More than 2,000 applications poured in after The North Face announced its first Athlete Development Program (ADP) last year. Now, the roster is set.
“The ADP aims to tackle the systemic barriers in the recruitment process that often keep underrepresented communities across race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and differently-abled athletes from excelling in their discipline,” The North Face said in a press release.
Climbers, trail runners, skiers, and alpinists make up the 17 athletes. The program will provide a 2-year contract that includes payment, funding for expeditions, mentorship with other TNF athletes, training programs, and gear.
The North Face Athlete Development Program
The North Face athletes, academics, and activists constituted the panel who selected the 17-member ADP. Each member of the selection committee received antiracism education and bias mitigation training.
The panel first reviewed anonymous application data, then reviewed each applicant before holding feedback sessions to reach a final selection.
According to The North Face, the athletes selected not only possess a knack for storytelling and outdoors and indoors adventure, but each ADP athlete will work to combat inequality in sponsorship and inspire other adventurers within their communities.
Inclusion, representation, and sustainability are common themes among this year’s athletes’ stories.
“I amplify voices of Black athletes, educators, setters, and coaches,” said Ady Wright, who was selected to the roster. Wright works as a route setter and instructor at Central Rock Gym in Manhattan, and also teaches indoor and outdoor climbing clinics.
“Ady’s passion is fueled by her desire to see more folks who look like and identify with her in the climbing community,” The North Face wrote in her bio.
Meanwhile, Laura Cortez, a trail runner who will join the 2023 cohort, is the co-director of the Run Wild Trail Camp, a nonprofit that hosts hikes and summer camps for youths near Denver.
The 2023 class also includes members of the LGBTQIA2+ community, adaptive athletes, activists, and more. See the full roster below, and check out The North Face for more info.
- Ady Wright / Climber, New York
- Grace Von Mettenheim / Skier, Utah
- Hannah Hoetmer / Alpinist, Colorado
- Helen Mino Faukner / Trail Runner, California
- Irie Jefferson / Snowboarder, Nevada
- Jay Rawe / Skier, California
- JayLynn McLean / Climber, Washington
- J.J. Nguyen / Climber, Texas
- Nafeesa Andrabi / Ski Mountaineer, California
- Maya Madere / Climber, Texas
- Laura Cortez / Trail Runner, Colorado
- Kimber Cross / Alpinist, Washington
- Rod Farvard / Trail Runner, California
- Ruby Lindquist / Trail Runner, Alaska
- Sophia Gorman / Trail Runner, Vermont
- Terence Copeland / Trail Runner, Colorado
- Thomas Bukowski / Climber, California