[Ed-S: My brother, who coaches and helped to found the skiing program at Novi HS, has been on me all year about covering Michigan's alpine ski team and their unprecedented run as one of the nation's elites. For a Midwestern state school to even be on the national radar is weird; to see them end the season sharing a podium with schools named for mountain ranges is nigh unbelievable. They're not even officially a sport to the university—they have no coaching or funding—yet the team is littered with All-Americans and ended a remarkable season standing next to the traditional powerhouses. To that end I have dragooned team member Andrew Thomas* to summarize the season.]
Going into this season we had an idea that Michigan's alpine team was going to be good. Better than good. Expectations were for the best run in the team's history but as it turns out that was lowballing it.
There was a certain excitement and buzz in the air just knowing that the UM Alpine Ski and Snowboard Team had such great potential. The ski team is comprised of a group of guys that have a true passion and love for the sport of ski racing, many of which have been racing with one another for many years.
Throughout the regular season the men’s team outperformed the competition in the Michigan Division of the United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association. Teams in the Michigan Division include the likes of: Michigan State, Western Michigan, Central Michigan, Notre Dame, and Grand Valley.
In the Midwest regional qualifier at Marquette Mountain in Michigan’s upper peninsula, the team placed 2nd behind St. Olaf College. This ensured the men’s team a bid to the 2013 USCSA Nationals held in Sun Valley, Idaho.
This historic result marked the first time in many years that the UM Alpine Ski and Snowboard Team qualified for nationals. The Wolverines faired well in the very competitive USCSA Nationals in Sun Valley. In Slalom the team finished in 3rd position behind Rocky Mountain College and Sierra Nevada College. Both of these colleges had a large majority of their racers hailing from European countries.
Some key performances by University of Michigan skiers at the 2013 Nationals included a 12th place finish by Sophomore Taylor Hunter (above-right) and a 13th place finish by freshman Kane Boynton in Slalom, both helping to bring the team to a 3rd place overall team finish in slalom. Some other notable skiers on the national team included: Stephen Siddall, Zach Hill, Andrew Thomas, Will Sanford and Nick Hill. Combined the team ended up in 7th place.
The great results at Nationals capped off a winning season, as the team looks forward to 2014 ski racing season.
*If you're from the Bloomies and you ski you probably bought your first pair of Rossignols from his grandpa Don's eponymous Sporthaus
I for one cherish the athletes of the 1980's. Bart Connor, Karch Kiraly, Norm Betts. On top of my list is Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards. HIs workman-like performances were, well, workman-like. His style? Fresh. Oh so fresh. His mustache? Oh yeah, his mustache.