Hammill named U.S. Ski Team’s Development Coach of the Year
Anchorage’s Zak Hammill has been named U.S. Ski and Snowboard’s Development Coach of the Year for ski jumping and nordic combined.
Of all the coaches across the nation, the 30-year-old with the Nordic Skiing Association of Anchorage was seen as the most effective at these two disciplines.
Hammill has been in charge of NSAA’s ski jumping and nordic combined programs since 2013.
The ski jumping program has really taken flight under Hammill. With 60 athletes, ranging in ages 4 to 40, it’s the second-largest ski jumping club in the country.
He worked with the club to get funding for equipment to better prepare the hill at the Karl Eid Jumping Complex. He has spearheaded other upgrades and is assisting in the planning of a new clubhouse.
“Zak took a chance on us and Alaska when he moved here. We were just starting out and needed someone with depth of knowledge about ski jumping and Nordic combined,” said longtime NSAA volunteer Karen Compton. “Lucky for us, Zak fell in love with Alaska and decided to stay. Over those years he transformed our program into one of the biggest and best in the nation. He is so deserving of this award and I’m glad the national organization is recognizing the amazing job he’s done.”
The 2020-2021 season was extremely rewarding for Hammill, who helped developed the likes of Carter Brubaker, the Oswalds, Skyler Amy and Ronen Woods.
Brubaker was Alaska’s first nordic combined representative at the U.S. Junior National Team and Junior World Championships. Julia Oswald won the nordic combined at the U12 Western Regionals. Elias Oswald won ski jumping and nordic combined titles at the U14 Western Regionals. Amy and Woods were victorious in the team sprint at U16 Junior Nationals, and Amy also placed third in nordic combined at Junior Nationals.
The common thread in Alaska’s success was Hammill.
“Zak is a huge part of the success our club and his athletes are starting to experience outside Alaska,” Brubaker said. “Zak is genuine, kind and hard-working. I’m happy that he is finally being nationally recognized for the outstanding coach that I know him to be. It’s about time.”