Hitting the Slopes: Club Sports as a Former Varsity Athlete
For as long as I can remember, my weekends (and as I got older, my weeks) were filled with ski practice. My life was dryland training sessions, days spent on ski mountains, and hours tuning my skis at night. When I came to college, transitioning from a rigorous athletic schedule, as well as balancing my academics was a shocking transition. I finally had time! But, I was still looking for a connection to the sports I love and was used to dedicating so much of my time to.
A few weeks into the first semester of my first year at St. Lawrence, we had a Club and Organization Fair. An overwhelming number of student clubs and organizations fill the paths around the quad, enticing anybody that walked by to join them. One of the clubs I stumbled by was the Club Alpine Ski Team. The Club Alpine Ski Team was offering St. Lawrence students that were former completive ski racers––like myself––the opportunity to continue competing. I jumped at the chance to join. From our first meeting in the depths of Carnegie Hall, I knew that this was the club for me. It had limited commitments in the fall, as you can’t ski without snow, while still providing a few soccer or frisbee sessions. I was eagerly awaiting the spring semester when we could really begin our activities.
Flash forward to the beginning of the spring semester and we were off! The first race was at Bromley Mountain in Peru, Vermont, just 15 minutes from my house. My family and I hosted the club and I was eager to see what racing from the St. Lawrence Club Team was all about. Luckily. our first race was at my home mountain, so I was stoked to be racing on a hill I knew so well, but I was nervous about new group dynamics, as I was used to the club team that I had been a part of for the majority of my life. But, that first race was better than I could have ever anticipated. Ski racing––while I love it––had always filled me with stress and nerves prior to a race. This first race had none of that. We were hanging out as a team, learning about each other, and encouraging everyone to just have a good time. Since our results didn’t really matter, we were there to have fun. A welcome change from my previous ski racing career.
Upon returning back to St. Lawrence, the next four weekends of the spring semester were met with long car trips around New England to race against other collegiate ski teams. Each weekend I was able to ski at new mountains and meet new people from St. Lawrence that I may have never interacted with if not for the Club Ski Team. The best part of the races wasn’t the racing, but meeting so many new people with various levels of ski racing experience. From skiers with low FIS points, high school ski racers, to those who raced on touring skis. Any skier with interest in participating has the opportunity to take advantage of what Club Ski has to offer. The Club Ski Team was truly my favorite part of my second semester here at St. Lawrence. The end of the season left me sad, but incredibility excited for the next year.
This year, I find myself in a leadership role within the Club Ski Team. As the treasurer, I have the ability to organize the team to provide others with the same positive experience that I had last year. Having this role has allowed me to start thinking about Club Ski even before the snowfalls. But, now that winter is finally here, we are gearing up for this ski season with a record number of participants—eager to hit the slopes and ski fast!