbye to World Cup competitions.  Perhaps the biggest name among them is Martin Johnsrud Sundby of Norway, who after a somewhat inauspicious start to his World Cup career in 2005 when he...

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Perhaps this winter you skied 50-kilometers in a day. Maybe you’re a real go-getter and you logged 100 k in one go. Or maybe you’re Gus Schumacher and you recently clocked 200 k in a single outing. Regardless of your season or lifetime distance record, you can be sure that it pales in comparison to what Anders Aukland of Norway achieved this past weekend. Between Saturday morning to late Sunday night, a period of 41...

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This year was a big year for women’s Nordic combined racing, not in the way 2020 was a “big year”, but in a record-breaking, moving forward to better things kind of way. For those of you who don’t follow Nordic combined, here’s what you need to know: Competitions involve ski jumping, in which athletes are scored based on style and distance, and later in the day, they compete in a pursuit-start skate race based on...

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This World Cup coverage is made possible through the generous support of Marty and Kathy Hall and their A Hall Mark of Excellence Award. To learn more about A Hall Mark of Excellence Award or to learn how you can support FasterSkier’s coverage please contact info@fasterskier.com.  Four months after the season debut in Ruka, Finland the women lined up at the start line one last time to conclude a season many were skeptical would even...

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As the World Cup season winds down, FasterSkier caught up with two U.S. Ski Team athletes who’ve been living on the road all winter to learn about their strength routines during COVID. Even without a global pandemic, on-the-go strength training can be a challenge. Julia Kern and Katharine Ogden shared their approaches in the following interview:  FasterSkier: In a typical week how many times are you doing strength? What does this look like? KO:  I...

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I am a woman of many jackets, combine my down jacket and exercise jacket collection and you could fill a respectably sized closet. In the months since the lofoten hiloflex200 jacket by Norrøna entered my wardrobe, it has risen through the jacket ranks to become one of my favorite options. That being said, I tend to run warm and since the number of cold days seems to be decreasing here in south-eastern France, the opportunities...