HomeAuthor Rachel Perkins

Rachel is an endurance sport enthusiast based in the Roaring Fork Valley of Colorado. You can find her cruising around on skinny skis, running in the mountains with her pup, or chasing her toddler (born Oct. 2018). Instagram: @bachrunner4646
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U.S. Ski & Snowboard recently announced its U.S. Ski Team nominations for the 2022-23 season. Of the 22 athletes named to the team this season, six were not on the previous year’s roster, either newly named or renamed: Michael Earnhart, Walker Hall, Zak Ketterson, Will Koch, Finn O’Connell, and Sammy Smith. To help fans get to know these new(er) faces, FasterSkier is doing a series of interviews, providing insights into the factors that have contributed...

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The Olympic Dream.  Perhaps the opportunity to compete at the highest level of sport would not be as sought-after and revered were it not for the inherent scarcity of opportunities to achieve it. This year, only eight women and six men were able to represent the United States in cross-country skiing in Zhangjiakou, down from a total of twenty – 11 women, 9 men – who were selected for PyeongChang in 2018.  Among those who...

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In the spring of 2020, the Bridger Ski Foundation (BSF) launched a new professional racing team, led by Andy Newell, who spent nearly two decades on the U.S. Ski Team as a staple and leader of the American men’s program. Launching early in the pandemic, the BSF Pro Team had few opportunities to show their strength in the first race season, but they came on strong in 2021-22. During U.S. Nationals in Soldier Hollow in...

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Here are links to earlier installments in this five-part series. The first two parts (part one; part two) spoke to the perspectives of high level wax technicians and industry representatives, while part three focused on the Wisconsin Nordic Ski League. To read the beginning of this article on the wax protocols of Western clubs, part four, click here.  Leveling the Playing Field In regard to the question of whether the policy widens the gap in...

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In speaking with representatives from each of the leagues featured in this series, a few main points rose to the foreground in this discussion: the level of competition matters, how the policy came about matters, and how a program can enhance athlete support holistically by relieving wax-related expenses – measured both in time and dollars – matters.  Before jumping into discussions for club level programs across the West, here are the links to view the...

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In case you missed it, here’s part 1 and part 2 of this series, in which industry representatives and expert ski technicians discuss ski performance theory and what impact a single-wax policy may have on competitive skiing.  What goes on inside the wax cabins and trucks at high-level competitions from the SuperTour to the World Cup seems, in equal parts, expertise, artistry, and alchemy. And, for those looking to understand to which conditions their pair...

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Last June, U.S. Ski & Snowboard announced the hiring of Greta Anderson as Development Team Coach, supporting Cross Country Program Manager Bryan Fish in “all aspects of leadership and logistics surrounding the U.S. Development Pathway, including National Training Group camps, U.S. Nationals and Junior/U23 World Championships, Europa Cup, select SuperTour and other national-level competitions, as well as working on Coaches’ Education and Certification.” (Read an in-depth interview with Anderson following the announcement here.) As she...

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After eight years at the helm of the Stratton Mountain School (SMS) T2 team, head coach Pat O’Brien is in the process of taking a few steps back, passing the reins to Perry Thomas, who has spent the last five years as the assistant coach at the University of Vermont. Perhaps highlighting this transition and the sharing of responsibilities the two are in the process of navigating, FasterSkier connected with Thomas in mid-May while he...

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I think we can all agree that the last two years have been a wild ride. For those at the helm of the cross-country program at U.S. Ski & Snowboard, added layers of COVID safety precautions and expensive testing have increased the otherwise mounting demands of preparing for an Olympic Games. There have been numerous domestic and international competitions canceled, including a full season of SuperTour racing in 2020/2021, numerous World Cups canceled, and three...

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Click here to read part 1 of this story. In most states, youth skiing is divided between club and high school programming, where club programs support skiers looking to race competitively on a regional, national, or international level, perhaps with goals of NCAA skiing and beyond. High school ski programming is typically more participation focused, and comes with a much lower price tag for families, consequently with a much smaller program budget. It’s less about...

