The fun of Nordic skiing and the joy of learning about the sport were contagious Sunday when the Fast and Female organization staged its third and final Cross-Country Ski Fest of the year on American snow.
Sunday's event under clear and sunny skies at Lake Creek north of Ketchum brought out 70 female ski enthusiasts ages 7-19 who had the chance to spend a morning of inspiration with 23 knowledgeable ambassadors of the sport—seven of them with Olympic experience.
Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation Junior Nordic head prep team coach Kelley Sinnott said, "We had five stations so all the girls could meet the Olympians.
"Kikkan Randall did an uphill-downhill station, Morgan Arritola and Liz Stephen led an obstacle course, Holly Brooks and Caitlyn Compton were at a flag tag/tails game, and U.S. biathlete Sara Studebaker was at a tennis ball biathlon station.
"Olympic gold medalist Chandra Crawford and Spring Series junior champion Jessie Diggins won the girls' hearts with a great on-ski dance station! Liz, Morgan, Kikkan, and Chandra also gave inspirational speeches."
After the skiing, all girls enjoyed a healthy lunch, took part in an inspirational speech, and concluded the day with a fun yoga/dance session.
Some quotes from the day:
Emily Williams, 17: "Super awesome, we had so much fun dancing, singing and learning new technique drills." Brooke Lawrence, 16: "The greatest girl power movement since the women's rights movement."
Gretchen Wagner, parent volunteer: "What an amazing group of women! It was great to see all of the girls inspired by these fast female heroes. Smiles from ear to ear!"
Liz Stephen, co-lead ambassador: "Always refreshing to be reminded of kids' energy and the enjoyment of whatever they are part of. Fast and Female is a wicked event, the community and SVSEF did an awesome job with all the work!"
In keeping with Fast and Female's vision, each event segment served a specific purpose to motivate girls to stay involved in sports as a tremendous vehicle for reaching one's personal and athletic best.
"The looks we saw on our athletes' faces today showed us what an important message Fast and Female sends to young women," said Sinnott, who played a key role in coordinating the event with SVSEF coach Ashley McQueen.