The NCAA should make Dodgeball as a sport. Have the finals in Vegas.
M Alpine Ski & Snowboard Team Finishes 7th Nationally, 3rd in Slalom
[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
The tournament would be shown on ESPN 8 - The Ocho!
Man, when I was on the team, I don't think 95% of us were sober enough in the morning to make it onto the mountain, let alone squeeze into GS suits and compete.
At first I was surprised, and then I thought about it. Kids from good families on the coasts learned to ski as toddlers. They decide to go to Michigan to be professionals in something other than skiing. Makes sense now. Congrats to the team, that's quite an accomplishment.
Congrats. Great showing by all.
Question: where does the team practice?
Yeah, great question. How many turns can you get at Brighton even in a slalom setup? 10?
We raced at Brighton in high school. Used to get about 20-25 turns in on the backside between the yellow chair and the crappy green "Spartan" chair that's never running. In order to get enough turns in the coaches used to set up brutal starts at the top where it was all ice and ruts by the second flight. I could place in GS but a big guy like me was screwed in slalom events.
re the practice question - i was on the team when i was in school few years back, the format was to drive up fri afternoon for the weekend and come back sunday nights...we would sometimes set up gates to run a few training runs on fri nights at whatever hill the races were at the next 2 days. definitely not alot of opportunity to train, but for many of us, we had been ski racers for many years growing up and just relied on that experience. for those who hadnt raced before or were newer to the sport, teammates/captains gave them advice etc if they wanted it. only top 3 individual men & women scores count to the team score, so not everyone needed to be an allstar.
awesome to hear that the current generation ski team is kicking a*s.
Thx for the insight (between you and Seth). Amazing commitment by a group of athletes who are obviously doing this for the love of the sport. I was assuming weekend trips to the Traverse region would be a main practice venue, but even that is a long slog on a regular basis.
love of the sport for sure, but also its a fun experience at U-M. think about it... large co-ed team renting big condos for the weekend, hanging out 2-3 days straight most weekends in jan, feb and march when the weather can be cruddy in ann arbor, plus getting a chance to ski & race even if the mountains are small.
my teammates were some of my best friends from college and still stay in touch with 'em years later.
It's somewhat amazing that the team is even competive in the Midwest region, let alone at the national level. When I was on the team, I had friends from HS that went to Northern and they were way more serious than even the most dedicated racers on our team (they had coaches and trained daily at Marquette Mtn). The only thing competitive about the team back then was the flip cup (Captain's challenge anyone?) and the only thing we were known for was epic parties. Kudos to the team, glad to hear about the success! Go Blue!
...never knew we had a ski/snowboard team!
I grew up racing on my high school team and through C.U.S.S.A and such, so was training all the time and had a coach until I got to college and then the team was the only time I really got to go.
We weren't at all competitive in those days, at least not at skiing, but parties....well, probably would have placed better......
Congrats on the result.