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
Cross Country With a Twist: NordicX Event Lights Up Anchorage 

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...

Letters to My Younger Self: Murray Banks on Embracing Opportunity and Living Life to the Fullest

Editor’s note: This is the third essay in our series, “Letters to my younger self.” Lauren Fleshman provided the modern locus classicus for this genre, while John Wood and Adam Verrier kick-started the series on FasterSkier.  When the private school at which my husband teaches offered him a sabbatical for the 2020-21 school year, we quickly began to fantasize about the ski town(s) in which we’d spend the following winter. A February 2020 trip to...

Nordic Nation: A Backcountry Ski Race on Skinny Skis – Simi Hamilton and Ben Koons Take Second at the 2022 Montane Grand Traverse

Tucked deep into snowy valleys, the tiny iconic Colorado mountain towns of Aspen and Crested Butte are separated by a mere 40 miles by foot, but roughly 200 miles by car in the winter. Separating the two is the expanse of the rugged Elk Mountain range, which features six of Colorado’s 14’ers, peaks that reach above 14,000’.  Now meccas of outdoor recreation, the two towns were historically established as profitable coal and silver mining sites,...

“It’s a Good Time to be an American Ski Racer”: A Look Inside the OPA Cup Finals Trip to Sappada, ITA

While World Cup Finals were underway in mid-March in Falun, Sweden, a second contingent of top American skiers was lining up roughly 2,000 kilometers south to race in the OPA Cup Finals in Sappada, Italy. Located along the northern edge of Italy near the Austrian border, the small town is nestled among the spectacular, jagged massifs of the Italian Dolomites, roughly an hour’s drive east of Toblach, which typically hosts the final stages of the...

The mountainFLOW Eco Wax team takes on the Birkie: Part 2

Just over a month ago, the American cross country ski community descended upon the small town of Hayward, Wisconsin. Skies were clear, the snow was cold and firm, and lycra was everywhere. But one set of race suits stood out, both because of the noteworthy athletes wearing them and for their bold neon colors. It was the MountainFLOW Eco Wax race team of Simi and Sophie Hamilton, Sylvan Ellefson, Sadie Maubet Bjornsen, Erik Bjornsen, Matt...

Nordic Nation: A Discussion on the Media’s Portrayal of Endurance Athletes with Rosie Brennan, Corrine Malcolm, Brian Metzler, and Nat Herz

Though the FasterSkier team would select other highlights from the 2022 Beijing Olympic Games, one of the most read articles we produced featured the responses of members of the ski community to a story published on February 8th by the New York Times, which included the following quote: “In a sport that has so many women with massive shoulders and thighs, Diggins looks like a sprite in her racing suit, and it’s not clear exactly...

Nordic Pulse Uses GPS Tracking to Improve and Accelerate Communication Between Groomers and Skiers

If there’s a generalization that can be made about cross country skiers, it might be that we like to “know before [we] go.” As the ski season waxes and wanes, or mid-season storms roll through, we relentlessly check the weather forecast and our local grooming report as we fantasize hungrily about the fresh corduroy or classic tracks we hope to enjoy that day. But we can’t always know before we go. Timely grooming reporting asks...

Martin and Kern Stride to the Top on Day Two in Whistler

Carrying the momentum from the first day of racing into a second distance event, athletes lined up once more at the Whistler Olympic Park for a 10 / 15-kilometer interval start classic. Over 130 men and 90 women participated in the open categories, representing clubs across Canada and the United States.  Adding a springtime layer of complexity to remind us that we are officially past the equinox, temperatures in Whistler hovered above freezing while a...

From Athlete to Technical Delegate: A Q & A with Kelsey Phinney

When reaching out to Sun Valley’s Annie Pokorny to learn more about her decision to become a technical delegate and her experience so far, it was also on the radar that Pokorny’s friend and former teammate Kelsey Phinney was also engaged in the process. As it turned out, Pokorny had been a leading influence in Phinney’s decision to become a TD herself.  Like Pokorny, Phinney is a 2016 graduate of Middlebury College, before continuing with...

David Norris: Missing out on 2022 Olympic Team selection, “making the best of it”, and what’s to come.

It’s hard not to root for David Norris.  Often affectionately described by Devon Kershaw as a “grinder”, the humble 31-year-old Fairbanks, AK native has been an eternal underdog, despite consistently performing among the best American distance racers of his generation on the World Cup. Highlighting his career, Norris has finished in the top-20 three times during his appearances in the 2019 and 2021 World Championships. His best result arrived in last year’s Championships in Oberstdorf,...

