Everybody knows about the varsity basketball and football teams, but hidden among those and other popular sports is the varsity ski team. Coming from a city in Connecticut, you probably do not think about skiing as being a common high school sport. Where does the team practice? Who buys the equipment? Who do they compete against and when? This year the ski team consisted of 20 team members, compared to the mere seven that comprised of last year’s team.
One reason it is so difficult to get a lot of members on the team is the steep cost of equipment and registration racers need to pay since the school does not. Players are required to buy their own ski equipment, and must pay a $220 registration fee which includes lift tickets, league fees, and more. Senior captain Natalie Olshan founded the team four years ago, although the team has only been participating in races for the past three years. This year however, the ski team made the significant leap from the status of club sport to varsity sport. Natalie and this year’s co-captain Anna Freeda spoke in front of the Board of Education at this year’s public budget hearing to try and receive funding for their team.
Two weeks after the meeting, the team received funding from the Board of Education. “They funded us two weeks later, which was extremely exciting. I didn’t think it would happen that quickly. I hope more kids will join next year since it’s going to be cheaper and better organized since we are now considered a varsity sport,” said Anna Freeda (’16).
Now that the ski team is a varsity sport, they will be better prepared to compete against other schools. “The fact that we have funding now will make the ski team more affordable for racers and coaches, who will now be paid for their effort. Also, the individual commitment of each racer will be lessened since we won’t need to drive ourselves, and raise our own money,” said Natalie Olshan (’16).
In previous years, the ski team was granted permission by Athletic Director Mr. Savo to use the bus as transportation. However, because they were not a varsity sport until this year meant that they did not have top priority. Often times, the team members had to carpool to practices and games. Typically, the team would practice and race against other schools once a week at Mount Southington.
The ski season lasts a total of six weeks. Unfortunately, due to the lack of snow this Winter, the team could not schedule practices and also could not compete in every race. Hopefully next year Winter will bring more snow so the now varsity ski team can compete with other schools at a much higher level than in previous years, in part to the Board of Education’s agreement to fund the team.