Ski and snowboard team makes changes to accommodate involvement

December 2, 2016

Brandeis’ Ski and Snowboard Club team hits the slopes for the first time this school year on Saturday, Dec. 3 for a freeskiing expedition. Normally, the club’s trips are limited to the spring semester, but this year members will ski as a community before finals begins.

In the past, the fall semester has been dedicated to team bonding and dry-land training, according to Zach Phil Schwartz ’18, one of the club’s three captains and Opinions editor of The Brandeis Hoot. Dry-land training includes team workouts and stretches.

Schwartz is joined by co-captains Sophie Grutzner ’18 and Dena Goldblatt ’17.

In the spring, the club will travel for competition-based races, with different events in skiing and snowboarding. Skiers will compete in both the slalom and the giant slalom events, while recent rule changes in the United States Collegiate Skiing Association (USCSA) restrict snowboarders to the giant slalom, Schwartz noted.

Brandeis’ team competes in the McBrine Division of the Eastern Conference of the USCSA. The organization provides member collegiate skiing teams with venues for races and events, according to the organization’s website. Brandeis is a member school of the organization, along with over 180 other colleges and universities.

For a while, the club sport has hosted a large number of students at training sessions and weekend competitions at various times throughout the second semester of each academic year. This year, the club boasts 30 members who will attend a weeklong training with the entire team, according to Schwartz. In recent years, the club has averaged 20 active members.

Each year, the club coordinates an eight-day training expedition to Maine where skiers and snowboarders can improve their skills on the mountain for the upcoming season. The club sets up lessons for the group and lodges members for that eight-day period. “The training trips actually do help,” Schwartz said.

As a club sport, the ski and snowboard team is inclusive of all skill levels, but Schwartz recommends some prior experience of the sport before attending the eight-day training period in January. “We are not going to advertise that we’re a rigid racing community … What we’re striving for is a community-based skiing experience,” Schwartz said of the club’s inclusive style. He accentuates that although there is a racing component, the club’s goal is to create a skiing community for “anyone who wants to get more skiing in at Brandeis.”

The club, Schwartz said, caters to all levels of competition. “We do have some people who are very competitive and some people aren’t,” he said.

Members can dedicate as much time as they want to the club. The schedule culminates to around five trips in the spring semester, and students can choose to attend or not attend each expedition, Schwartz noted.

The club requires a lot of travel in order to go on these expeditions, which limits the club’s frequency to attend races. The team’s ski trips tend to be constrained to the Northeast region, most of the time in Vermont, according to Schwartz.

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