Sports

Skier with Friday Harbor ties is named Norway's Ski Coach of the Year

Frode Lillefjell, son-in-law of Rebecca Cook of Friday Harbor, is Norway
Frode Lillefjell, son-in-law of Rebecca Cook of Friday Harbor, is Norway's Ski Coach of the Year. He formerly skied and coached in Alaska.
— image credit: Rebecca Cook

A Friday Harbor woman's son-in-law has been named Norway's Coach of the Year.

Frode Lillefjell, son-in-law of Rebecca Cook, received the honor from the Norwegian Ski Federation and Norwegian Coaches Association. The award was presented at the annual coaching seminar hosted by the coaches association at the end of May in Trondheim.

Lillefjell skied for University of Alaska, Anchorage and coached at Alaska Pacific University. He has coached Team Trøndelag the past two seasons, an elite racing squad in the Trondheim area. The team includes Ole Marius Bach, Karianne Bjellånes, Marte Elden, Petter Eliassen and Astrid Slind, among others. The group had numerous World Cup starts this year.

Lillefjell will not be returning as coach of Team Trøndelag after fulfilling his two-year commitment.

Lillefjell, 41, was a three-time All-American at UAA, winning a NCAA National Title in the 1997 10km classic. He went on to coach at APU and, in his last racing performance on American soil in 2008, he finished third in the 50km classic at U.S. Distance Nationals.

In a 2008 interview with FasterSkier, U.S. Olympian James Southam, coached by Lillefjell at APU, credited the Norwegian as being “the one who really taught me how to race and got me to believe that I could ski with the Euros.”

Lillefjell coached at APU from 1999-2008, working with many top U.S. athletes, including Southam and Kikkan Randall.

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