Coaches & Staff

APUNSC’s success is a direct result of the dedication to mission, team work, a systematic training regime based on science and sport specific training on snow. The club believes that U.S. Nordic skiing can be the best in the world, and is attacking that mission as a team with the tagline, “We are stronger as a Team”. APU has a strong tradition in Nordic skiing producing some of the best skiers in the US and the world.


Erik Flora

Program Director

University Elite Team Head Coach

Erik has pursued a life of ski racing through being a coach and competitor. As an athlete, he skied at National and International level. As a coach, Erik has helped athletes achieve their goals. A two time Olympic coach and personal coach to World Cup and World Championship medalist, he has been recognized by the United States Olympic Committee for National Coach of Year (all sports), National Coach of year for Cross Country Skiing, and Development Coach of the Year for Skiing. United States Ski Association recognize Erik with Cross-Country Domestic Coach of the Year, Cross-Country International Coach of the Year, and Development Coach of the Year awards while directing APU to two USSA Cross Country Ski Club of the Year awards. When he isn’t coaching, Erik loves to spend time with his wife, Gretchen, and their three young children in the mountains of Alaska. Erik has been the APUNSC program director and head coach since 2006.

Contact Erik Flora


Eric Strabel

Junior Program Coach / Program Manager

Eric grew up in the Mat-Su Valley and had a successful athletic career before becoming a coach. In high school he won the overall state ski championship three times and had a top 10 finish at World Juniors. He later achieved 2nd place finishes at NCAA and USSA National Championships. Eric graduated from UAA in 2005 with a Bachelors degree in civil engineering. Eric is a competitive mountain runner, winning the Mount Marathon race three times and held the men’s race record from 2013 to 2015. He loves to spend time with his wife Denali, often exploring Alaska’s wilderness. Eric enjoys coaching junior skiers to enjoy the sport, pursue their goals, build character, and bond with teammates.

Contact Eric Strabel


Galen Johnston

Devo Program Coach / Master Program Coach

Galen was born and raised in Talkeetna, Alaska. He first learned to ski as a mode of transportation from his home, to the nearest road a mile away. Galen grew up climbing, skiing and travelling with his parents from a young age. His family often camped out in venue parking lots the night before Besh Cup races (even in Fairbanks.) At age eleven Galen became the youngest person to summit Mt. McKinley. This upbringing instilled an adventurous and playful spirit in Galen that he still holds onto. Galen skied for Susitna Valley High school until his senior year when he enrolled and raced for APUNSC through the Early Honors program. Galen then pursued studies at University of Alaska Anchorage and raced for the Seawolves for two seasons. Since then Galen has coached a variety of teams in the Anchorage community from Jr. Nordic to the APUNSC masters team. He is currently enjoying his role as Devo Coach, Masters Coach and fill in tech for the Elite and University teams. Galen will also assistant coach at East High for his second season this winter and hopes to find some time in between all of it to adventure in the mountains…on skis of course!

Contact Galen Johnston

Lauren Fritz

Lauren Fritz

Junior Program Asst. Coach

Born and raised in Chugiak/Eagle River, Lauren participated in APU’s Early Honors program as a senior in high school and then attended and skied for Middlebury College in Vermont. After graduating in 2010, Lauren returned to Alaska and joined the APU Elite Team from 2011-2017. In fall of 2012, Lauren earned her first start rights for the Canadian World Cup races in December. Her achievements as an elite skier include several podiums and top-10s on Super Tour and US Nationals, 2013 Boulder Mountain Tour Champion, 2nd in the 2013 Kangaroo Hoppet 42km in Falls Creek, Australia, 7th in the 2014 American Birkebeiner Classic, and 2nd in the 2014 Tour of Anchorage. Lauren participated in the 2016 and 2017 Tour de Ski China, which brought the number of continents she has skied on up to 5. She has been a coach for NANANordic rural ski programs since 2013, an ambassador for Fast and Female events since 2010, and the coach of the APU Women's group since 2015-16. She enjoys mountain running and races during the summer in addition to ski training and has an increasing interest in ultra-running.

Contact Lauren Fritz


Jack Novak

Junior Program Asst. Coach

Jack is a 2011 graduate of South High School who skied in the APU junior program for many years. While in high school he participated in many ski sports including biathlon, jumping and nordic combined before settling on cross country. He is known for his ability as a hill climber. In 2011 he finished third at Junior Nationals in the skate race and won his first sprint race in 2014 in Homer.