Katharine Ogden, longtime Little Bellas superstar, is retiring from pro skiing
There are no medals for modesty and humility. If there were, Katharine Ogden would have a trophy case full. While her humility is above most average humans, so too are her accomplishments. Katharine has graced the top 30 in several Nordic Ski World Cups. She holds the roles of professional Nordic skier, avid mountain biker, and Dartmouth College graduate. Within the Little Bellas organization she has been a Pro Ambassador, Program Lead, Intern, Mentor and elegant role model. Katherine built a ski career she feels proud of and has announced her retirement from professional ski racing.
Who is Katharine Ogden?
Even as a pro athlete, Katharine moves with grace and embodies all things Little Bellas. We chatted with her earlier this year, and Katharine talked about how competing against others can be mentally taxing, and even during “failure,” she focuses on being proud of herself for what she has accomplished, and being happy for the competitors who beat her. Discussing a second place finish which left her one spot shy of Olympic qualification, Katharine said about her experience, “I had to be proud of myself; I had to be happy for her. It’s always the right decision to be a team player.” This mentality is exactly why Katharine is an upstanding Little Bellas leader, and why all girls are celebrated and supported.
While Nordic skiing has been an enduring part of Katharine’s upbringing, she also grew up mountain biking on family mountain bike trails. Katherine values the sports community – from her hometown ski family to her professional racing team. She discovered a lasting community in mountain biking through the trails her dad built, the amazing women she’s met through Little Bellas, and the Little Bellas themselves. Owing to these values, Katharine has enriched the Little Bellas community using her compassion, extensive knowledge, and love for having fun outside! This enrichment takes form in mini-life skills sessions about refueling, reducing stress, bike mechanics, and more. It comes to life in a non-competitive atmosphere, and feeling the magic of progress and overcoming challenges without being a racer.
Katharine has been involved with Little Bellas since 2018 and her commitment has shone through as she has juggled her education, professional skiing career, and Little Bellas program. Katharine started the Upper Valley Ride Program under the adverse circumstances brought on by COVID-19. She made the program a success and had a productive summer of ski training! The parent of a 2020 Upper Valley participant was grateful to Katherine and her team for “helping foster that community, along with the girls' confidence, resilience, and joy...the list goes on and on!”
A Wealth of World Cup Racing Knowledge
Katharine brings this confidence, resilience and joy to her own aspirations, and it’s only fitting that she was a stand out in US Nordic ski racing. Katharine was a member of the U.S. Ski Team and began competing internationally when she was a junior skier. She was raised skiing, but became familiar with the heavy breathing and leg burn that accompany ski racing while in 8th grade, when she began competing. 2022 was special as Katharine was on the world cup team and training to make the Olympic team, which she was a runner-up for. Although she thrives in classic distance races, Katharine races all Nordic ski events, from sprints that take only a few minutes, to long distance races that take over an hour.
Katharine momentarily paused skiing professionally in 2018 to take classes and ski for Dartmouth, where she won multiple NCAA championship races. She graduated in 2021 with a degree in Developmental Psychology. With a decade of serious training and racing under her belt, she has undoubtedly taken away some important lessons about the process, including the importance of teamwork and leadership, proper fueling, prioritizing mental health, and balancing her interests.
Bringing Little Bellas to Upper Valley, NH!
Katharine’s first dip into a Little Bellas program was as a mentor in New Hampshire's Upper Valley in 2019. She enjoyed it so much that she decided to develop and lead the Ride Program there starting in 2020. She has been leading that program ever since with help from a team of long-time repeat mentors. Katharine and her team have built a program that not only gets girls more confident on bikes, but also teaches them important life skills.
“I love the effort to incorporate bike maintenance, nutrition, cleaning, trail upkeep, etc.” an Upper Valley Parent said. “Teaching the girls how to support themselves in the sport goes a long way to keeping them riding.”
Another parent seconded this sentiment, saying “Monday night rides are having a lasting impact and have shaped our daughter's love for riding, love for being outside and ability to develop friendships with other strong girls!”
Katharine is a lightning bolt for her program, and not just because of her direct impact on her group of Little Bellas. Katharine stands out because she has a lot on her plate and works to be sure she is successful in all endeavors. During her summers ski-training in Stratton, Vermont, Katharine frequently drove to New Hampshire on the weekends to bike with her Little Bellas crew. She even took time while across the globe on the world cup stage to organize and plan the Upper Valley ride program that she now leads.
What’s Next for Katharine?
With all these lessons and accomplishments experienced, Katharine is retiring from professional skiing. She will complete graduate school for social work at Columbia University and give herself time to balance her other interests. Although she's done with professional skiing, Katharine is still a part of the Little Bellas community as the Upper Valley program lead, and the skiing community isn’t going anywhere! Aside from what she will bring to our community, Katharine has some of her own priorities, including grad school, her loved ones, and allowing herself grace and balance.
We wish the best for Katharine in her new Journey, and can’t wait to see what she does next!