On the mountain this year, the Fairfield University club skiing and snowboarding team has proved themselves as dominant all season.
As a part of the Atlantic Highlands Conference in the United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association, the team participates in events against other clubs all around the Northeast United States, including Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey. According to team president Cooper Stearns ‘22, “As a whole USCSA is made up of 175 different colleges and hosts over 5,000 athletes”.
Although the team is classified as a club sport, they participate in competitive events at an extremely high level. Even being a club, mostly everyone on the team has experience in competitive snowboarding or skiing. According to Stearns, in order to be a member of the team, experience is not necessarily required; however, everyone is expected to supply their own equipment.
The past few years for the club skiing team have been extremely impressive. Going up against clubs at schools like Columbia University, Drexel University, Princeton University and even the United States Military Academy, their matches are no easy feats.
Regardless, the team still has excelled in the past and has continued to do so through this year. According to Assistant Director of Competitive Sports Chelsey Wright, the women’s alpine skiing team placed second in their division whereas the men’s team placed third in their division.
Stearns also mentioned how his team has been able to find success at the national level and hopes to recreate that energy this year and beyond. “Nationals are held at the Olympic arena in Whiteface, N.Y., or out west at a rotation of mountains including Jackson Hole, Mammoth, and Park City,” Stearns explained. “We are hoping to build a strong team to make it to these competitions again.”
The club is co-ed and features a variety of different types of skiers and snowboarders. Some of these differences include slalom vs. giant slalom skiers and snowboarders, as well as “rail jam” and “slopestyle” skiers and snowboarders.
Slalom skiing and snowboarding is much more of an elusive and technical version of the two winter sports. In this type, the skier or snowboarder will make quick cuts around gates, and attempt to get to the bottom of the hill at the best time. Obviously, the fastest time wins the competition.
Rail jam or slopestyle skiing and snowboarding is more focused on performing and landing tricks. The main difference here is that speed and quickness are not necessarily an issue.
According to Stearns, although the regular season runs from January into March, there is an optional trip to Canada once the competitive season is all finished.
The regional tournament for the division will be held at the end of the month. According to Wright, the team is currently waiting for their official confirmation to attend the tournament, which takes place in Virginia.
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