climber maureen beck on the north face athlete team
(Photo/The North Face)

Become an Athlete for The North Face: Brand Offers 2-Year Contracts for ‘Burgeoning’ Talent

The North Face is changing up the way it approaches athlete sponsorships, revamping its athlete program and adding a deeper level of mentorship between athletes new and old.

Yesterday, The North Face unveiled an expansion of its world-renowned athlete team by launching the Athlete Development Program. The North Face will tailor the new program specifically to welcome more athletes and foster them into the fold.

“This new endeavor will offer 15-20 burgeoning athletes the incredible opportunity to earn a 2-year contract with The North Face,” the brand announced in a press release.

“The program seeks to improve the outdoor athlete sponsorship dynamic and support emerging athletes through funding, gear, education, and mentorship from some of The North Face’s more than 150 sponsored athletes across the globe.”

That means budding athlete newcomers will not only get a chance for sponsorship but crucial one-on-one mentorship as well. We spoke with The North Face’s Athlete Development Program Advisor Nina Williams to learn the details.

The North Face Athlete Development Program

Hilaree Nelson The North Face Captain
Hilaree Nelson; (Photo/The North Face)

When we asked Williams, a climber and TNF athlete, how she got her start in this program, here’s what she said:

The North Face approached me about being involved in the program alongside other athletes and members of the outdoor community. I began my journey with TNF after being recommended by a current member of the athlete team, which demonstrates the importance of relationships and recognition of skills outside of our sports. I feel that’s equally as important as the sport itself.

She has come full circle: from an aspiring athlete to a sponsored athlete to a leader and mentor for the new athlete program. The North Face’s goal? To see that trend happen for more people.

“Today’s athlete recruitment process relies heavily on referrals, historically favoring those who are already well-connected and enjoy the privileges that allow them the time and resources to accelerate in their sport,” The North Face PR explained. In essence, the new program aims to upend that referral structure. Instead, The North Face said, it will take a new three-pronged approach to reach new athletes:

  • Launch an open application for any/all athletes.
  • Recruit new athletes at in-person events and competitions.
  • Take referrals through partners of The Explore Fund and its Council, which work to diversify the outdoors and create affinity spaces.

“The program provides financial and educational resources that have been historically difficult for athletes from marginalized communities to access,” Williams added. This new athlete development initiative will hopefully open up more opportunities for athletes from all backgrounds.

Want to Get Sponsored? Apply Now

If you’re an athlete and interested in exploring this sponsorship, you can apply now. The North Face is looking for any athletes in the following sports: climbing, skiing, snowboarding, trail running, and alpinism. Join the ranks of Hilaree Nelson, Conrad Anker, Pau Capell, Ingrid Backstrom, Emily Harrington, and hundreds of others on TNF’s Athlete Team.

Selected athletes will receive a 2-year contract with the brand and a one-to-one mentorship with another member of the athlete team, plus gear, funding, and more.

Applications will remain open from March 14 to May 19, 2022. Final team athletes will be selected in September 2022.

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Mary Murphy
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Mary is the Managing Editor of GearJunkie and is based in GearJunkie's Denver, Colo. office. She has a degree in English and journalism, and has a background in both newspaper and magazine writing. Her outdoor interests span from running to sport climbing, from landscape photography to skiing to pack-paddleboarding. If she's not writing, you can most likely find her at the top of a fourteener, or in a local bakery.