NNF is proud to announce that Colin Rodgers has joined our Board of Directors. Rodgers brings a truly diversified set of experiences in nordic skiing, having been a high-level racer, development coach, and program director at some of the leading programs in the country, including the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation, and his current role as Nordic Program Director at Green Mountain Valley School (GMVS) in Waitsfield, Vermont. For all of his diverse roles in the ski world, he brings a singular enthusiastic and joyful presence which has distinguished him as a leader in building programs that developing skiers can learn and grow as skiers, and as people, in. Those qualities have been recognized by numerous organizations, including US Ski and Snowboard, who awarded Rodgers 2023 Coach of the Year honors this spring.
The accolades and the resume though, belie why NNF is so excited to have Rodgers as part of our leadership. Simply, he is one of the most passionate people coaching in American skiing today, bringing innovative ideas towards skier development without ever losing sight of what the core experience for skiers should be, having fun, and finding joy, on skis. That dynamic presence is one that NNF supporters can be proud of leading our organization. Welcome Colin Rodgers!
As he steps onto the Board, Rodgers was kind enough to field a few questions on NNF’s work, published as a Q and A here:
NNF/Ben Theyerl: First, a little about you: Where are you from, where have you been in skiing and coaching, what do you do currently?
Colin Rodgers (CR): From Westford, Vermont, and currently living in Fayston, Vermont. Grew up skiing there, and then competed as a junior at the Holderness School in New Hampshire. Raced a post-grad year in Kongsberg, Norway, before returning to Vermont to compete at Middlebury College. After college, had a long racing career at the Maine Winter Sports Center and Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation, before stepping into coaching at Sun Valley in 2011. Coached in that role for five years, before returning to Vermont and taking over as Program Director and Head Coach at Green Mountain Valley School.
NNF: You’ve seen the sport from many angles as an athlete, a coach, and a supporter. How do you think we’ve grown and changed as a ski community over time?
CR: As a ski nation we have worked extremely hard to become united in the past 20 years. Spanning from Maine to Alaska we come from many different nordic ski communities that all have influential leaders. These leaders are now making more of an effort than ever to come together for the betterment of our sport. Divisions are collaborating on race schedules, jr athlete and club development. US Ski Team coaches are pushing for collaboration between A Team athletes and Jr racers. US Development Coaches and NNF have also now been running Regional Elite Group summer dryland camps with consistent messaging across all divisions for over 15 years! This commitment is no joke, but no one is shying away from the work. We have seen it pay off with not only individual medals on the highest stages, but also in World Junior Championship Relays for both the women and men. When I was coming up in the late 90s and early 2000s we threw a few hail mary passes and got in the top 10 with some occasional exceptional individual performances, but the thought of a relay medal was entirely unrealistic. Now we have juniors that are young professionals ready to show up on championship day. It is really cool!
NNF: What kind of ambitions would you like to see NNF pursue as it grows as an organization?
CR: NNF just needs to continue what it has been doing! We need to keep pushing for more athlete, coach, and club support. We need to do quality research on where the financial need is and figure out how to best get the funding to the folks that need it most. Those that are the most thankful and recognize its value are often the ones that give back the most in return. It comes full circle when you do good work!
What reflections do you have on what that weekend was like, and what kind of work went into getting there?
CR: For me personally, it was obviously super exciting to see Tabor preform so well in Finland. I am very proud of the work he has put in and of what many years of coaching him turned into that week. I hope there will be many more of those to come because I know he has the desire to keep chasing hard!
With that being said I was equally stoked by the work that we did as a coaching staff in Finland! Will Wicherski (Jackson Hole), Brandon Herhusky (Vermont), Eliza Rorabaugh (Alaska Pacific University) and Jasmine Wiley (Bay Nordic) were all about working selflessly for the team and they showed up each day wanting to contribute. We listened well to each other and all had the opportunity to present to the athletes our secrets for success in the days leading up to the competitions.
Lastly, I just wanted to say that the young ladies performed exceptionally well in Finland too! I know that the boys got a lot of press for winning the relay, but the girls finished 4th in their team competition. This is also a historically strong result and I don’t want that to get overshadowed! You will be seeing a lot of that group in the future!