Coaches and Staff
Program Director & Head Coach, University Elite Team
Erik has pursued a life of ski racing through being a coach and competitor. As an athlete, he skied at a National and International level. Erik has been with APU Nordic Ski Center since 1996 as an athlete, then coach and now Director. As a coach, Erik has helped athletes achieve their goals. A three-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. The United States Ski Association (USSA) has recognized Erik with Cross-Country Domestic Coach of the Year, Cross-Country International Coach of the Year, and Development Coach of the Year. Under Erik’s direction and leadership, APU Nordic Ski Center also won 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 children in the mountains of Alaska.
Head Coach – Junior Program & Tour Group
Eric has been coaching with APU Nordic Ski Center since 2009. Eric grew up in the Matanuska-Susitna 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 Bachelor’s 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.
Head Coach – Devo, Grom, Master & Tour Program
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 when he was two. 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 11 Galen became the youngest person to summit Denali. 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 in 2008 when he enrolled and raced for APUNSC through the Early Honors program. Galen then pursued studies at UAA and raced for the Seawolves for two seasons. Now, Galen loves coaching a spectrum of ages and abilities from Jr. Nordic age kids as young as five, to APUNSC masters pushing 90. Galen has been coaching full time for APUNSC since 2014. If you don’t find Galen on the trails coaching, or somewhere waxing skis for the next race, you’ll likely find him off gallivanting in the mountains with his wife Cheyenne and dog Norten.
Program Coach – Junior, Masters & Women’s Group
Eliza grew up skiing and racing in Fairbanks, Alaska. The youngest of three sisters, Eliza was eager to follow in their active footsteps. This led her to engage with the outdoors regularly. Eliza learned to ski as soon as she could walk, and grew to love racing even in the cold Fairbanks temps. After going to West Valley High School, she continued her ski racing career at Williams College in Massachusetts. After college, she continued to pursue a future with cross country skiing by becoming a coach. Eliza began ski coaching in 2017 for Auburn Ski Club in Truckee, California. In 2019, after two seasons in California, she moved to Anchorage and began coaching with the APUNSC Junior program for the 2019/20 season. Eliza also assistant coaches for the APUNSC Women’s group and West High School. In her spare time, Eliza likes going for long runs in the mountains with her dog, Poppy.
Program Coach – Elite Team
Forrest began skiing for APU as a Devo in 2005 and progressed through every program we offer. He spent his first two years of undergrad at APU during which time he qualified for two World Junior Championships. Forrest then took a three-year hiatus to race on the NCAA circuit for MSU Bozeman where he finished 5th at the NCAA Championships. After graduating with a degree in Political Science he returned to APU to continue racing and attend the APU MBA program. During his time as a professional racer, he compiled 20+ top 10 Supertour and USN finishes, several podiums, and one victory. He qualified for the 2021 Quebec and Minneapolis Sprint World Cups, but they were canceled due to the pandemic. Forrest now coaches across the program and works in the office providing support where it is needed. He says he is excited to experience the coaching lifestyle, but he is really looking forward to when he is even older and finally gets to join the Master’s team and can truly claim to have experienced all APU has to offer.
Program Coach – Women’s & Devo, Groms
Annie grew up in Anchorage, Ak and joined the APU program in 2013 as a member of the Devo Program. She continued to ski for APU as a Junior athlete and skied competitively for West Anchorage High School. After high school, Annie joined the APU Elite Team and skied with the team for three years. After retiring from competitive skiing, Annie joined on as a coach for the Women’s Group, and instantly fell in love with coaching. Since then, she has also begun coaching the Devo and Groms groups. Annie attends the University of Alaska Anchorage, and will graduate in the spring with a BS in Pre-Professional Health Sciences and a minor in psychology. Outside of skiing, Annie enjoys baking, sewing, and watching movies.
Program Coach – Devo & Groms
Sean began skiing as a toddler and fell in love with the sport after joining the APU Devo Program in 2013. He continued skiing for APU as a Junior athlete and skied competitively for South Anchorage High School as a Varsity and State Championship athlete. During this time he also found success as a nationally competitive powerlifter, and set numerous state records throughout high school. After graduating from the APU Early Honors program, and a short stint training alongside the Elite Team, Sean discovered his passion for coaching and working as a ski technician. Now Sean provides wax support while coaching both the Devo and Grom programs, and spends his free time pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering and enjoying the outdoors with friends and family.
