The Alpine, Freeski and Snowboard teams are continuing their tradition of United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association (USCSA) competitions; a division SNC has earned numerous National titles in over the past two and half decades. The teams are beginning their season of USCSA competitions where they will acquire individual points to qualify for the 2016 USCSA National Championships in Lake Placid, New York, March 6 through 12.
“It is exciting because we won Nationals last year and we have a similar team this season.” According to Jon Cherry, the Head Freeski Coach. “As long as we stay strong and healthy.”
Thus far in the season, the teams have participated in one competition at Diamond Peak Resort USCSA competitions. On Jan. 17 at Diamond Peak, the Snowboard and Freeski teams competed in the Slopestyle while the Alpine team took Giant Slalom. As expected, the SNC snow teams won the overall competition. The weekend was supposed to consist of two events. However, the Jan. 18 competition was cancelled due to weather.
“The weather has not been cooperating this season, which has lead to half of our competitions being cancelled so far this season. Nonetheless we have already shown our skills at the competitions this season with a host of podium finishes and a 1st place ranking in our series,” commented Max Leabman, Head Snowboard Coach. “We have a very strong team this year with a lot of leadership coming from our experienced group of Seniors.”
This semester the SNC teams are already excelling in snow sports competitions. “The results are reflecting where we are right now, which is good but we are waiting for greatness,” said Branko Zagar Head of Athletics and the Alpine Ski Team. “It is very important our skiing peaks for March and Nationals.”
While the weekend of Jan. 17 marked the first weekend for Freeski and Snowboard competitions, the Alpine team has been competing all across the region for the International Ski Federation (FIS) and the The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), to earn individual points and experience. The Alpine teams have made it to Panorama, British Columbia for The North American Cup and Park City Utah for NCAA.
“I have definitely been skiing better in training than competitions so far but we are getting some awesome training right now and I feel ready to go do some good results soon,” said Senior Johanna Tikkanen.
Currently the teams are practicing at Diamond Peak, Northstar, Boreal and Sugar Bowl. The Alpine team is training Tuesday through Friday with competitions on Saturday and Sunday, while the Freeski and Snowboard teams alternate between Diamond Peak, Northstar and Boreal.
Sophomore Ali Perotti commented that, “We have a really strong team this year, it’s a good showing.” In preparation for the winter season, all the teams participated in dryland training; a key element for athletes in remaining healthy and strong. For the Alpine, Freeski and Snowboard teams, all engaged in early morning training at High Altitude and calisthenics at Incline beach.
According to Cherry, the early dryland proved productive for the early season snow year. “Dryland was really productive. We had some great gym sessions, it was great to come together and see what everyone’s strengths and weakness are because we’ve had five people tear their acls last season,” said Perotti.
Injuries are an inherent danger when participating in snow sports lending problems for SNC athletes and snow teams.“Last year was my comeback year from an ACL injury. the whole season was a big struggle due to the fact that i had a lot of pain in my knee every day,” commented Tikkanen.
While the Men’s Alpine team is remaining strong and healthy this season, the Women’s Alpine team is struggling with injuries. “We already have issues with injuries. Two girls from last year are still recovering injuries from last year. We possibly have four girls out forthe season already,” said Zagar.
With strong teams representing SNC this year, the goal for all the Freeski, Alpine and Snowboard is to remain healthy and strong for the upcoming competitions and Nationals.
The teams will compete at Mammoth for regional Feb. 13 and 14.