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In November 2021, the Wisconsin Nordic Ski League (WNSL), which oversees both high school and club level youth programming state-wide, accepted a sponsorship proposal from Swix and Salomon, which would provide the league with $10,000 in funding per year for three years. The proposal also included stipulation that a standardized wax protocol using Swix waxes would be adopted by the league at all affiliated races, including the state championship.  In practice, this would look like...

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FasterSkier recently shared a press release on behalf of the US Nordic Olympic Women (US NOW) announcing Julia Kern as the 2022 recipient of the fourth annual Gold Rush Award. The release included comments from 2021 winner Jessie Diggins on the qualities that she, along with the other past winners, recognized made Kern deserving of this year’s award, but it became clear that there was a gap in FasterSkier’s coverage on the history of US...

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Believe it or not, it is mid-May. For those following a traditional cross-country calendar, this means the start of a new training year, building toward the 2022/2023 competition season. And, for many of the top American athletes, this means it’s time to make an annual pilgrimage to Bend, Oregon for the on-snow camp of the season at the Mt. Bachelor Nordic Center. The weather gods were kind to the camp attendees, with nearly a foot...

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Part 1 of this story details Eliška’s experience coaching through pregnancy and the birth of her son. Keep reading to learn about the challenges she, like many women, experienced during the postpartum recovery process, and what it took to navigate year one of life on the road with baby Viggo. Expectation versus reality.  When preparing to interview Eliška Albrigtsen about her experience pairing NCAA coaching with new motherhood, I expected the challenges she faced during...

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While skimming through the extensive photo albums shared by Tobias Albrigtsen during the U.S. Cross Country Ski Championships in Soldier Hollow this past January, one head coach caught my attention. University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) head coach Eliška Albrigtsen (Tobias’ wife) had an extra member of the team in tow: her then 11-month-old son, Viggo.  As most ski coaches know all too well, the demands of the job are multifactorial, and can make it challenging...

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On April 27th, Gus Schumacher and Jessie Diggins headed to Washington, D.C. with six other winter Olympians and Paralympians as members of the Protect Our Winters (POW) athlete alliance to advocate for progressive changes in climate policy. While Diggins has been partnered with POW for several years, Schumacher only recently came on board, making the trip his first experience lobbying for climate activism; it was also his first trip to the nation’s capital.   While in...

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At 24-years-old, Hannah Halvorsen recently announced that she is ending the pro-skier chapter of her life, but it’s not the only transition she has on deck. This past weekend, Halvorsen also graduated from Alaska Pacific University (APU) with degrees in cognitive psychology and business administration. As a senior capstone project, focused on the psychology side of her studies, Halvorsen chose to research a topic she has been invested in throughout her time as a student-athlete:...

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On April 13th, Rosie Brennan wrote in an Instagram post, “The world is constantly changing and I’m trying to move with it.” The post announced the launch of an online auction for a limited edition NFT, in partnership with the organizations Parity Now and VereNFT. The NFT, titled “Perseverance Trail”, was designed by artist Kerri Schiff and features a mountainous ski trail with a variety of images of Brennan racing in her Team USA suit....

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It’s likely that today’s guest needs no introduction. Over the last decade, she has steadily worked to become the most decorated American cross country skier in history. As she gained more recognition beyond the niche of cross country skiing, she began to use her platform to become an advocate for causes she felt passionately about, opening up about her own experience struggling with an eating disorder and working hard at recovery through the Emily Program,...

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What comes to mind when you think of a cross country ski race? Depending on your location and how you choose to interact with the sport, there are likely a variety of answers to the question, but it’s likely that there are some common themes.  “Cross country events are pretty much all the same when you boil them down, you know?” said retired US Ski Team member and 2018 Olympian Reese Hanneman. “It’s a test...