With Diggins as Anchor, USA I Comes Out On Top in Falun’s Mixed Relay

This World Cup coverage is made possible through the generous support of Marty and Kathy Hall and the 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 pleasecontact info@fasterskier.com. While it was perhaps not the final event originally planned for the season, today’s 4 x 5-kilometer freestyle mixed relay in Falun, Sweden shaped up to be quite a way to...

North American Men End on High Note in Falun 15 k Free; Patterson 7th, Léveillé 9th, Ketterson 15th

This World Cup coverage is made possible through the generous support of Marty and Kathy Hall and the 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. Following the men’s Olympic 50-turned-28.6 k in Zhangjiakou, long-time American distance champion Kris Freeman and Devon Kershaw called Scott Patterson an “Olympic Specialist”, commenting on how Patterson had found many...

Jouve takes back-to-back classic sprint wins, earning France the 2022 World Cup sprint globe; Ritchie leads for North America with Top-20

This World Cup coverage is made possible through the generous support of Marty and Kathy Hall and the 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. It’s the last hurrah, folks! The World Cup Finals kicked off in Falun, Sweden today with a classic sprint. While the season has been a wild ride for many reasons...

From Athlete to Technical Delegate: An Interview with Annie Pokorny

Today, March 8th, is International Women’s Day, which celebrates “the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.” Simultaneously, International Women’s Day is a call to action, recognizing the disparity and challenges women face for a variety of reasons in different realms of society, and seeking change. While the American women’s team has put together an ever-growing highlight reel on the race course, cross country skiing, like most sports, remains male dominated when it comes...

A full-circle moment, Johaug wins the 30 k classic at Holmenkollen, exactly 11 years after her first individual World Championship gold; Brennan leads the US in 7th

This World Cup coverage is made possible through the generous support of Marty and Kathy Hall and the 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.   Eleven years ago to the day, racing the 30-kilometer mass start skate, a 22-year-old Therese Johaug won her first individual World Championship gold medal in a breakout performance at...

Nordic Nation: Inside the booth with Chad Salmela and Kikkan Randall, NBC’s Olympic cross country ski analysts

In this episode, we’ve got Chad Salmela and Kikkan Randall on to discuss the experience of calling the 2022 Beijing Olympic Winter Games, live from a booth in Stamford, CT. The duo worked as cross country analysts, alongside long-time NBC play-by-play announcer Steve Schlanger. While Chad is a veteran in the role, this was Kikkan’s first Olympics inside the booth. During the call, Kikkan and Chad field a variety of questions on their experience –...

Update: Falun, SWE to absorb World Cup Finals Mar 11 – 13th

After officially canceling the World Cup Finals scheduled for Tyumen, Russia on February 25th the International Ski Federation (FIS) announced in a brief press release today (see below) that no replacement venue has been found, and thus the upcoming three-day race weekend in Falun, Sweden will instead absorb the event, ending the season one week prematurely.  No schedule changes have been made to the event in Falun, leaving a classic sprint, a 10/15-kilometer skate, and...

Entire Norwegian sprint team tests positive for COVID following Lahti World Cup

Corresponding with a social media post from Johannes Høsflot Klæbo, the Norwegian news outlet NRK reported yesterday that each of the men’s national team sprinters who competed in Lahti last weekend has tested positive for COVID-19. Head sprint coach Arild Monsen told NRK that Håvard Solås Taugbøl was the first to test positive on Monday, followed by Erik Valnes, Pål Golberg, Sindre Bjørnestad Skar and Johannes Høsflot Klæbo on Tuesday. According to Trondheim regional newspaper...

Inside the hardest race of Diggins’ life: a unique post-30 k interview with FasterSkier in Zhangjiakou

On February 20th, Jessie Diggins made Olympic history yet again, taking second in the 30 k mass start skate to round out the colors of her medal collection. Gold in the freestyle team sprint in 2018, silver in the 30 k skate, and bronze in the individual skate sprint. Now thirty years old, Diggins is the most successful American cross country skier in Olympic history. She has spent over a decade rising to the top...

Russian athletes expected to compete in Norway despite Norwegian Ski Association message that they are not welcome

On February 26th, the Norwegian Ski Association (NSA) released a statement indicating that in light of the nation’s recent invasion of the Ukraine, Russian participation was not welcome at the upcoming World Cup sprint races in Dramman or the storied Holmenkollen distance races outside of Oslo. In addition to these cross country events, Norway is scheduled to host competitions in alpine, nordic combined, and ski jumping, including the World Ski Flying Championships in Vikersund.  A...