The Connecticut College Ski Team at is defined by long-standing tradition and team mentality. As an alpine ski racing team, the ski team participates and competes in numerous USSA/USCSA competitions across Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. The team is also affiliated with the Thompson Division of the United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association. This season, the ski team’s hard work and dedication paid off when it qualified for Regionals at West Mountain. The team is lead by four senior captains: Lexie Volpe ‘17, Matt Lau-Hansen ‘17, Mike Reilly ‘17 and Ethan Feldman ‘17. For an in-depth look at the specifics that make the team what it is, The College Voice spoke with the four captains about their personal experiences and perspectives regarding the team.
The College Voice: How long have you been on ski team, and why did you decide to join?
Lexie Volpe: I have been on ski team for four years and have been the captain for two. I decided to join because I wanted to try something new when I came to college and had never skied in a competitive setting.
Matt Lau-Hansen: I joined ski team my freshman year. I was sailing in the fall and spring and I needed a way to round out my winter. Plus, my brother raced on the ski team when he went to Conn, and I really wanted to be able to compete against him.
Mike Reilly: I joined my sophomore year. Coming into college, I hadn’t skied in a long time, and I had certainly never raced. I knew that ski team would be a great way to get back into skiing, while pushing my ability to new heights.
Ethan Feldman: Four long years.
TCV: How do you train for races and how long is your season?
LV: We have a training week over winter break where we have coaches at the mountain who help us with racing and skiing techniques. This year, we started practicing one night a week during the semester at a nearby mountain named Powder Ridge. Our season is usually 5-6 weeks long.
MR: Every year we have a training week over winter break. It’s the first thing we do together as a team. By the end of the week we have all grown as racers and people. This year we also started training every Wednesday at Powder Ridge, a local ski area. These sessions were a big part of our winning this year.
TCV: At which mountains do you usually race?
LV: We race at Sunday River, Bromley, the Arbo, Dartmouth and Jay Peak. This year we qualified for regionals, which was held at West Mountain.
TCV: What made this season such a success?
LV: Our success this season had a lot to do with the young talent combined with the new training we incorporated this season. Plus we finally figured out what kind of wax to use.
MR: We tuned our skis!
TCV: How has ski team changed or grown over the years? What do you think it takes to continue to have such success?
LV: Over the years the team has definitely increased in size. However, our traditions and fun team dynamic have remained the same, which is a huge aspect of our continued success. And of course, everyone knows ski team never ends.
ML: I think a significant part of our success comes from not having changed very much over the years. We have a strong culture on the team that has been in place for longer than any of us have been at Conn, and our ability to stay focused on fundamentals allows us to succeed on the mountain.
MR: Ski team never changes. It’s forever. If we continue to schralp the way we schralp we will continue to have success.
EF: The people have changed, but the team is fairly similar. Ski team continues to be a haven away from the social cliches of Connecticut College. We’re all weirdos.
TCV: What is one of your favorite memories from ski team?
LV: One of my favorite memories from ski team is probably the team dinners we have in our ski houses every weekend after races. It really brings us all together in a relaxing and cozy setting that is hard to replicate anywhere on campus.
ML: I think the memory that will stick with me the most is probably my first race weekend ever. I’d never skied in a competitive setting before, and it was an incredibly intimidating to be in the start gate with almost no experience. I crashed that first race, but I still knew immediately that I loved the competition and I loved the rush.
MR: My last race ever, I cut a gate too close. My ski ejected and I ate it. Luckily, Gibbs was able to record the whole thing on his phone. It sums up my ski racing experience perfectly, and the video evidence we have will show generations of future racers what not to do.
EF: My favorite memory of ski team is singing Pistol Peter, a song we wrote [for a teammate] while sitting in the circle of kindness on Peter appreciation night. Be on the lookout, E.P. Is dropping soon.
Considering increased interest in the team and success at competitions, ski team will likely continue to thrive on campus and on the mountain. Ski team has been able to establish a niche group at Conn while also performing remarkably well at races. New captains will be elected in the coming weeks, and, to use the team vernacular, new members will be able to join in on the “schralping” next year.