Young skiers enjoy the Nana Nordic Program in Ambler, AK

in 2011, an Olympic skier started a program to get kids in four Western Arctic villages in Alaska outside and on skis. Five years later, that program, known as NANA Nordic, has expanded to 40 villages statewide, with help from over 100 volunteer cross-country ski coaches.

Children participating in the Nana Nordick Ski program. (Photo by Emily Schwing, KNOM - Nome)
Children participating in the Nana Nordick Ski program. (Photo by Emily Schwing, KNOM – Nome)

KNOM’s Emily Schwing was in Ambler last week, where she watched as more than 80 kids from villages in Alaska’s Western Arctic raced each other on cross country skis as part of the NANA Nordic Program. The program promotes health lifestyles among Alaska’s kids and has grown in five years to become a statewide effort with funding from the NANA Regional Corporation, Teck Resources, Royal Dutch Shell, and the Rasmuson Foundation.