While the Fairfield campus seems to be full of students whining about the low temperatures and freezing winds, there is one group that is definitely dreaming of snow: the Fairfield Ski and Snowboard team.

An established club on campus, the Fairfield Ski and Snowboard team is just one of many competitive sports clubs.

A multiple regional championship winner, the team works at a consistent pace during the winter months that includes a week of training in January at Mont Tremblant in Montreal and races almost every weekend.

“We’re basically gone all weekend every weekend from winter break till spring break,” said Cate Cavanaugh ’08.

Tryouts begin in December, when the team captain and a panel of other experienced team members watch and pick out the best skiers and snowboarders of the incoming class. Experience in slalom and giant slalom, the team’s two race events, is much sought after.

The team is made up of an A squad and a B squad of 10 skiers each, men and women separate, with snowboarders in addition.

In recent years competition for a spot has become more intense as talented newcomers arrive. Almost all who are chosen have prior racing experience.

Due to the fact that it is a club team, Fairfield only funds certain aspects of the sport, like lift tickets, race fees and sometimes hotel lodging.

“It’s not great because a lot of other schools are closer, so they can train more often,” commented team captain Brian Hubbard ’07. “We’re just not close enough to go during the week, and the school won’t pay for season passes.”

In the New Jersey Conference of the USCSA, the Stags go up against strong competition including skiing powehouses in Princeton, Columbia, Rutgers and Lehigh.

Unquestionably their biggest competition is Lehigh, who topped the men’s team for the conference championship last season.

However, the women managed to beat out Lehigh for the conference title last year, and it looks like both teams may be able to do so for the 2007 season.

During January, the team headed out to Mountain Creek Resort in New Jersey. The women’s ski team took first in both the slalom and the giant slalom, while the men grabbed first in the giant slalom but fell to Lehigh in the slalom.

The Stags also traveled to Pennsylvania for a race at Camelback Ski Area, where the women once again swept both events and the men snatched second.

A slight change of pace came this past weekend at Jack Frost in the Poconos of PA.

Led by Cavanaugh, who placed second in both events, the women’s team seized second place both days.

The men did even better, stepping up to take first place both days. Out of a pool of eighty, six of the top ten racers were Fairfield men. Nick Carlucci ’10 was the forerunner, placing third on the first day and first on the second.

The biggest highlight of the season has been newcomer Caity Barber ’10. The freshman came in hard, snatching second and third place finishes at Mountain Creek, and first and second at Camelback.

A key contributor to the women’s team this season has been Cavenaugh, who has been skiing since the age of three.

Last year Cavenaugh was honored with the title of USCSA/New Jersey Conference Women’s Ski Individual Champion, and has been a great leader for the team both on the slopes and off.

Slicing up the mountain for the men have been the juggernaut brothers Pat and Nick Carlucci, a sophomore and a freshman who were described by teammate Robby Wodarski ’07 as “nasty” on the slopes.

Hubbard and Tim McCabe ’09 have provided the experience for the men, as well as Wodarski himself, who is the team’s leading snowboarder.

Although Hubbard and Cavanaugh both bemoaned this year’s less than satisfactory weather conditions, Wodarski was particularly unhappy.

“I think with the lack of snow a lot of people have not gotten chances to go out riding, and you have to get used to it again before you can race,” he said. “It’s been difficult for snowboarders in particular because it’s tough to get an edge when you’re on the ice.”

From a skier’s perspective, Hubbard said, “I was surprised, I didn’t think we were going to start on time at all this season, but it’s been cold. There’s been a lot of manmade snow, but conditions have been surprisingly good.”

Overall, the team is looking forward to an excellent run for first place in the conference. Having already qualified for regionals, Hubbard expects that the skiers have a good chance of taking a spot in the top five.

A top finish would qualify the Stags for a trip to to the national competition in Winter Park, Colorado, which begins on March 5th.

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