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Jessie Diggins Honored at the 2024 NASJA Award Ceremony

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
June, 24 2024
jessie diggins
Jessie Diggins at the Stifel Loppet Cup in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (NordicFocus)

Release courtesy of NASJA.

Manchester Center, Vermont, June 20, 2024—Recreational cross-country skiing pioneer Bill Danner is the 2023-24 recipient of the Carson White Snowsports Achievement Award, the highest honor bestowed by the North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).

Danner, along with his partner Hans Woitschatzke, is credited with expanding Nordic skiing from a niche, expert-oriented sport to an easily accessible, family friendly experience. They did so beginning in 1970 through the introduction of Trak Skis, a wax less fiberglass Omnitrak cross-country ski. This revolutionary technology allowed for forward gliding and grip on climbing without the need for the intensive preparation and maintenance required on the previous generation of wooden, waxable cross-country skis.

In addition to the Carson White Award, NASJA also honored freelance travel writer and former Aspen Magazine editor-in-chief Cindy Hirschfeld and Boston Herald ski writer Moira McCarthy with the Harold S. Hirsch Awards of Excellence, which recognizes creativity and excellence in editorial and artistic content in both print and broadcast journalism.

Hirschfeld was recognized for a standalone article in 5280 Magazine titled, “Can Steamboat Springs Save the Sport of Nordic Combined?,” while McCarthy was recognized for her recurring "Ski Wednesday” column, which has appeared in the newspaper for more than two decades.

Filmmaker Mark Kristofic was honored with the Hirsch Award in the Images category based on a body of work that includes documentaries on figure skating, hockey, speed skating and soccer, as well as the adventure sports series Ascend, which appears on Outside TV. 

In the Hirsch Awards Podcast category, Tom Kelly was recognized for hosting Last Chair: The Ski Utah Podcast, which features storytelling sessions with athletes, resort leaders and icons of snowsports culture.

Emily Summers, senior communications manager at Utah’s Deer Valley resort, was honored with the Bob Gillen Award, which recognizes an individual NASJA corporate member for contributions to the advancement of snowsports and exemplifying the highest standards of professionalism in public relations and communications. 

Last but not least, NASJA named a pair of snowsports competitors as co-winners of the Paul Robbins Outstanding Competitor of the Year award, given to North American snowsports participants who have distinguished themselves in amateur or professional competition during the current ski season. 

The 2023-24 winners of the Paul Robbins Award are Jessica “Jessie” Diggins, the most accomplished U.S. cross-country skier in history with two World Cup overall titles, three Olympic medals (including a gold), six World Championship medals, and numerous other event championships; and extraordinary Canadian freestyle skier Mikaël Kingsbury, winner of both silver and gold medals in Olympic competition as well as the all-time leader in career World Cup moguls victories, with 87. 

"One of the highest responsibilities and greatest pleasures of NASJA affiliation is ensuring that the most important and superlative work of our membership is celebrated not only within our professional community, but also recognized by the greater snowsports public,” said NASJA President Charlie Sanders.  

“The excellence demonstrated by this year's awardees is fully representative of the best that our members deliver year after year in writing, investigating, reporting on, and advancing the issues and ideals of the entire outdoor community.

Sanders continues, “Each winner truly has the right to take pride in this level of peer recognition and achievement, just as the NASJA board and membership may rightfully share in the joy of recognizing the tremendous accomplishments of our colleagues and the athletes we cover. We send our most heartfelt congratulations to all.”

The winners of the Harold S. Hirsch Awards of Excellence were chosen from a pool of nominees by judges Adam White, executive director of communications at the University of Vermont who formerly was a reporter at the Burlington Free Press, worked at Ski Vermont, and was Vail Resorts’ Northeast communications director; and Dave Meeker, editor of Ski Area Management Magazine and former ccommunications manager and marketing director of Mount Snow.

The winners of the other awards were selected via online voting by the NASJA membership.

The North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA) is a professional group of over 200 press and corporate members. Press members include writers, photographers and other communicators who report on ski, snowboard and Nordic related news, information and features via various media outlets. Corporate members include media contacts or employees of ski resorts, convention and visitor associations, manufacturers and others who have a commercial interest in the journalistic coverage of winter sports. 

NASJA is committed to encouraging and increasing diversity and inclusivity in snowsports, and welcomes these unique perspectives and experiences, since clearly, the winter playgrounds are for everyone.