Since around 1950 the University of Colorado has not only had a NCAA Varsity Alpine Ski Team, but also a secondary or Development team (as it used to be named). Although this secondary program existed under some structure, it wasn’t until the fall of 1999 that it truly formed into a high-level ski racing experience for the students of this University.
Perhaps the biggest change in ‘99 was incorporating this program into the USCSA (United States Collegiate Ski Association). This step allowed the athletes to get a real feel for team college competition as opposed to only racing individually at certain USSA and FIS sanctioned events. Within these past 12 years, the program has grown from 14 athletes to 60+ for this upcoming season. We have won the USCSA Rocky Mountain Conference for 10 consecutive years and won the overall title at the 2003 and 2008 Western Regional Championships. This season (2011-2012) Western Regionals will be held in Steamboat Springs, CO Feb.23-25 2012.
Many also compete in the USSA Smartwool Series and the FIS Colorado Ski Cup races; some also participate at NorAms, FIS-U, Junior Olympic Championship events, and even US Nationals. Our athletes race at every level. Anyone can race USCSA & USSA, but one must qualify for FIS. Such FIS events are held all over the country.
The USCSA program here at CU isn’t aimed specifically as a stepping stone for the NCAA Varsity team, but rather a stepping stone for building character, improving team skills, friendships, physical fitness, mental focus, time management skills, and attaining goals. There may be a select individual that does reach the Division I Varsity level at CU if they are within the NCAA Eligibility guidelines and after a couple seasons of consistent results and hard work, but this is not a practical aim for the group as a whole.
This program begins during the second week of September. Dryland consists of pre-season conditioning ranging from Mtn Biking, speed hikes, agilities, plyometrics, track work, weight lifting, etc. We meet for Dryland daily from 4pm till 5:30pm and it runs through the end of November until we get on snow. There will be some overlap with conditioning and skiing during the latter part of the fall season.
Training begins with early season drill progressions and freeskiing at Eldora or other neighboring ski resorts (between mid-November through early December). During this time some of the athletes will already be racing. Also, there is an early season Training Camp offered at the end of October at Copper Mountain Resort (conditions pending).
The training/racing intensity picks up after Christmas Break with four consecutive weekends of Collegiate USCSA Conference races and Regionals as well as the individual USSA (United States Ski Assoc.) and FIS (Federation of International Skiing) race series mentioned above.
When not racing, the team trains daily at Eldora Mountain Resort (30 minutes from Campus). Training consists of Slalom, Giant Slalom, and some Super G with a heavy emphasis on Video Analysis. A majority of our training and race season focuses on the technical events (SL/GS), but there are select Super G and Downhill races as well.
A van is provided daily for the athletes to take up to training and two vans, plus an equipment vehicle heads to various races from our Ski Building headquarters based one mile east of campus. Many athletes also car pool to and from training as well as many of the race venues.
Athletes arrange their Spring Semester schedule accordingly. The morning training slot is always 8:30-10:30am. Although training is offered daily, not everyone can do so. Many athletes can only train a few times a week, others more or less. Academics are highly prioritized. Each athlete must retain at least a 2.0 GPA to be able to participate in USCSA. Many athletes manage their time well and are able to successfully race and study. Engineering, Business, and Pre-Med are amongst the many degrees on the team.
The USCSA Ski Team at CU is not in joint cooperation with the NCAA Varsity program, which is part of the Athletic Dept. or Club Sports; it stands as an Independent Organization at CU. Thus, there is no financial support from the University.
In order to be a part of this USCSA racing program, every competitor pays a $1,200 Team Fee which is divided up in two ways. One check for $900 goes to the University of Colorado, which covers coaching expenses (Head Coach/Assistant Coaches), and the General Administrative Recharge (GAR). The remaining $300 is placed into the Colorado Ski Racing account, which goes towards: hill space, van rentals, gates, wrenches, drills, cameras, radios, lodging deposits, race entry fee deposits, Rocky Mountain Conference fees, bib deposits, etc.
The athletes also buy their own equipment, which is offered to them through Pro Form race deals (50% off) and stands alone from the Team Fee. Other means of attaining equipment besides Pro Form is also provided.
Athletes also need to purchase a USSA license (required) $150, FIS license (optional), an Eldora season pass ($149), race entry fees ($25 per race day), discounted lift tickets at races (approx. $30), hotels, and travel. Overall the season will run an average amount of $1,700 total, not including equipment (optional). More race starts and lodging costs will also contribute to the overall total.
Ski racing has never been an inexpensive sport of choice, but we’ve all chosen it for a wonderful reason! These fees are desirable when compared to any other full-time program offered in the country. This team is the real deal. If you want to have an awesome high-level ski racing experience or are in it just to ski everyday and have fun, then here you have it.
Each athlete is granted a trial period from the Introductory Meeting (first week of Sept.) to the first Official Team Meeting (first Week of Oct.). During this time they can choose to pay the Team Fee ($1,200) in full or wait till the Official Team Meeting.
If an athlete chooses against the program during this trial period, but has already paid his/her Team Fee in full, then a $250 cancellation fee will be assessed; $950 of the total Team Fee will be reimbursed.
If an athlete chooses against the program from the first Official Team Meeting (first Thursday of Oct.) to November 30th (end of Dryland / pre-season training camp) then 50%; $600 of the total Team Fee will be reimbursed.
If an athlete chooses against the program after November 30th, there will be no available reimbursement offered. An exception will be made for a season ending injury prior to the second USCSA Rocky Mountain Conference Series race. This reimbursement will comprise of a 50% refund; $600 of the total Team Fee.