The National Nordic Foundation is proud to announce the addition of the Trail to Gold Fellowship in our lineup of Pillar Projects. The inaugural fellowship saw five talented Women coaches from across US Skiing join the US Ski Team World Cup staff for two weeks at a time during the 2022-23 World Cup season, where they became an integral part of a successful team-wide campaign. “I gained so much from having these women from different teams and different parts of the US come over to help coach us and wax for us!” said World Champion Jessie Diggins on the role the first five Fellows played for US athletes this winter.
The Trail to Gold Fellowship represents an innovative approach to sharing the wealth of knowledge available on the World Cup with a broader ski community through talented individuals. In doing so, the Fellowship helps promote gender equity at the highest levels of US Skiing, fosters the array of talented Women coaches at work in US skiing today, and provides experiences that Fellows can share with their set of diverse ski communities. In short, the Fellowship harnesses the best of what is unique about the American ski community.
For that reason, NNF is happy designate it a Pillar Project. By doing so, the Trail to Gold Fellowship will become an ongoing part of our annual programming, alongside the training camps, international trips and exchanges, and athlete support grants already being funded. This represents a crucial expansion of our Pillar Projects into coach development, and another facet of our close partnership with the US Ski Team. The designation also will allow the Fellowship to be more broadly supported by funding from our annual fundraisers, including our upcoming summer auction (coming up in next month!) and the annual Drive for 25.
We are continue to be grateful to the innovative minds at work at US Ski and Snowboard, the Women’s Ski Coaches Association, and the Women’s Olympic Book Project in creating the initial partnership that allowed the Trail to Gold Fellowship to get started last season. The Fellowship next year will again be supported by an additional gift from the Women’s Olympic Book Project, representing the additional proceeds from the sale of Trail to Gold: the Journey of 53 Women Skiers. Additional sales of the book, which tells the story of 53 Women skiers who have represented the US at the Olympics in cross-country skiing, will continue to support the Fellowship. We are hopeful that the continuation of this Fellowship will help spur the next chapter of the Trail to Gold, not just the talented Women coaches around US Skiing, but the countless athletes and communities that they touch through their work.