Program Coach – Women’s Group
Sara grew up racing in Anchorage and skied for the University of Vermont and Nevada, Reno. She has been coaching all ages and expertise for the past 20 years. She loves helping athletes grow and improve both physically and mentally. In her free time, Sara enjoys biking, running, triathlons, and helping the ski community as the VP of the Nordic Skiing Assoc. of Anchorage board.
Program Coach – Women’s, Devo and Groms
Anna grew up in Anchorage, AK, and joined the APU in 2010 as a member of the Devo team. She skied with the Junior team until the end of high school (2016) before spending two years at UAF and two years at UAA on their respective ski teams. She will graduate from UAA this December with her degree in Psychology. On the race trails, she prefers 5k skate interval starts, though you can find her crust skiing during the spring, particularly in Turnagain Pass. Fun Fact: Anna did ballet for seven years and is an NCAA All-American Skier.
Program Coach – Devo & Women’s Program
Program Coach – Women’s Group
Becca has been a long-time Elite Team Skier and coach with APU since 2007, where she joined the Elite Team after attending a glacier camp and enjoying her time with APU! Becca was born and raised in Fairbanks, AK and learned to ski up north where she began skiing in 1st grade. She hasn’t looked back since. Becca graduated from Dartmouth College while skiing for the APU Elite Team. Becca is a former World Cup Skier, a multi-medalist in the Super Tour Races, U.S. National Championships, local Besh Cups, Tour of Anchorage, and other races. She is a volunteer and works with kids for healthy futures, Skiku, Fast and Female, ASD and many other groups. Now a full time Architectural Designer, Becca helps with coaching during the evening and supports the team as a wax tech during the race season. Her experience and longevity with APU is a valued asset to our programs. Fun fact: Becca is an artist, and she does fine art and design projects (you may have seen her pandana designs and Besh Cup t-shirts).
Program Coach – Devo & Groms
Hailey learned how to ski in her hometown of Carbondale, Colorado. Though she preferred resort skiing as a kid, the goldfish and hot chocolate after Nordic practice kept Hailey coming back for more. By 5th grade, Hailey tried her first nordic races and realized the sport was pretty dang fun! Hailey came to Alaska in 2016 to ski for UAA and pursue her civil engineering degree. She qualified for the US Ski Team D-Team in 2018 and made the switch to join the APU Elite Team that same year. Hailey competed at all sorts of competitions over the last 5 years from Super Tours, Senior Nationals, Besh Cups, World Cups, and the Olympics, and she decided to retire from full time racing in the spring of 2023. Hailey is glad to understand the importance of sport far beyond the race course, and looks forward to sharing her love of skiing in a new role in the ski community! Currently, Hailey works full time as a civil/transportation engineer in Anchorage, and she enjoys all sorts of outdoor activities where time allows.
Marketing & Development
Penny graduated from the University of Denver in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Communications. She grew up in Baltimore, MD and moved to Anchorage in 2005 having worked in all facets of the marketing and communications fields for both private, public and non-profit sectors. Penny started working for APUNSC in 2019. She is proud to provide support for APUNSC through fundraising, marketing, communications, and other management for the ski center. Growing up, Penny played every sport thrown her way and became a competitive ice dancer. She along with her ice dancing partner were the 1998 U.S. Novice Ice Dancing National Champions moving onto compete internationally on the World Junior Circuit for the U.S. Figure Skating Team. While skating competitively, she trained at the University of Delaware. Penny learned to cross-country ski when she lived in Colorado and the juxtaposition between skating and skate skiing was natural transition. Penny has a love for coaching and working with all age groups. She has coached and taught ice skating and sailing since 1999 while in Baltimore & Colorado, and is currently a youth soccer coach with the Boys & Girls club in Anchorage. In her spare time, Penny loves to spend time with her 2 children, Eloise and Abe, and husband, Dale camping, boating, fishing, skiing, skating, traveling and anything else that revolves around fun in the outdoors.