USSA hires Caterinichio to manage its program

Jeremy Peters

A lifetime involvement in nordic skiing reached new heights this week for Anchorage's Joey Caterinichio, who was named the nordic program manager for the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association on Thursday.

"To make the next step and work on the national level is the exciting part," she said. "It was just kind of a natural progression."

Whether racing, coaching or organizing events, the 1988 West High graduate has been heavily involved in Alaska cross country skiing for most of her life. She currently serves as a volunteer and leader for Cross Country Alaska, serves as Alaska's USSA Regional representative and owns Alaska Nordic Racing, a training club for skiers of all ages.

The position was held by John Farra who left his position last year to work with the U.S. Olympic Committee. Recently, the position was posted so she decided to apply for the job.

"You never know when these positions are going to open up," she said.

Years of experience helping to coordinate events and the numerous national contacts she has made in the process helped make Caterinichio a strong candidate for the administrative job.

She was co-chairman of the organizing committee for the U.S. national championships when they came to Kincaid Park in 2009 and 2010, she helped secure Conoco Phillips as the title sponsor of the Championships along with the annual Besh Cup series and she spent years as the head ski coach at Chugiak High.

When she and Ja Dorris married several years ago, the wedding was practically a nordic ski event. Four-time Olympian Nina Kemppel, her high school teammate, was the maid of honor and three-time Olympian Kikkan Randall was the videographer.

Caterinichio said her experience in Alaska helps her understand how difficult it can be for skiers from remote states to travel for participation in major national events. That is likely to serve her well when it comes to managing travel and logistical problems inherent to the country's geographic expanse.

"The size of the nation is part of our hindrance," Caterinichio said.

In her new job, Caterinichio will oversee the the domestic system for all competitions at all levels, overseeing officials education and spearheading junior development projects. In addition to internal projects including Olympics, World Championships, U23 and Junior World Championships will operate under the new position, as well as coordination of sport committees.

"So, I'll be in charge of the domestic race series and building it for future racers like Kikkan," she said. "The fun part is working alongside athletes and making sure they have all the opportunities we can give them to succeed."

Reach Jeremy Peters at or 257-4335.