Trail To Gold: In Support of Women Ski Coaches

Posted by Garrott Kuzzy, Lumi Experiences on Sep 15th 2023

Trail To Gold: In Support of Women Ski Coaches

Of the 1,000s of photos I took on Lumi trips this winter, this may be the shot that stands out most in my mind. It’s not because Jessie Diggins won the first ever individual World Championship gold for a US cross country athlete. It’s because of the team of women surrounding Jessie on the podium, both in the photo and as part of the broader ski community.

For a bit of context, I still remember competing in the 2009 Nordic World Championships in Liberec, Czech Republic. That winter, US Nordic athletes were flying. Todd Lodwick and Bill Demong each won individual gold medals in the Nordic Combined. 2009 was also the first year that women’s Ski Jumping was introduced to the Nordic World Championship and US skier Lindsay Van won the first ever women’s event. On top of all of that success, Kikkan Randall won silver in the Sprint: first ever woman to win a World Championship cross country medal for the US. But that year, the US cross country team had no women coaches or wax techs at the championships.

Fast forward 14 years, Chris Grover and Matt Whitcomb are still coaching the team at World Championships standing in the background of the photo, along with seven other women athletes and coaches greeting Jessie as she jumped off the top step of the podium.

The change over the past 14 years that this photo represents doesn’t happen by accident. It’s thanks to the conscientious effort of athletes, coaches and the broader US ski community that have pushed to bring more women coaches to the world’s highest levels of cross country skiing, right down to the junior and youth ski clubs.

For the second year in a row, Lumi Experiences is thrilled to partner with the National Nordic Foundation (NNF) and the Women Ski Coaches Association (WSCA) to support the Trail to Gold (T2G) Fellowship.

Secure your spot on our Tour de Ski World Cup trip by this Friday, September 15 and Lumi will donate a portion of the proceeds to the T2G Fellowship, plus you’ll save $200 / person.

You may have heard of the T2G Fellowship or the book by the same name, which not only highlights the historic gold medal won by Diggins and Randall in their 2018 team sprint but also features the important stories of other elite women skiers who paved the way to this possibility.

The T2G Fellowship provides women ski coaches from the U.S. with international coaching experience at the highest level of the sport. It’s essentially a two-week internship with US Ski Team coaches and wax techs during the World Cup season.

Last winter, Lumi raised over $4,000 for the inaugural class of T2G fellows through a special benefit trip to the 2023 Nordic World Championships in Planica, Slovenia.

This winter, bookings for our Tour de Ski World Cup trip will benefit the next class of T2G fellows, enabling more women ski coaches to gain this high-level coaching experience during the upcoming World Cup season.

On this special 8-day trip to Italy, Austria and Germany, you’ll have the opportunity to cheer on your favorite athletes in two Tour de Ski World Cup events: in the famous Val di Fiemme stadium and up the Alpe de Cermis hill climb. Away from the races, you’ll have the opportunity to discover two of the best trail networks in Italy – Passo Lavazé and Seiser Alm – with the support of our local trip leaders. If you’re into scenic mountain vistas, top-notch grooming and delicious trailside cuisine, these two high-elevation ski areas are ideal destinations. When you're not out skiing, you’ll get to savor meals in your hotels known for their dining and wellness areas. All the transportation, tickets, lodging and logistics are taken care of so you can enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime trip with your travel companions, all-the-while supporting the T2G Fellowship! Last chance:sign upby this Friday, September 15 to save $200/person.

If traveling to the Italian Dolomites isn’t in the cards for you this January, but you’re looking for other ways to support women ski coaches, WSCA is hosting a Women in Ski Coaching Summit this October. If you or someone you know is looking to build connections and learn coaching skills with other women ski coaches, check it out! The WSCA is putting together a great program of speakers and sessions.

Also, if you’re curious to learn more about the WSCA’s mission and other programs, we caught up with their Director Kelsey Dickenson last winter to get the scoop on everything they’re doing to achieve gender equity at all levels of cross-country skiing.

See you on the trail,

Garrott Kuzzy