World Cup Ski Racing Takes an Overdue Step in the Right Direction for Gender Equality

Haleigh Hafner | | Industry NewsIndustry NewsOlympicsOlympics

Karin Harjo makes history as the first woman to lead a World Cup ski team as head coach of the Alpine Canada Ski Team. 

Harjo’s exciting news dropped to the public on Wednesday, March 30th. Since the inception of alpine skiing World Cup circuits in 1967, no female coach has actually ever led a women’s ski team. This is an amazing step in the right direction for women’s representation in a currently male-dominated sport. In a recent study conducted by Snowsports Industries America, the group found that the ski industry is 60% male and 40% female.

For women, it has been very hard to break down the boundaries that have been established by men in the sport. According to NBCSports, women have significantly less say when it comes down to important decisions regarding the future of the ski/snowboard industry. Finally seeing a woman leading a women’s ski team in the World Cup is an exciting and necessary step in the right direction for gender equality in skiing and snowboarding. 

PC: Krista Crabtree/

Harjo has expressed her excitement to step up and be the first woman to lead a team to success in the World Cup. 

“I’m really excited,” Harjo said to CBC Canada. “It is an honor to be entrusted with this leadership role and to work with such a talented group of athletes.”

Harjo is not new to the coaching world. She has been training high-level athletes for 22 years. During her coaching career, she has had the opportunity to train powerhouse skiers such as Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin during her time as USA’s women’s alpine assistant coach, and she helped both athletes achieve insane levels of success. 

Alpine Canada has been growing a strong women’s program in the past few years. Adding Harjo to the World Cup coaching team will further improve the program.

According to Alpine Canada, Harjo was selected to lead the women’s alpine team to World Cup success because of her uplifting and highly motivating coaching style. Harjo’s colleague Phill McNichol said he is excited to have a woman of such caliber join Canada’s coaching team. 

McNichol described Harjo as: “athlete-centered, a team player, committed to learning, driven by accountability to each other and oneself, and passionate about pursuing excellence in everything she does.” Harjo’s uplifting spirits will motivate the women Canadian skiers to perform at their best at the upcoming World Cup. 

This is an exciting move towards gender equality in a currently male-dominated sport. Hopefully, Harjo’s head coaching debut will lead to more women’s representation in the future.

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2 thoughts on “World Cup Ski Racing Takes an Overdue Step in the Right Direction for Gender Equality

  1. In the spirit of this article, it might be noteworthy to mention Zamira Zargari who coached Iran’s National Women Alpine Ski Team.
    She could not join her team for the Cortina 2021 FIS World Championships because “her husband had forbidden her from leaving the country — which he is entitled to do under Iranian law”.

  2. Wait do boys get to race as girls?

    I would have been such a phenomenal female racer…

    Too bad I missed out on the liberal’s confused gender in athletics trend.

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