Bozeman, Montana has always been a vibrant nordic skiing community, but in the last few years, it has leaned in. In the past half-decade, the organization at the heart of ski sport in the region, the Bridger Ski Foundation, has added to its trail and snow-making networks, started the BSF Pro Team, and become the prime destination for collegiate skiers from across the country to do their summer training. In an era where nordic skiing across the country has seen rapid growth, Bozeman could be signaled out as a case study in forward-thinking, innovation, and a creative approach to ski development.
Community virtues must be powered by individual minds, and for Bozeman, two of the most important have been Erika Flowers and her husband Andy Newell. Familiar to the US ski community on a broadscale through their years as professional skiers, the couple moved into the ski community Flowers grew up in after retirement in 2018 and have been hard at work ever since. Newell started, and coaches, the BSF Pro Team and summer Collegiate program, while Flowers started a business career and then quickly transitioned her athletic endeavors to trail running, where she became a member of Team North Face after winning the 50 k Run the Rut in Big Sky. She also kept racing – is still racing – SuperTour races when she can.
There’s been a persistence from Flowers to always drive towards the new, and to always drive forward. So after combining her specific knowledge of her home nordic community in Bozeman with that distinctive drive, the National Nordic Foundation is excited to bring Flowers talents and knowledge of US skiing to developing nordic skiing on a national scale as she joins the National Nordic Foundation Board of Directors.
“Competing and racing in nordic skiing is the best ‘job’ in the world and I was able to do that for 6 years through the support of many – friends, family, local sponsors and the National Nordic Foundation. I’m excited to help find ways to better support the development of cross-country skiing in the U.S., to reduce the cost barrier to competing at the highest level and create opportunities for athletes to dream big and set ambitious goals.” says Flowers on her motivation to join the NNF Board.
Flowers comes to the NNF Board with a truly national scope of experience, having grown up skiing in Bozeman before moving east to spend her collegiate racing career at Dartmouth College, and then joining the Stratton Mountain School T2 Professional Team in 2012. She continued racing when she moved back to Montana in 2018 and made World Cup starts for the United States as recently as 2020.
With a long career intersecting with recent developments in US nordic skiing, Flowers is uniquely in tune with the demands placed on skiers to support themselves as they develop in the sport, something she says is a priority in the work she wants to do with NNF, “I would love to see athletes pursue nordic skiing at the highest level without having to drain their savings accounts or work multiple jobs. The financial burden adds stress that ultimately limits athletic potential.”
“Skiing played a critical role in my development as a person, leader, and business professional and I want to help other athletes view this chapter of their lives in a similar way – not as a sacrifice but as a growth opportunity.”
With a career spent playing out that mindset, Erika Flowers brings a big presence, and big perspective, to the National Nordic Foundation as our newest Board of Directors member.